• Extreme Couponing: My Story

    About Us

    As most of you know I will soon be on Extreme Couponing.  I just found out that it will air on May 11th.  I am nervous, but even more excited.

    Yesterday on my facebook page I shared my excitement to see the next episode of Extreme Couponing.  It seems that these days any time we talk about the show, people are on either side of the fence, they either hate it or love it.  Some viewers are critical of the shopping trips and stockpiles.

    I loved the challenge of planning my biggest shopping trip EVER!  Oh, just wait!  My monster purchase on Extreme Couponing took lots of planning, mailing manufacturers for coupons in hopes of free ones, asking friends for coupons, and special ordering.  Our local Albertson’s people were also incredibly nice to work with.  Ordered every item I needed and excited to have us there. I hope that this show will encourage and pique the interest of those who need some extreme couponing for their families.  It may also irritate and rile up others who have strong opinions about how they think couponing should be done.

    I want to share a comment that Sarah wrote in response to my comment on Facebook. This is the exact reason why I decided to be on the show.

    I find the show to be entertaining, and actually I have noticed increased curiosity among the non-coupon shoppers, and an increased awareness and level of coupon educated cashiers. This is good for all of us, as long as people aren’t committing coupon fraud. A huge thanks to Amber for helping us all save money and have fun doing it!

    A while back I shared a series called Couponing: My Story.  I thought now would be a great time to share mine with you.  This is a little insight to something you might see in the show.

    Back in 2007 my husband changed careers.  He went from a steady paid position to being self-employed.  We thought it would be a good decision for or family for many reasons and worth the risk.   Well that risk turned into over 115k borrowed against our home, and a closed business.   During this time I also became pregnant with our 4th child.  Seven months pregnant and my husband working a commission only job I decided it was time for me to work.   We needed the money.   So on weekends when my husband was home I was a hostess at a restaurant.

    I received a phone call from a friend about a TV show she watched about couponing.   Previously, like many, I had the impression that generic is always cheaper and that coupons were for items I would never use.  Well guess what!  I brush my teeth, I floss, I use soap, toilet paper and dish soap.  My kids eat boxes of sugary cereal and an occasional box of oatmeal.  I bake cookies using cake mix and chocolate chips. These are all things you will be able to purchase using coupons.  You can also buy other things you need with all the leftover money you didn’t use on stuff.  I didn’t understand that the key to couponing was to wait to use the coupons until the items go on sale and stock up at the lowest price possible.  When you really get the hang of it, you can even make money when you combine the deals with catalina offers.

    Well, convinced and desperate for a change, I started to do some research and came across blogs like this one to help me out.  I read the deal match-ups, made my list, clipped my coupons and went to the store and everything the bloggers said would happen, happened.  Suddenly going to the grocery store was no longer a dreaded process.  It was FUN!  I was saving incredible amounts of money and getting some crazy deals.

    When I am passionate about something I just can’t keep it to myself.  I quickly started sharing the coupon love with my friends and showing them how to master the skillz as well.  My friends told me I should teach people how to do it, so I did, and so began Coupon Connections.

    I think back before we started the other business and how “rich” we could’ve been or how much money we could’ve saved if only we would have known about couponing.  We went from making 64k a year to 40k.  It seemed like the scariest time in our life to face such a debt with so much less income.  God seemed to be really showing me how to use my gifts and talents to serve my family.  I was continually encouraged by His goodness to bring our once $900 grocery bill down to $350 which included all of our diapers and toiletries.  We have been able to use that savings to begin the long process of paying down our debt and are still hanging onto our home.  I was worried that keeping our house was totally impossible.  Funny how you never thought you could live on so little until it actual happens.

    It did not happen overnight or in one shopping trip.  It took me time to build my stockpile.  All thanks to a friend who watched that TV Show.  She was right, I was made for this.

    I hope you will join me and many others to help teach these new couponers just how it is done.  It was a fun challenge and I think I succeeded.  But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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    Author: amber

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    51 Responses to “Extreme Couponing: My Story”

    1. Cynthia O. says:

      I say you go girl! I am looking forward to seeing your episode of Extreme Couponing!!

    2. Sarah B. says:

      Me too!!! Thanks for sharing your story!!!

    3. carrie says:

      You go Amber! Looking forward to watching the program. I really enjoy checking your blog everyday and appreciate what you’ve taught me. I love how God gives us challenges in our lives that bring out the best in us when we face that challenge with Him.

