Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

Extreme Couponing for Lazy People

While the economy is chilling in the U-bend, people are constantly looking for ways to save a buck. Many have done the easy things: cutting back on luxuries like vacations, designer clothing, and dining out. But there are certain things that simply can’t take out of the budget: health care, utilities and – of course – grocery shopping.

We’ll leave it to someone else to blog about health care and utilities, but ever since TLC’s Extreme Couponing premiered, the little hamster wheel in my brain has been turning. What if I could combine the savings of extreme couponing combined with the sheer joy of sitting on my ass?

I can! With discount codes, there’s a way to get great deals without having to do all that rigorous clipping!

A Visual Interpretation of Generating Coupon Codes

You’re welcome for six months of nightmares.

Work smart, not hard.

That seems like work. Make it easier.

All right, typing in your email address and having to sift through virtual pages does seem pretty intense. Why not just make your social networking a little more business-based?

Companies with an online presence are jumping onto Facebook and Twitter in droves. Whether you prefer to “like” or follow, there’s a pretty good chance something appealing will pop up. With the ability to make a list on both platforms, you can keep your couponing separate from your social scene without having to log into a totally different account.

Full-contact couponing is a serious matter.

This is what really happens when retailers let you combine with any other offer.

Too hard! My head hurts.

You just want everything on a silver platter without any kind of effort on your part, don’t you? Ah, a reader after my own heart. If your browser has the capability to set multiple tabs for home pages, you can have resources like Retail Me Not, Slick Deals, and Coupon Cabin waiting for you every time you go to surf.

What’s the catch?

There is, of course, a dark side to “extreme couponing,” and that is coupon fraud. Recently, Jill Cataldo, the Krazy Coupon Lady (Why the hell would you make “crazy” start with a “K” there? It’s already alliterative when you spell it the right way), called out J’aime Kirlew, a guest on TLC’s Extreme Couponing, for coupon fraud and pretentious use of apostrophes.

J'aime in J'ail

Too bad I can’t get 50% off my prison sentence.

While TLC is “looking into” this matter, there’s a slimmer chance this can happen on the web. First, websites can be modified in real time to get around loopholes that might let someone use a bigger coupon on a large size item for a less expensive, smaller version of the same item (which is what the Krazy Coupon Lady is alleging). Also, because online transactions take time to process before your items actually get shipped out, online retailers have an opportunity to alert you to errors before charging your credit card or debiting your bank account.

What do you think of “extreme couponing”? Do you think it’s okay to stockpile hand soap like the bacterial apocalypse is coming? What strategies have you used to snag a great deal online? Sound off in the comments below!

Until next time, keep expanding your brand!



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  1. Bret Bonnet

    I <3 Coupons!

  2. Jill Tooley

    I’ve never actually watched “Extreme Couponing,” but some of the methods they use do seem like a lot of work. Not that I’m Jabba lazy or anything, but scouring newspapers, clipping coupons, and hopping stores to find the best deals doesn’t exactly appeal to me when I get home from work. Thanks for these tips! I use Retail Me Not ALL the time…I’ve gotten great deals on Six Flags Great America tickets and saved money at Think Geek, among other sites. I never buy anything online without searching for coupon codes first.

    I think it’s silly to stock up on frozen goods or household items unless you have a gigantic family (by “stock up,” I’m referring to the shoppers who purchase 25 items at a time in order to get a discount. No one needs that much toothpaste!). It wouldn’t be practical for me to have that much stuff in my house because I’d NEVER use it all. I’d end up giving people lightbulbs as stocking stuffers or something! 😉

    Could you imagine being in jail because of coupons? Good lord, that would be embarrassing…

    • Jana Quinn

      My roommate DVRs it like crazy, so I end up getting sucked in. Wait, that’s giving me too much credit. I’m secretly happy my roommate DVRs, it so I can get sucked into it.

      I can totally see reason why people “coupon” (it makes me a little crazy that people use coupon as a verb). If I could save that kind of money by doing those big shopping trips once or twice in a year, that would be amazing. I’ve read that a lot of people buy these things in bulk and donate to homeless shelters and the like.

      “What are you in for?”
      “I killed a man with a Barbie leg and then sold his entrails on the black market. What are you in for?”
      “I got an extra fifty cents off a Marie Callendar frozen dinner.”

  3. Bret Bonnet

    Coupons are great, but I hate it when they expire so quickly.

    I know the idea is to get me to BUY NOW, but 24 hours just isn’t enough time, even if I’m IN the market to “buy now”.

    GoDaddy coupons like it’s going out of style. Yes, white flag raised – there IS a point in time when/where couponing and getting free stuff CAN become TOO MUCH!

    • Jana Quinn

      I think it’s a delicate balance. Companies want shorter terms, because they a) want the “buy now” mentality and b) they want to be able to measure the effectiveness of their coupon campaigns. However, they could miss out on sales if they make the period too brief. On the other hand, if it’s too long, normal people (not those on this show) are likely to see that it expires in two months, not feel rushed to make a purchase, and just forget about it.

  4. Jenna

    I subscribe to an e-mail list for an online body jewelry store, so I get great deals on earrings from them all of the time. Plus, anytime I order something, when my package arrives in the mail they send me a new discount code to use online! It’s awesome because i can get jewelry that would normally cost me an arm and a leg on a college student’s budget.

