Extreme couponing: Saving money or hoarding? - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Money

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Extreme couponing: Saving money or hoarding?

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Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:00 am

Extreme couponing is not a new craze; however, as our economy is still in a slump, it is continuing to trend all over the country, even in Ahwatukee Foothills.

While some believe that extreme couponing is a great way to save money on necessities like groceries; others believe it is just another word for organized hoarding.

Megyn Scott-Hintz, Ahwatukee Foothills native, mother, and author of the blog the Minimalist Mommi, took a challenge from readers to become an extreme couponer for a month.

"I like to go by the philosophy of life as an experiment, and so I challenged my readers to challenge me once a month, and my first challenge was to do the extreme couponing," Scott-Hintz said.

She gave herself a budget of $100 and went a bit over by spending $102.70. She ended the month-long challenge with 226 items priced at a retail value of more than $450.

"To take it one step further, I wanted to only coupon green and organic products," Scott-Hintz said. "A lot of people believe you can't get wholesome foods at a good price so they buy the junk, processed foods, believing it's cheaper when it's really not."

She contacted various organic markets, like Whole Foods, and some companies like Cliff Bar in order to find the best deals. She also found an assortment of blogs dedicated to giving away "green" coupons.

Scott-Hintz came away with 49 Z-Bars, 15 Back to Nature Macaroni and Cheeses, and 12 Tazo Teas, all free after coupons. These were some of her best deals, but almost everything she purchased came out to be 78 percent off the marketed price.

However, sticking with her philosophy that less is more, Scott-Hintz chose to donate all of her accumulated groceries to St. Mary's Food Bank.

"A lot of extreme couponers are what I like to call organized hoarders, no one needs that much stuff," she said. "I aspire to live with less and fight the drive within and pressure from our culture to always ‘want more.'"

After completing the month-long challenge, Scott-Hints saw some pros and cons to being an avid couponer.

One of the pros to this challenge was that she was able to prove her hypothesis that you can eat more organic and green products at less money than expected.

"Even if you are poor, you can find a way to make it work," Scott-Hintz said.

One of the biggest cons she saw with this experiment though, was it turned into quite the time commitment.

"I usually spent six hours a day on this project for the entire month, it also requires a lot of footwork, going to specific grocery stores just to find the best deals."

Scott-Hintz also received a wide range of feedback from readers. Some encouraged her and cheered her on her journey to extreme couponing. Others believed she should only take what she needed.

On the blog's conclusion of this experiment she said, "By all means, use coupons to your advantage. Save your family some money. However, do so within reason. Don't hoard the food. Don't hoard the coupons. Share."

• Haley Buntrock is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.

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