If you have not already heard, the new season of TLC's Extreme Couponing premieres at an All-New Time tomorrow, Sept 28th, at 10/9c. Will you be watching?

I was invited to be part of Season 2, but decided not to. Here's why:

Since you last saw me on Extreme Couponing in the first season, lots of things have changed in my life. If you don't remember why I started couponing let me give you a brief reminder.

We own a custom picture framing business called Framed-arts.com that struggles to produce an income with the current state of our economy, and the company my husband works for is continually downsizing. Therefore, I needed to find a way to make ends meet and save our business. (read more here) Couponing has been an amazing way to do that. I have, over almost 4 years built an enormous stockpile that will feed my family for at least a year.

Which brings me to why I decided not to be part of Extreme Couponing this season. Our business still struggles to produce and income, and my husband was one of the "downsized" employees. Having no current income, I have not been shopping, and not going shopping means not couponing!! OMG--there, I actually said it out loud!!

I have not cut, sorted, filed or shopped with coupons AT ALL for 16 weeks now!!

BUT, I have my coupons. You cannot save or go extreme couponing without coupons. I have continued to gather my coupons week after week, but have not cut/sort/or filed them. I have always said that couponing is not my life, but it is part of my life. A very large part indeed, but not my whole life. I teach in my classes that you should never make couponing a chore. If you feel like you are overwhelmed, you wont want to do it. Right now, my life is overwhelming, so I am choosing not to coupon.

Which is why I decided not to participate in this season of Extreme Couponing. I did not have time, I did not have my coupons ready, and it was just not the right time in my life. I enjoyed being part of the first season of extreme couponing, and will watch the second season for sure.

In the mean time I have been living off my stockpile and LOVING IT!! The past 3+ years of my efforts have been sooo worth it! I have been cooking, baking and feeding friends and family just like I always have, but without going shopping. I am just using what is in my stockpile to cook with...after all, that is what a stockpile is for! I even made a big turkey dinner!!

I found a great local farmers market near me that I have been going to on Wednesdays to get my fresh eggs and produce. I spend about $15.00 a week on fresh produce there, and about $2.00-$3.00 for a gallon of milk and that is it. Everything else I already have.

Whether you are new to extreme couponing, or a seasoned pro, I hope you are making couponing a part of your life, but are not letting it consume your life :-). Life is too short and you don't want to miss any of it, so find a way to fit couponing into your life and enjoy the rest! If you are diligent in your shopping and coupon collecting and filing, you will eventually build up a nice stockpile. It is a comforting feeling to know that it is there, and an even more comforting feeling to know that my family will still be able to eat during these trying times for my family.

I will always coupon, and will always have a stockpile. I love couponing, make no mistake about it. I will still teach coupon classes, and will still talk about coupons to anyone that wants to listen. But I will do all of this when it fits into my life, and does not consume my life. I will also NEVER PAY FULL PRICE again :-) While there are deals out there each and every day that are passing me by, its OK. Another deal will come around when I am ready. Another sale will come around when I need it and when I am ready. Coupons will always be here, and when life returns to somewhat normal for me, I will see you in the stores!!

Until then, keep collecting, keep cutting, keep sorting and keep shopping with your coupons week after week to build up your stockpile. That is the best reason I can think of to be an extreme couponer.

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