    4. Callie says:

      I will be watching you! You and your website are very valuable to my 3 kids, my disabled father, my pets and I :) !!!

    5. LOVE your story! I REALLY admire your faithfulness in the Lord, and that you bring the glory to Him through your testimony. It blessed me.
      I cannot wait to watch the show. And I am a big supporter of yours :) I recommend anyone who asks how to get started couponing to check out your site!
      Thank you for sharing apart of your story, your heart, and your faith in Jesus.

    6. Maegen says:

      I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of the show.

      But, I’ve been a fan of yours from the start, so I’ll tune in for your segment, and I’m excited for you to have this opportunity. Your story is such a powerful one-I can see why the TLC producers would want you.

      I hope your kiddos are planning a big viewing party!

    7. Cindy says:

      Thank you so much for teaching the class. I am starting slow but it is exciting saving money or making money. I have only done small trips so far but my whole family is getting on board and cheering for me each time I tell them about my shopping trips. Thank you and God bless!!! :)

    8. Mandi says:

      I have been using coupons since before my husband and I got married 12 years ago. I used to be angry at my mom for making me pay for my own deodorant and shampoo while I was in high school. I would use a coupon to help pay for them. 13 years after graduation I am still going strong with coupons. I just wish that I didn’t have so much debt though. I finally figured out that couponing doesn’t do you any good without a budget. That was my “DUH” moment! Coupons are such a blessing and honestly I’m thankful that my mother taught me how to be frugal (even though I didn’t know that was what she was doing).

    9. Lindsay says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and what you do here with your blog. I found your blog because my husband and I went to school with Colin and he shared your story on facebook. I’ve kind of been following since then, but never *really* have I done anything about it. My husband lost his job in September and now we are faced with me finding an evening/weekend job if I can’t find a way to squeeze more money out of the family budget. I’d much rather make couponing a full time job so I can stay home to be here for my 4 kiddos then shuffling them to daycare and figuring out who can take them to sports practices.

      You are an inspiration, and I’m not just saying that. This Sunday I start! And I can’t wait to see you on the show!

    10. sarah says:

      Your Story is amazing, and that is what I feel that Extreme Couponing is trying to do in away….show people that couponing is a great thing, and can save them money. Of course, it is reality tv and reality isn’t reality or people wouldn’t be as entertained. (They aren’t going to show all the donating, and behind the scenes things – just what people want to see, or talk about – It is TLC! ) I can’t wait to see your episode, you have helped my family so much! I wouldn’t be able to stay at home with my two kids if it weren’t for couponing! Thank you for all the hard work you do, for all of us and our families.

    11. Linda says:

      How do you do extreme couponing at Albies if they only let you do 3 double coupons in a transaction? Also, since they aren’t putting the doublers in their flier, but rather only in the Sunday newspaper, how do you get more than just a few without buying out all the newspapers?

      • Amber says:

        Linda my store actually allows you to use more than 3 in a transaction and you can reuse the flyer.

        There are a lot of deals that don’t require doubles. Take last week for example. You didn’t even need doubles to get Free propel. In past newspaper inserts we received coupons for FREE Franks red hot sauce and free cat food. We also received coupons for $2/1 coupon for Millstone coffee. Using those on the small packs they were free. I can’t tell all what I did yet, but there are deals out there :) And this is mainly why you see on the show people buying insane amounts of the same item. Because that is what will bring the total up.

        I can’t say I want to shop like that ever again. It was exhausting! I like my small transactions and deals much more. Now why would I call myself extreme? Most people just go buy what they need when they need it. Me I buy it when it is free knowing I will need it later.

    12. Maegen says:

      Linda,
      I don’t know about the first part, but the customer service counter should have extra tvq sheets for you.

    13. Vanessa says:

      Amber- You are always amazing me. This is a great story but it isn’t even complete! Your whole life is such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing yourself and your knowledge with us. You have such grace and humility – people are going to love seeing YOU on the show!

    14. Kelly says:

      I personally hate the show but I’ll dvr it just to watch you. Just please don’t buy 50 mustards and 100 bars of chocolate. : )

    15. JJ says:

      Amber, you continue to amaze me every time you allow yourself to write something so personal and private. God HAS given you an amazing gift: touching people’s hearts. I am grateful for you everyday!

