Extreme Couponing Challenge (Week 2)

The Double Saving Divas and Nathan Engels aka Mr Coupon were featured in tonight's episode of TLC's Extreme Couponing.

I enjoyed the Double Saving Dives who took advantage of birthday loyalty programs to get free jewelry, free lunch and free ice cream before they headed off to the grocery store. Heh. Nice job, ladies!

I suspect folks are going to like Nathan's appearance this week a lot better than they did his appearance on the original special, which aired last December.

Last winter, folks gave Mr Coupon a hard time for his stockpile because TLC did not show Nathan giving away the cereal he bought -- or a very large part of his stockpile. In this episode, Nathan goes shopping and gives most of it away, to military families overseas.

That's not to say that there won't be any controversy -- Nathan's toothpaste room got some folks on Twitter talking about stockpiling. And the twins are stockpiling diapers but have no children.

Nathan has gone on record as saying he has had three stockpile sales.

Stockpiling in order to sell is a topic that comes up for debate quite often within the couponing community. Is it ethical to have a garage sale, grab a flea market table or use ebay to sell of the stuff you've stockpiled? Interesting question, isn't it? Remember the Beanie Baby craze? Lots of people bought Beanie Babies JUST to sell them on eBay. Was that any different than buying 100 deodorants (probably for free with coupons) and selling them?

While you ponder that question, let's move on to three tips for the Extreme Coupon Challenge!

All of these tips are things that I decided to share with you based on tonight's episode:

1) Don't deviate from your plan because you see a good deal! One of the twins wanted to deviate from the original plan because $1 porkchops seemed like too good of a deal to pass up. I totally understood where she was coming from and I'd have probably deviated from my plan, because I'm not working on a super tight budget -- If you're going to plan a shopping trip like theirs, and you have a really firm budget to stay within, then any deviation is going to throw you off your game.

If you're like me, and you've got more cash to play with, then ok - grab those $1 pork chops!

2) Make sure you watch the prices as the cashier is ringing up your purchases and scanning your coupons. Accidents happen, registers make mistakes, prices are miss-marked. The twins questioned the cost of something they bought and Nathan ended up over-budget because some of his coupons didn't get scanned. Pay attention at the register. Look over the receipt before you leave so if you see any problems you can address them at the customer service counter.

3) Don't overlook coupons for products that can be purchased outside of grocery stores (or drug stores) -- like the twins, you can get some very good deals at clothing stores and restaurants. Before you head to a store, or buy online, look for a coupon! If there are stores you visit regularly, look for birthday club programs and loyalty card information. Grab an email address to be used for store newsletters and look for printable coupons that might be sent to you through those newsletters -- particularly around your birthday. You'll be surprised by how many offers you receive and how many deals you'll find.

Those are my tips for the week -- What are yours? Questions are always welcome, as well.

Last week, BlogHer members saved a combined total of $553.24. How much will we save this week? Blog your savings or leave them in the comments -- and leave your link (with savings) here:

Can we beat last week's savings? I think I'm going to have a light shopping week, so y'all are going to have to pick up my slack... are you up for it? Where are you shopping this week? What are you buying? Are you looking for any specific coupons I can help you find?


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