    • Jana Quinn

      Nice strategy, Jenna. I think that coupons are especially effective on “luxury” items like jewelry, because they help people feel less guilty about spending money on a want instead of a need.

  5. JPorretto

    I kind of actually hate coupons. Mainly because I always seem to get stuck behind the old lady at the grocery store who uses 14,000 of them that she clipped out of the paper everyday for the last 76 years that save a penny on each can of cat food that she filled her entire cart with. For the love of all that is holy, can I just give you $5 to move this along?! [End Rant]

    But I actually found a 20% off coupon just by Googling to buy my newest Air Jordans. I saved $28! So maybe coupons and I can coexist after all…

    • Jana Quinn

      I would take any of the Extreme Couponers in front of me in line over ANY PERSON WRITING A CHECK.

      I think you and coupons could find a way to make it work, Jeff. I believe in you crazy kids.

  6. Joseph Giorgi

    I’ll be honest—unless I’m at the grocery store checkout and happen to have one on me, I rarely use coupons. As far as online retailers go, well, the only one I ever really shop at is Amazon, which I don’t think offers discounts for repeat business. 🙁

    Most of the time I just don’t think about coupons, so I never really have the urge to seek them out, which I’ll admit is pretty sad. But I try to keep my extraneous purchases to a minimum anyway, so I seldom come across occasions where coupons would directly benefit me.

    But who knows—perhaps one day I’ll change my ways. And if that happens, I’ll start with these tips. 😀

    Again, great post!

    • Jana Quinn

      Yeah, I’m the same way with coupons. However, my phone has an app where I can save digital coupons and the cashier can just scan my phone. That might be something where I can invest a little bit of time.

      Hope these tips help, and feel free to give me the 10% commission on what save in the form of a cash or check. I’m not picky. 🙂

  7. Juliette

    I’ve been making more of an effort to clip coupons recently. I’ve discovered that the weekly pile of ads that ends up in my mailbox (and that usually ends up in the trash) usually has some useful ones…like buy one cone get one free at Baskin Robbins. Yum!

    I think the neatest thing was that I discovered Kroger has digital coupons! I log into the site, look through the coupons they have at the time and I can “load” them onto my kroger card. So whenI checkout and use my kroger card it automatically applies the coupon discounts for the items without me having to worry about carrying tiny slips of paper around. I wish more stores had something similar.

    • Jana Quinn

      Kroger’s system is awesome! One quick scan and all of your coupons get applied to your order. That saves you and the store time as well as makes it even more convenient to use those coupons. Thanks for the tip!

      • Juliette

        Speaking of coupons, I ordered from Bath & Body Works recently (to use a groupon that was about to expire) and the box arrived today. Right on top was a coupon for 20% off my next order and another for a free product with a $10 purchase.

        Coupons that drop into my lap like that are some of the best. 🙂

  8. Kyle

    Saving money is always a good thing, no doubt about that. Saving money WHILE being lazy? Now that’s a totally different story. Thank you Jana for yet another eye-opening post. I’m not much of a coupon user myself, but I could definitely see myself using these tips next time I’m looking to make a significant purchase. Great stuff as always.

  9. Amanda Sneed

    I like to use coupons whenever I can, as long as they’re on things we’re really going to use. I think some people go overboard with coupons, and end up buying things they won’t use, but hey, you could use them for trying new stuff too! 😉 And that donating items idea–Fantastic!

    I’d like to use more coupons than I do, and I’m going to have check out this Extreme Couponing show! I actually have a little coupon file thing that I keep in my purse, which is awesome! But I do forget about it sometimes.

    I’m always a little leary about searching for coupons online, I always think it’s going to take me to a bad website and give me a virus or something, so I generally stick to paper cut out coupons. Have any of you had trouble like this when surfing for coupons??

    Oh, and great blog Jana! =)

    • CP

      If you print coupons directly from online (without downloading anything) or use a coupon code (just copy and paste some text) you won’t get any viruses or other nasties. As long as you don’t download anything, you’re safe.

  10. Amanda Sneed

    Also….has anyone ever “Double or Triple couponed”? I really want to know how this works and where you can do this. I have never been able to figure this one out. I have a hard time using 1 single coupon sometimes because of all the limits and rules, etc. How are these people getting around it??

    • CP

      No-one is “getting around it”. They learn the rules. There are a lot of limits and rules, and you have to obey them. Some stores double or triple coupons. Not that many though. None of the stores in my state do. 🙁

  11. mary

    I am not an extreme coupon person, but I am lazy! Think of all the money I could save. Great blog, but where is a Kroger?

  12. LK

    I never use coupons when I am grocery shopping, too much time, too much to look through. I do like how Walgreens gives you coupons based on what you buy when you check out (but at the same time it makes me mad… I just purchased 3 lean cuisines, am I REALLY going to use a coupon saving me a dollar on 3 more lean cuisines before the week is over???)

    BUT! I do use coupons and promo codes and love my email blasts with specials and deals in them! DSW sends me an awesome coupon if I buy something at their store that month, Victoria’s Secret sends me promo codes like twice a week, and many other stores do too!

    Thanks for all these tips on lazy couponing Jana, I’m going to have to start trying more of these tips out!

  13. Spencer

    Extreme Couponing for Lazy People ????

    you mean

    Extreme Couponing IS for Lazy People

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