    16. Marissa says:

      I think it takes a lot of integrity to not just walk away from your home and financial
      obligations like you and your husband did. It seems so many people are upside down on their bills and house, so they just give up. It’s a blessing to read your story becuase it is giving me strength to think we can get through this too. My husband is a teacher and will be laid off next month, and we’ll loose our health insurance in
      Sept., and I am pregnant with baby number two as we speak. We are fighters though,so with God, (and your web site) we will make it work.

    17. Sara says:

      I guess I won’t judge until I see your episode-I have not looked at the other people very favorably. BUT, I do completely appreciate all you do for me and all the other followers you have! You help me keep my little pantry stocked with the things I need.

    18. Rosario says:

      Of course you succeeded! Thank you for sharing.

    19. Amanda says:

      Thank you so much for being willing to teach us that are new to couponing. I work on it everyday and thank people just like you that show me the match ups that I can get. I just love saving money. Thanks for all you do.

    20. Sia Hills says:

      Looking forward to watching your episode Amber (the only one I will skip Survivor for) ;-) . Great pic of your family, love the barn red backdrop!

    21. Gail Gallant says:

      Amber, what a lovely family you have, first of all.

      And I’d also like to thank you for all your hard work. Your site is a blessing to a senior living on a fixed income. While I live in So. Oregon and often spend a lot of time matching up your posts to my local stores only to find that what was posted ws regional, I still get a lot of value from what you share.

      I must also say I understand some of the “haters” out there. I live in a small town outside my shopping area and, for instance, the Rite Aid ad isn’t inserted into our Sun. paper out here. I go on line and try to match up what I can but by the time I get to town at 8:45-9:00 AM the city folks have gotten there ahead of me and stripped the shelves.

      Any time there are coupon books a few people take handfuls and leave none for others. I’d be glad to have just one. :-)

      I keep in mind struggling families like yours and don’t wish to deprive others of necessities. But to some people couponing is a sport. For others of us it is often the only way we have what we need, extras, and items that we can gift.

      So what’s the balance point?

      Thank you, Amber, for crediting our Lord. I love a testimony of His goodness.

    22. Lisa says:

      Your story sounds a lot like my story. Especially your comment about the things you could have done had you known about couponing before, which is what I sometimes think about. But learning how to coupon has not only saved us but has also allowed us to have things that otherwise we could not afford or things that we could never justify buying. Good luck on the show~!

    23. Lisa says:

      You and your family are adorable!!

      I never really understood why people feel the need to judge others for using coupons and/or stockpiling. You really never know what anyone’s situation is, unless you know them personally.

      My husband and I are both self-employed and it has certainly affected our income (or should I say lack of income?). By all accounts, we “appear” to have the perfect life. But unless you know us personally, you would never know how many sacrifices we have made to keep us where we are at financially. We have given up a lot, but couponing has helped us to save so much money on everyday items and groceries. Couponing has also allowed us to help our very dear friends, who did indeed, lose their home :( It only seems fitting to pay it forward if you can, and because of everything I have learned so far, I am able to do so.

      I think sometimes people forget that it takes time and effort to coupon. I have a lot of friends who “don’t have the time to coupon,” but honestly, neither do I. I just make it a priority and I stay up late (until the wee hours if I need to) and do what I need to do to get my coupons and shopping lists in order. Obviously, saving money is important, if not critical for us. If something is important enough for someone, you can “make” the time for it.

      I find the show to be entertaining as well! I am super excited to see your episode, Amber! I don’t know you personally, but I certainly feel like I do :)

      Keep up the good work and thanks again for all you do!

    24. I am so excited to watch your episode! My kiddos are also super excited to watch because they think you are famous now and they keep telling their friends that they met you (LOL) You might need to send some autographs my way :)

    25. Darla says:

      I like what you’re doing, Amber, and am looking forwarding to seeing you on the show! With all my love…

    26. Rachel R. says:

      Thanks for sharing your story, Amber! Beautiful photo of your family. I’ll be tuning in to your show.

    27. Christine says:

      Amber- Thanks for sharing your story! You inspire and amaze many.
      I love your honesty, and reality you bring to couponing.
      I am NOT a fan of extreme couponing, but I will watch your episode!
      Looking forward to it!

    28. Bridgette Fultz says:

      I’m so excited someone local to me will be on the show!! :) So proud and excited to watch :)

    29. Ashley says:

      Thanks for your wonderful story. Also, thank you for going on the show to represent couponers in a positive light.

