TLC’s Extreme Couponing: Couponing Burnout

Extreme Couponing is back tonight for episode #11.

Last week we saw Joni & Angelique putting their couponing skills to the test. You can see Joni & Angelique’s episode replayed tonight on TLC’s Extreme Couponing at 9:00 EST.

Tonight’s episode features Scott & Jen. Scott, from Long Island, NY, gears up for one last shopping trip before his wife Amy gives birth. Meanwhile in Las Vegas, Jen uses couponing to home school her twin six-year-olds. You can see this episode tonight on TLC’s Extreme Couponing at 9:30 EST.

No Cable or Dish Network? You can watch these episodes and previous episodes for only $1.99 on Amazon Demand Extreme Couponing.

Coupon Burnout:

If you’ve followed us for awhile, or even if this is your first visit to our site, you know we are all about finding ways to help you live a more frugal life. One of the most overlooked aspects of implementing frugality in your everyday life is learning balance. With so much attention on the extreme aspect of couponing, it seems many people are in a frenzy chasing every deal, stocking up like there will never be another sale. It’s a bit exhausting sometimes.

I often hear people say, “I get so overwhelmed when I think about couponing.” Or, “there are so many deals I just can’t keep up.” Or even, “I got so burned out that I quit couponing altogether.”

I speak for all of us fabs when I say WE HEAR YOU!! We have all been in your shoes and felt like muttering each of those statements at one point in our couponing journey. It’s normal. The most important thing to remember is that while couponing is a lifestyle, you can take breaks. And if you are feeling overwhelmed, take a step back.

Keep printing coupons and getting the newspaper, but maybe only shop at one store a week. Or cut the deals you are after in half. Or maybe even skip every sale for an entire week. Just live on your stockpile and shop just for essentials.

That’s what I did for 2 weeks in a row. I was feeling stressed, frazzled and overwhelmed. The thought of dragging my kids, who were acting as if they felt the same way, to the store for hours made me want to cringe. So I didn’t plan a single shopping trip. I didn’t clip a single coupon. I didn’t even walk into a grocery store. I bought produce at a local fruit stand and used meat from my freezer.

It. Was. Awesome.

Because of how we teach you to shop, you should have a sufficient stockpile to allow a little break like that. You never actually stop being a couponer if you pause your shopping trips. In fact, you exemplify coupon living when you can take a break from shopping and still have ample supplies to feed your family! Plus, as a bonus, you might just come back from your couponing hiatus refreshed and ready to hit the stores running.

This post might not be for you. You might just be getting started implementing couponing into your life. If so, don’t panic thinking you will burn out. It took me over a year before I took my first real break from couponing. Just know that if couponing starts stressing you out, TAKE A BREAK! You can always pick up those scissors and start clipping again!


Still haven’t watched Extreme Couponing and not sure what we’re talking about? You can catch up on missed episodes for $1.99 on Amazon Demand!

Need help getting started on your journey

to Extreme Couponing… done right?

Our 90-minute coupon class on DVD will teach you step by step the correct and ethical way to implement extreme couponing. Use code EXTREME for a 55% discount at check out.


  • jolene

    I usually take my coupon breaks in the summer. I think it’s because we do more out door activities in the summer and I just don’t have the time to devote to it. I get 2-3 papers and label them with the dates and toss them in a box. I keep up with the blogs just to make sure I don’t miss a killer stock up deal. But I’m set on most of my toiletries and staples. So I can make it until the end of the summer before needing to hit the coupons really hard. My stockpile gives me the freedom to take a break from stockpiling.

  • Tracy

    I consider a break to be just going to 2 stores a week. In the beginning I was driving myself crazy to go to every store and get every deal. Now that my stockpile\ is sufficient, I only go to the one drug store and the one grocery store with the best deals that week. I skip all the others.

    • tamara

      I have only been couponing for a couple of months, and I can totally see how one could get burned out. I find that its nice to relax on the weeks when we don’t get doublers. I sleep in, hit rite aid and Walgreens when I get up. Then I take the rest of the day off…

  • Christie

    I have been struggling with some health issues/depression lately, and the last thing I’ve wanted to do is shop/ coupon. It’s been so nice taking a break and being able to cook from my stockpile. Thankfully, things are getting better and I look forward to getting going again!

