First, the important part: I was not contacted to do this review and was in no way compensated for it!
Like most "Extreme Couponers" Chase has a theory that she backs up with examples from her own spending. Her book, set up like a course with a little quiz at the end of each chapter, IS very helpful if you are wanting to begin learning the couponing game. If you are a seasoned couponer and drug store shopper, there is little new here.
- Chase limits herself to 45 minutes per week for all her coupon hunting and clipping.
- She does not stockpile products.
- Her examples attempt to show how she uses strategies to pay for fresh veggies, fruit and meat.
- She does not buy much convenience food.
- She only prints coupons as she needs them avoiding wasting printing supplies.
- She clearly points out unethical and illegal couponing practices.
- She demonstrates what I call her "apply on the fly" philosophy of how to grab an emergency item at a drug store and come out ahead! This was very helpful.
- She covers couponing at U.S. Military commissaries, post exchanges and other types of military shopping facilities.
- Did we really need the "personal lubricant" example? Just ick.
- I'm cautious about buying the kinds of meats that generally have coupons--frozen meatballs and sausage generally have tons of salt and preservatives, but some do not. She seems to try to buy a lot of this type meat.
- She buys more snack foods in one profiled trip than I bought for a family of 3 in all of 2011! Even if they ARE "good" or "organic."
- Why do people who don't need them buy a glucose monitor just to get store "bucks"??
Did I learn anything? Yes! Most of what's presented here I've learned elsewhere, but I did get a few tips:
- Companies give products out to people who will host promotional parties. (I didn't know this, but wondered if some of the bloggers I read host "virtual" parties when they has brand-specific give-a-ways.)
- There are databases that help you locate a coupon--IF you save your coupon inserts, or that direct you to sites where you can print coupons.
- I liked the "apply on the fly" plan I mentioned above for getting a great deal when you have to make an emergency or forgotten purchase at a drug store.
- Some stores take expired coupons for a certain period of time.
- I did not know about the reusable bag gizmo (Green Bag Tags or GBTs) at CVS
- You can donate coupons to oversees military personnel/families to help them with the higher cost of living on those posts.
- She validated, with examples, the things I was already doing right--and that's a good thing!
If you want to start couponing I'd recommend blogs like Money Saving Mom and others who introduce you to the same stuff for free and have a lot of the week's "deals" at various stores already worked out for you often with the coupon insert named for the coupons. Many bloggers (Money Saving Mom included) have e-books you can buy, but wait till they are on sale or free and save even more money! But if you're in a hurry, this is a good deal at the library!