    30. Wendy B says:

      Your story is an insperation, I don’t have cable but I’m sure you will make us all proud.

    31. Yvonne says:

      Amber I can’t wait to watch that episode. You go girl and no matter what other people might have to say about the show or you. Only you know what it has done for your family and how it has helped you through tough times. Awesome! ;o)

    32. Karisse says:

      Honestly, I’ve tried to watch the show, and the only thing I really like about it is that it’s shown my husband that I could be much “worse” at couponing and stockpiling than I am. :) I know it wouldn’t get as good of ratings, but I wish they could show how working moms can still benefit greatly from being selective and planning ahead, instead of just buying things when you need them. I think the hardest thing for people watching the show is to feel overwhelmed by the 40 hours a week some people say it takes to use coupons. -That is so not true. You just have to know that you get what you give. -but you can still save a lot with a minimum time committment.

      My husband and I are fortunate to work for 2 of the largest companies in the Seattle area, and live in a region that honestly doesn’t have many couponers. (And you can tell because the checkers make a big deal of days I save only 60% off the total :) I certainly don’t save 95% on my purchases, but that’s mostly because I work full time and don’t have time to go to the grocery store 6 times in a week. However, I have adopted the basic principles, and love following local blogs like yours that make it easier for me to know where the best deals are. And with the money we save, we are able to pay down our debts faster than we ever could and save more for the future. I love that you are real and honest, and hope that your blog articles and segment will show that normal people, who may not dumpster dive or have 600 tubes of toothpaste that they’re keeping to themselves can live this lifestyle too.

    33. Angela R says:

      You have a great story, Amber. ;)

      Best wishes to you.

    34. Laura says:

      “Episode 8″ – got it set on the DVR, can’t wait!!! I’m so happy I noticed when Camp Gilead liked your page on Facebook, I’ve learned a lot about easy ways to save! Thank you Amber!

    35. [...] have joined us from reading the article in today’s Herald Paper. You can also read more of Extreme Couponing: My Story. Our goal here on Coupon Connections is to offer a free site to help you and your family reach [...]

    36. Debbs Seattle says:

      I never couponed before, but I have been a stockpiler for 20 years. If I had only known about couponing this whole time. My WalMart trip used to be $400 every 3 months, to stock up on household and beauty only. Funny thing is, they never told me it was “UNREASONABLE” to purchase 12 hand soaps, 12 shampoos, 12 conditioners, 12 dish detergents, 6 dish soaps, 6 toothbrushes, 12 toothpaste, 24 shower gels, 6 laundry detergents, 6 fabric softeners, 4 windexes, 36 rolls of tp, 24 rolls of paper towels, etc when I was paying full price! And seriously! It was in one trip! But now they try to tell me that because I am using coupons. Sorry – I will stand up for myself and my fellow couponers EVERY SINGLE TIME. And did anyone at Costco ever ask me why I was finding it neccessary to buy the 16 pack of toothbrushes? Or the 24 count razor blade pack? Just a bit of a rant. Yes I detest shelf clearers, but I also am a little angry at retailers limiting me to 4,when there are 100 on the shelf, and it is not even a super duper sale item, its just that my coupon makes it such a good buy. So if you see that 40 year old woman standing her ground in Snohomish county stores, just wave and say “hey, Deb!”

    37. Maura says:

      I’m will be glad to see a local on the show! I hope it brings you new “business” to your blog from the newbies. Congrats on being picked!

    38. Maura says:

      Also, that’s awesome that you are doing your second reality tv show. How exciting for you and your family! Kids must be excited to be on TV!

    39. Monique says:

      I am so very excited for you! way to go amber! Shaniah and Chace and I will be glued to the TV that night cheering you on!

    40. Char says:

      thanks for sharing your story and for being honest with us who are just getting started at this. my stockpile is growing; slowly, but surely. my husband and 2 children are totally on board and even help me scout deals and hunt for coupons. its only been 2 months, but my grocery bill has drastically been lowered by using coupons and no longer believing that generic/store brand is the cheapest route.

      thanks again and looking forward to seeing your episode tonight! (actually, i will see it tomorrow on dvr )

    41. [...] Amber of Coupon Connections will be shopping at Albertsons [...]

