Is Extreme Couponing a Good Way to Save on Groceries in 2024?

In the 12-month period ending in February 2024, the average price of food in the U.S. increased by 2.2%. Food price increases like this have been a sore spot for consumers recently. In August 2022, the rate of food inflation was the highest since 1979, with food prices up 11.4% year over year.

If you are struggling with expensive grocery costs, you may be interested in finding ways to slash your bills so you can keep more money in your bank account. Extreme couponing is a technique you might want to try to help you. But, is it actually an effective way to reduce your grocery spending?

As a former extreme couponer myself, here’s what you need to know about whether this technique can help keep you from giving your credit cards too much of a workout at the grocery store.

Extreme couponing can help you save a lot — on certain products

Extreme couponing is the art of combining different coupons to get really cheap prices — and sometimes to get stuff for free. For example, if a drug store is running a buy-one-get-one sale and has toothpaste marked down to $2 a tube and you have a $1 off manufacturer coupon for that brand, you could use two of those coupons on the BOGO toothpaste and end up paying nothing for them.

When you combine coupons strategically, it’s possible to get a ton of stuff for very little money. For example, some cosmetics could recently be had for free from CVS, once you factored in the Extrabucks (CVS money) you got back. The problem is, most of the items you can get for free aren’t really necessities that will help you feed your family.

See, manufacturers usually run sales and offer coupons to entice you to try out new novelty products or to get you to buy luxury items (like makeup). But, coupons are rarely available for the basic essentials most people buy at the grocery store. After all, when was the last time you saw Chiquita put out a coupon for bananas or King Arthur offer a coupon for flour?

So, while you can try out extreme couponing to get certain items at no cost, you can’t count on it to be a consistent, effective way to lower your grocery bill in 2024.

What are some better ways to reduce your spending on groceries?

So, what if you’re struggling with high food inflation and want to cut costs on groceries? What can you do instead?

One option is to join a warehouse club if you can make use of bulk purchases. Clubs like Costco sometimes offer cheap prices on staples, such as ground beef chubs for as low as $2.99 a pound. You’ll likely want to visit your warehouse club a few times, though, to make sure it has the items you usually buy at enough of a discount to justify the membership fees.

You should also consider meal planning, sitting down with the sales flyers and planning a week’s worth of meals around them. This can help you reduce waste and buy items at rock-bottom prices.

These techniques are likely to take less time than extreme couponing and be more effective, so give them a try if your food costs have become a budget burden.

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