  • Laura

    Thank you for the great post, I just took my first break this week in awhile and it always makes me feel a little guilty….Except that you are right! This week I am stocked up and only had to buy the produce and milk to keep us going, what a great feeling!

  • Sarah H

    After a really tough pregnancy with severe activity restrictions since 13 weeks, (and now adjusting to life with 4 kids under 6) our stockpile is dwindling and I have to admit I’m not feeling up to couponing hardly at all. For having had such a large stockpile, it’s still quite difficult to come up with meals that I have the energy for, and we’re burned out on spaghetti! That said, it’s been a gift to have food, diapers and shampoo in the house, and I know that someday i’ll feel up to doing it again. I just have to get over the cringing I feel when I buy something that’s not at ‘stock up’ price…I’m fighting the whole ‘I don’t have the energy to coupon but I just can’t bring myself to pay full price when I know I could get it for 80% off later’ dilemma. Sometimes I guess I just have to fill the freezer with corndogs and pizza, even if they’re full price!

  • Tara

    I started couponing “for real” Jan 2010 and got really extreme about it, hitting every store for every sale and printing every coupon I could find. Then I had a baby last May and only coupon shopped when it was a crazy good stock up deal or when we really needed something. It felt good to be able to survive for almost 2 months on our stockpile. But one thing I learned was that it was okay to miss a deal. Granted, there are some things I’ll never pay retail for (okay, most things!) but I had to realize that I had saved $4,200 over the course of the year with coupons. If I needed to go buy produce or meat that wasn’t on sale or toilet paper without a coupon (gasp!) in the grand scheme of things it was going to be fine! And I have become a whole lot less stressed out if I’m not constantly worrying that something might go on sale and I’ll miss it. I’d rather miss out on a sale for something that will come back on sale in a few weeks than miss out on time with my family. BALANCE!!! Case in point: I totally passed on doubles this week at Albertson’s!! And guess what! I’m still breathing, my family isn’t starving and I know doubles will come again in a few weeks!! 🙂


    OMG…I know I sat here and didnt use 40 sets of doublers I put it off sunday then monday and on tuesday i was like Do I really NEED anything?? nope….sooo we went out for a movie and dinner gasp…used no coupons and didn’t shop doublers in the same week…oh the horrors of it:-) I shop hard for about 4 months and then live for the rest of the year off the stockpile, only buying produce and milk, it has worked for 2 years now and I don’t have to be a crazed couponer everyday just for a few months:-)

  • Susan

    This is a very good post Amber. You are right – balance is key.

    I started using coupons in earnest in January 2010. I spent most of that first month just trying to learn the ins and outs. Then in February I shopped like a mad woman and got lots of great deals. But I very soon came to the realization that I would not be able to maintain that pace. The “cost” in terms of time and effort was simply not worth it to me.

    So in March, I scaled it way back, shopping only for necessities and picking up a few extra items when the price was right. And in doing so, I fell into a comfortable routine that works for me. I won’t burn out because it fits nicely into my life rather than interfering with my life.

    Think back to high school economics and the law of diminishing returns. I can spend a reasonable amount of time and effort to coupon shop, and I’ll reap substantial savings. Or I can spend a whole lot more time and effort and reap savings that are only marginally better, or they be a lot better but at a much higher “cost” in terms of time and effort required. For me, the “balance” is spending the reasonable amount of time and effort for a nice savings. Make sense?

  • Shauna

    This blog hit the spot. Last week, I was depressed that I wasn’t saving as much money as most people. I also felt overwhelmed by the choices. Go to Ralphs where they double, but don’t have great deals. Go to Alberstons where they don’t double, but have awesome in store deals. Go to every store in my area for two or best deals. I decided to go to one store a week period.

    When I got tired of clipping and organizing, I called upon my kids for motivation and help. That day, we saved $106. I felt great and now, I’m resting. 🙂

  • Katrina Williams

    I have to agree completely. I have skipped the last 3 Albertsons Doubles! I have just seemed to have lost my steam.

  • Jacklyn Mendoza

    Does anyone live in long island or in the 5 boroughs of NYC – that can help me start my stockpile?? $200 shopping budget, need between $500-$1000 worth of products. Plus will give a $60 “helper fee” and if my register total is under $200 you get whatever is left over! Please contact me at mendoza.jacklyn (at) gmail

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