I have been extreme couponing since long before there was a name for it. You know the type: obsessively clipping coupons, buying the items on sale in bulk and filling their pantry for a "raining day." That is why when I heard TLC was going to air a series called Extreme Couponing, I was very happy. Perhaps I could pick up some tips from others that I didn't already know. The series might help me save money.

I was wrong.

Instead, the show seems like some kind of twisted combination of "Hoarders" and "Supermarket Sweep." The Extreme Couponers gleefully show off their "stockpiles" and exclaim "I won't have to buy toothpaste for the rest of my life!"

I have used coupons for years as a way of stretching my food dollars, particularly when I was supporting an extended family when my oldest son and his wife lost their jobs and had to move in with me. Without the coupons, my grocery bill would have either been a lot higher than it was, or we may have had a tougher time putting food on the table.

Now, since "Extreme Couponing" has hit the airwaves, more people are "abusing the system." They are trying to emulate the Extreme Couponers and come up with ways of paying next to nothing for their groceries. They do this by combining printed coupons with the store's loyalty cards and sales. I have done this, too...but I know damn well I don't need 500 tubes of toothpaste. Some of these folks subscribe to coupon clipping services to get considerably more newspapers than they would ever possibly by just to stock up on the coupons. In one episode, a man purchased $4,000 worth of breakfast cereal for pennies on the dollar. Granted, he did donate the cereal to a food bank, but how likely is it that store will offer a similar deal in the future?

In my area, grocery stores and even some pharmacies, are wising up to the abuse. They are changing their coupon policies. At one grocery store chain where I live, they will still double coupons, but only on the first item. After that, they will only accept the face value of the coupon. Yes, they have indicated that the change in policy is due in large part to people employing the practices they have seen on "Extreme Couponing." Because of these gluttons, it is no longer possible for me to save as much money as I used to with coupons. No, I do not have a "stock pile."

Savvy Frugality, saving money, couponing....that's one thing. There is only one word for one person single-handedly clearing an entire shelf of underarm deodorant and paying for them with nothing more than a pile of clipped coupons: greed.

You might recognize the title of this post as the old motto of the Morton Salt Company. However, it can also be applied to people who are going through tough times, and the tough times only seem to keep coming.

I have detailed here how things were humming along for me quite nicely, as far as my finances were concerned. Then, my family was hit by temporary homelessness. OK, we weren't totally homeless. We did live in a hotel for four months, but the experience did wipe us out financially, despite having a savings account, money in stocks, and renters insurance.

After we moved into another home, we were hit with another family crisis: my son and his wife both lost their jobs. To help them out, my wife and I let them come and live with us temporarily. Unfortunately, they had to stay with us longer than originally planned. Now, not only was I recovering from my own crisis, but I was essentially supporting two households. I only earn so much money at my job, and things reached a breaking point.

So now I am in a unique position for a personal finance blogger. I not only get to write about how to manage money when things are going well, but I get to share with you how to recover when things downright suck.

During my previous post, I promised to keep you updated on our progress. Recently , I earned another raise at my job, and this will help a little. My wife is now completely on board with our need to move to a less expensive rental property, and since our lease is up in a couple of months we have given our notice to our landlord and are now actively searching for a new place to live. Currently, our rent is $1,200 per month. We are now searching for a place that is no more than $750 per month.

We are also looking for other areas to cut our expenses as well. We have been with the same insurer for auto and renters insurance for about five years now. After doing some checking around online, we found another company that will give us the same coverage for about $30 less per month. That doesn't sound like a lot, but over the course of the year we'll save $360 per year. That is money that is going right into our savings account to rebuild our emergency fund, along with other savings we'll realize after we move, plus the amount of my recent pay raise.

When you face a "when it rains it pours" moment, it is easy to wallow in your own misery. Don't. Worrying never solved anything. The best thing to do is come up with a game plan and find a solution to your problems. My family has been in a tight spot before. We'll make it through this one, too.

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