Reader Question: Why Is Your Haul So Small?

Week 12 Total Spent $10.42

I received the following email from a reader the other day.

“Hi Lori! I’m new to couponing, and saw your $10 Per Week Stockpiling Challenge today. I have come across television shows and other blogs who are able to score hundreds of dollars worth for just $10. I was wondering why your purchases seem a little bit on the small side by comparison” – Anne

Well. The first time I read this I was a little miffed, I must admit. I mean, calling my haul “on the small side” is considered fightin’ words in this neck of the blogosphere. But after I gave it some thought, I realized it was a pretty good question.

Week 11 Total Spent $9.91

#1: I Am Not Extreme
First off, you should know that I am not a hoarder and I do not have excessive amounts of time on my hands to stand in lines, clip coupons, and back up the checkout lines. I am a regular mom trying to save money with a few minutes per week and a few coupons.

Week 10 Total Spent $10.49

#2: My Purchases Are Targeted
When I started this challenge, I made a list of stockpiling goals including our most frequently used non-perishable and personal care items. Then I estimated how many we would need for one year. These are the things I spend my $10 on.  Since my purchases are targeted, they are more useful to my family.

Week 9 Total Spent $22.09 (including leftover cash from previous weeks)

#3: I Don’t Want To Buy Junk
Yes, there are other couponers getting huge hauls for their Hamiltons. In fact the other day I walked in on my tween daughter watching “that show” and saw a woman buying $1000 worth of single size cookies and sugary beverages for under ten bucks. Looking at the retail value of what she got was pretty impressive.  But then I started thinking about where she must’ve gotten her coupons.  She was using high value $1/1 coupons on popular brand name snacks.  Where do you find 400 coupons for $1 off any size cookies?  I’m guessing she must’ve paid for them.

Taking that into account, her $10 purchase probably cost at least $300 (since rare/high value coupons are costly).  That’s still a 70% savings, but who has $300 to spend on cookies?  And how fast does she have to eat them before they expire?  And even if she did eat them all, wouldn’t she just loathe the sight of them by the time she got down to the last box?  And does she have good health insurance because I am sincerely worried about her insulin levels…

Week 8 Total Spent $9.24

#4: It’s Not a Competition
Those of us taking part in the stockpile challenge are intentional about what we want our money to be used for. Yes, our hauls are smaller than crazy cookie lady.  And even smaller than those who buy 10 bottles of Toe Knuckle Enhancing Cream (or whatever) at the drug store just because it’s free.  Can I be straight with you? I. Don’t. Care.  My goal is to use coupons to cut our costs. That’s an entirely different category from hoarding. My toe knuckles are just fine, and I don’t want to risk any sort of cookie coma. 😉

What do you think? Are you into huge hauls worth hundreds or smaller more useful coupon purchases?


  1. Totally agree with you on all your points. It’s not a competition and I will not buy (or get) things that I will not use just because.

  2. Right with you! I don’t understand those people that have rooms upon rooms of stockpiled items. Can never use them all. Why aren’t they donating that stuff?

  3. Is your stockpile being used now or are you putting it all away until the end of the year? Thanks :)

    • Hi Shannon – We are using it. I want to have everything on my stockpile list fully stocked on the last day of the year even though we are presently using it all. :)

  4. Loved your answer!!! It makes me very upset to see one person wiping out the shelves because they can. What about leaving some for someone who is truly couponing to stretch their dollars further and who was unfortunate enough to come in behind them only to find it’s all gone. Keep up the good work Lori I follow you everyday. Sheri

  5. “That show” never mentions where all the coupons come from and the associated costs. Very misleading. I too stockpile only items that we normally use, not 100s of Kool-Aid Jammers!!

  6. Have to agree with you. What I see some people buying for cheap is not healthy, and that’s a shame. Just because you are saving money doesn’t mean you are saving. I applaud those who buy useful items and healthy food – finding those at bargains is the real deal!

  7. I love this article! It is SO spot on for what I do for my family, as well. I was recently introduced to your blog through my daughter. I have been avidly couponing for the past 10 years. At that time it truly was a necessity in our lives. Now I coupon because I can’t go back to paying full price for anything. When I first began couponing I bought everything I could only because it would be free or cents on the dollar. I am ashamed to admit how much stuff got tossed because it expired sitting on my shelves. Over the past couple of years, I truly only coupon for what we NEED or can use. We are getting away from alot of processed foods and cooking from scratch. (What are those crazy ingredients anyway that you couldn’t spell if you wanted to????) I love your blog because it is so practical and reasonable. I despise the fact that the people on the show don’t disclose how they got binders and binders full of coupons. I agree………..somebody is paying big money just for the coupons themselves.

  8. Pauline greer says:

    So well said, those extreme couponers need to get a life. It keeps us normal couponers busy just doing the $10 deals, but u sure do help us. we couldn’t do it without u. THANKS

  9. I think those shows definitely are one reason the person who commented on the “small haul” is confused. However, I think another reason she may be confused is she’s reading the blogs of people who live in parts of the country where couponing is easier. I just moved to the Milwaukee area from the Charlotte area and my couponing is sooo much less successful here in Milwaukee than it was in Charlotte. Many of my friends and neighbors in the Charlotte area were into couponing. None of them were “extreme” like the TV shows, and I was the least competent at it – yet we all were very successful. If anyone got a few free things that they didn’t need, they’d donate it to a local charity. The stores there were very coupon-friendly, as well as many offering double-coupons EVERY DAY, and even triple-coupons every few months. It literally changed the dynamic of our finances in our household and I miss those savings!! So geography also makes a big difference! I’ve been tempted to give up, but I keep telling myself that ANY savings is better than none!

  10. Great answers! When people hear I coupon they assume I buy all this crazy stuff for no money. I have to explain it to them because there are certain brands I will or won’t use and only buy stuff I need. If it is free, I do buy it to donate to someone.

  11. I love your challenge! I am always shocked at those extreme shows and cant believe they are even allowed to USE 200 of the same coupon let alone that they do! I’m in an area that recently just started allowing you to use only 4 of the same coupon! I think those shows are making it harder and harder for those of us who are just trying to save a little money for our families!