Why expecting a $0.00 balance 100% of the time is not realistic when using coupons

We would all love to save 100% off of our groceries every week but that is just not a realistic expectation. I know many of you have seen our episode of Extreme Couponing and other episodes and wished for the savings that are portrayed on the show. I am going to be completely honest and say that we do not get near that savings daily or weekly while we are out shopping. The shopping trip we did for the show took hours and hours to plan and was specific for the show. I bought products that we needed and products that I knew we could get for free with coupons. While shopping on a normal basis saving 100% is just not going to happen. Depending on where you live you may have tax on food or other products that you will need to pay for.

It is very reasonable to aim for 25% or even 50% savings on your groceries over time. One of the most important things to remember is Extreme Couponing is a TV show that is meant to grab your attention and hopefully encourage you to use coupons but it is a TV Show! The goal is not to show how we shop on a daily or weekly basis but to show the power of coupons when they are used to maximize the most savings possible. I spent hours in Fred Meyers prior to filming Extreme Couponing. I had list after list of prices, coupons and what aisles everything was found in. When I was done with my spreadsheet for the shopping trip it was 10 pages long and divided by aisle. I wanted to make sure that I knew were every product was in the store and the price before and after coupon. I had my final total figured out to within a few dollars when we went to check out. There was no way I was going to allow there to be any problems or issues with the coupons. I had asked every question I could possibly think of at the store to make sure I was well within the coupon policy and knew exactly what would happen at check out.
On a normal basis I do not have a spreadsheet or walk the store for hours to check and make sure everything is exactly as I hope it will be. That is just not realistic or worth my time on a daily basis.
It is possible to save hundreds and thousands of dollars with coupons but it takes time and continual effort. It is not a one-time shopping trip with camera crews following you around the store.
If you have questions about the show please let me know. I am happy to share with you our shopping list of what we bought and our experience on the show. I am very happy with how our episode turned out. We bought produce, dairy, meat and a variety of products. We tried to show that you can save on a wide variety of products with coupons not just frozen or processed items.

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