    42. Tiffany says:

      People, just please remember that others would like to get deals too, and that when you take 60 of an item right off the shelf and leave 0 that not even people without coupons can get one. Please, please order your items. The stores are more than willing to order, and honor the sale price if you want that many.

      Its not that I’m against the show, its just that since the show started, I can’t get my hands on a good deal if I spend the night outside the store! We live in a small town and a few very greedy people have taken this waaaay to far and are not being considerate. I’m not saying don’t take the last one, I’m saying don’t take the last 100 when you can just order it.

      Learn, coupon, save, consider.

    43. Destiny says:

      Hi…I saw your episode today and I loved it…I have always looked at my stores circulars and clipped coupons but never to the extreme that I have seen in watching the show…I just asked some family and friends to get me their unused coupons…and am going to try and take on my 1st big purchase because my family is hitting very hard times…I do have a question though…there are a lot of online coupon sites but I don’t know how to tell which are good and which are frauds…would you be willing to tell me some of the safe ones please? I would greatly appreciate it Thanks

    44. AlysonRR says:

      Amber – I enjoyed your episode and your perspective. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed, but I implore you to change your blog template – I can’t read the last few words on each post because of the blue field… I look forward to more inspiration :-)

    45. Melyssa from Colorado says:

      I have been hooked on the Extreme Couponing show since I discovered a few weeks ago. I am so determined to learn how to get good at it, its insane. I had my very first grocery trip today with a friend (We are exploring this new way of life together) :) and I have to say after going to 2 different stores today to shop, I felt a little discouraged after paying both bills, but I had to stop and take some things into consideration as well. This was my first time doing this, and I still have alot to learn! Between both stores I saved over $70 on in store sales and manufacturer coupons. I really wish I had an extreme couponing mentor to help me get started with this lol. My organizational and math skills are not great so this will be a challenge but again, I’m determined to get there. I loved reading your blog about your experience in couponing and hearing about your grocery bill going from over $900 to $350 really gave me the motivation to keep at it. We’ve been paying over $300 every couple of weeks in groceries without paying attention to prices and/or coupons and we are a family of 4. I can’t wait to see what I can bring our grocery bill down to once I get really good at this! We already have a room set up for stockpiling. I’m stoked! :)

    46. Terri says:

      I agree with Tiffany, I went to a local Target with my ONE measly little coupon to get a little money saved thank goodness by the time I got there there was ONE left of the item, the shelf clearers came along before me, stockpile is one thing, hoarding is another.

      As to the show, I as many others thank you for this site and your guidance, obviously you are following the Lord and he will bless you for helping others like myself who need these money saving tips.

      To the other extreme couponers where they BRAG about having millions in coupons and crazy obsessive stockpiles which they claim to have about $60,000, do you pay income taxes on that $60k a year?? Thats like getting income.

      I mean honestly, what can someone do with 60 bottles of Excedrin? I mean REALLY???

      Again don’t get me wrong, I truly appreciate you and this blog for helping the rest of us who aren’t hoarders or taking couponing to the EXTREME! Heck we all just want to help our families, save money without harming others!!!
      God Bless!

    47. Karla says:

      Amber –
      I read somewhere recently that stores in Washington State don’t double or triple coupons. Then I saw an episode of Extreme Couponing (yours?) with a woman from Seattle doubling. I live in Bellingham and I’m wondering how to use double or triple coupons. Any advice? Thanks so much!
      karla

    48. Dina says:

      Thank you for your tips and bravery to face the haters.

      To the haters: calm down, before I saw this show, when I saw a good deal I may have been the one that cleaned the shelf, and I paid the clearance price (no coupons). Thats the point the early bird gets the worm. There are more than enough other items you can use to survive. When you penny pinch you buy extra to save for later. And as Amber mentioned, she only gets what she needs. If she didn’t I’m sure she would share with others, I guarantee if you asked her school how much she donates, its a lot more than the people that buy one item.

      We are helping each other. Stop hating, its a part of life.

      Dina

    49. [...] I am looking at my picture above, it makes me think of our finances.  We didn’t plan on them turning into the mess that they did.  They didn’t start off that way. We paid cash for everything, we spent wisely, I am sure in [...]

    50. [...] what it’s really like to shop like an “Extreme Couponer”.  Like I shared in Extreme Couponing: My Story, I am extreme not because I buy 60 bottles of mustard, but because I will go to 3 different stores, [...]

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