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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Extreme Green Couponing?

On Lazy Budget Chef (You didn’t know I have a food blog?!) I wrote about the show Extreme Couponing  and how I once was a couponer but stopped. Between careful shopping and cooking more from scratch the quality of food we eat went up, the price went down, our heath improved, and our lifestyle turned a deep dark shade of green.

I don’t generally take those “How Green Are You?” quizzes because they are very subjective based on the entity that creates them. Nevertheless, through One Million Acts of Green and helping out Practically Green, I took their quizzes and scored extremely green. I am Superbly Green (the highest rank) on Practically Green and been in their top 10 for almost a year.

Oopsie.

Pretty good for a gal who doesn’t have solar panels, a Pruis, or eats solely certified organic food, eh?


Dipping a Toe in the Extreme Couponing Water


My last super mega deal shopping bargain.
The show, a coupon flyer in the mail, and needing dishwashing detergent (Seventh Generation coupons are always available on their Web site) made me rethink couponing.

The Internet makes extreme couponing much easier! I don’t have to buy a newspaper. I can print them from coupon and product web sites or load them on my Blackberry.  There are a boatload of coupon blogs that list coupon and deal match ups. That makes the stacking thing so much easier.

As an eco-gal, I didn’t think there would be many coupons/deals for the things I use. I found coupons for more products than I realize. It’s not for everything we need. That's fine because I don’t want to spend every other day at the store trying to get a deal. I’ll never get everything free either (that’s the exception and not the rule the show implied.) I’m not knocking those who make extreme couponing a super time consuming hobby. I’d rather be knocking a wall down with a sledgehammer as a super time consuming hobby. I’m looking at some extreme couponing as a way to fund more sledge hammer projects  :) 

As an experiment, I started couponing again. With some reservations and house rules.

My Green Extreme Couponing Rules

  • House Rule 1: I’m trying to limit myself to the two printout and purchase limit due to storage space (many stores have limits, which they lifted for the Extreme Couponing show.) April Earth Day deals may be an exception because some of those items only go on sale for Earth Day and that’s when I normally stock up.  

  • House Rule 2: Even if I can get something for super cheap or free, if it’s something that we don’t use because of the ingredients, etc. I’m not going to do it. I’m going to be content (even if it kills my frugal side) with deals like finding Tom’s of Maine at Big Lots for half price than getting a free tube of conventional toothpaste with coupons. I’m not knocking those those who do, it’s just not for me. Apparently I’m an extreme green gal, remember?

  • House Rule 3: If the stockpile gets out of control/messy it’s time to stop. One of the blessings of a small house is that it’s easy to clean. It also lacks storage space. Now, I’ve always stock piled to some degree but I have no interest in having a garage full of deodorant. We don’t sweat that much!

  • House Rule 4: If the trash and recycling significantly increases it’s time to stop. One of the strategies is to buy the smallest size possible with a coupon to get it as cheap as possible. That goes against the big green tent pole of buying the largest size possible to reduce waste.  I appreciate having a city recycling to help me lower my trash output but I have to physically take it to a city dumpster. That makes the amount a concern. Then again, Blitzkrieg might like an extra car ride to the dumpster…

  • House Rule 5: If constant trips to the store cuts significantly and often into family time, it’s time to stop. I don’t think couponing or super duper sales like Black Friday MAKE people shop and overspend.  We all have free will and the ability to say no to a deal. I also don’t think that the person with a shelf full of deodorant is a hoarder either (most people with those big stockpiles regularly donate it to charity.)  Generally, people that can’t say no to shopping and spending have bigger issues than something being on super duper mega sale. Don’t get me wrong, I love the deals I’m getting on allergy meds right now (I live on the stuff come spring) but I don’t need the act of buying something to make me feel good about myself. In fact, not buying something and finding a free creative reuse option makes me feel much better!

What about you? Do you coupon? Do you think you can use coupons and be green? Do you think extreme couponers are greedy or hoarders or just smart shoppers?

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