Extreme Couponing


Have you been watching this Extreme Couponing show on TLC? It’s a whole show about people who use coupons to get thousands of dollars in food for a fraction of the price. In a recent episode, a woman paid $6.46 for $680 worth of groceries. That is impressive!
I’ve talked about using coupons to eat for cheap before on here, and while I still think extreme couponing is an impressive skill to have, there are some problems with it. For one thing, the food that you get isn’t very healthy. Coupons tend to be for brand-name food that is loaded with preservatives, fat, sugars, etc., so relying wholly on coupons is not a good way to get a healthy diet. Also, storing all this food is hard. The show depicts people stockpiling toilet paper in their spare shower and shoving boxes of cereal in their closet. It takes a lot of organization and time to make sure you aren’t wasting the food you’re getting. I mean, even mustard expires eventually.
And then there’s the time issue. When you add up the amount of time spent getting the coupons, researching the deals, shopping in different stores, organizing and storing the food–not to mention cooking it–extreme couponing sounds like a full-time job to me. And I wonder if some of the capable ladies that they have on this show would be better off using their time in a different way.
On the other hand, when they are saving 90% of their grocery bill, who can blame them for wanting to coupon?

What do you think of Extreme Couponing?

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9 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing”

  1. Wow. Just wow.
    I’ve never seen the show, but that’s really scary. From watching the clips I gotta say, it seem that the people have crossed the line from stockpiler to hoarder. The first guy has over 1000 bottles of body wash? Really? Why? I guess he could open a store one day, because he has more stuff in his garage than a small corner store!
    The second couple really disturbed me. Between buying coupons, taking time off work to shop, and 9 carts of food? Wow. I think the OCD is taking over.
    It is interesting-in a drive past a car accident kinda way-to see how the people are saving so much money. It’s pointless though, to buy things in quantities that will never get used. They could save more money by buying usable amounts instead, and keeping the rest of their money on their wallets.
    With the second couple, I wonder if they factor in lost wages, and coupon purchases into their “savings”. I’m still blown away at the sheer amount of stuff they were buying…and the food didn’t look to be anything healthy at all. *shudders*

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  2. Yeah there is an element of greed going on for some of these people. Some of them have large families, and in that case I can understand needing a lot of food, but for other people, the behavior looks like it borders on hoarding. And you are right, the food doesn’t look healthy at all.

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  3. Yikes. I’m with you…. Every Sunday coupon circular I’ve ever seen is filled with more food PRODUCT than real food. I consider myself very lucky that I have a store just down the block that is essentially Whole Foods meets Farmers Market meets homeopathic apothecary (although I should be honest and note that I’m cool with drugstore pharmaceuticals… Child of a Pharma salesman…). Since this store opened, I have only gone to a big “normal” grocery store when I need to do a midnight milk run for the kids, or I need something on Thanksgiving day… I’ve learned to live without a lot of packaged foods, and those that I really need (Ketchup! Chocolate Chips! The occassional bag of non-healthy snacks!) I can get the next time I’m in Target. Sure, I pay a little more for cereal and some staples, but the (mostly in-state) produce prices cancel out the higher costs of more natural foodstuffs. Plus, there’s a large bulk food section that makes me happy with less waste and packaging. Sad that we pay more for “less”, though…

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  5. Honestly, these people should consider donating large portions of their goods to a food bank or homeless shelter. I think it would seem like a much more gratifying use of their time and energy.

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  6. love your website! I’ve been going through ‘older post’ for maybe the past hour because every post is just so informative and fun for my little creative/housewife mind!
    But I had to weigh in here- I extreme coupon. I even taught a few informal last minute ‘classes’ with friends and family to go over the methods. YET- my husband and I only eat raw, organic food for health related matters!
    Extreme couponing can be easy when you don’t mind what you are putting into your body- but it is still possible when do care like me! Does it take more work and time? Heck yes! But, my husband is in college full time and I don’t work other than a few piano lessons here and there- coupons provide us food on the table, shavers in the shower, deoderant, shampoo, fresh produce and organic treats! I try to make everything I can by scratch when it comes to food and toiletries, and luckily there are plenty of coupons to provide me the ‘ingrediants’ of every project. And there is a such a relief when I know it’s lined up in my garage in our stock pile.
    I’ve never met an extreme couponer who doesn’t give at least half or more of their findings to friends and family or charities. While TLC’s extreme couponing show is not perfect, they do show plenty of shoppers giving away their goods. It’s about being smart, realizing what you can or will need to use, and having a heart to give to others.
    Right now I’m happy with couponing. It’s a 15 hour weekly job- and it’s time I definitely feel is worth it. I don’t have to buy our basics (of anything! From sugar to toilet paper) for at least a year.
    My last trip was $632 and I walked out with a $30 credit without paying a single penny! There is nothing bad about that : )
    Love the website!
    I’ll be back often!
    -Laura Emily

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  7. I myself am a couponer. This show is considered absolutly ridiculous in the couponing world. We try to practice “considerate couponing”. We do ot take all the coupons off of the tearpad in the store, we do not clear shelves just because an item is free, we do not request HUGE orders of a product and ask that it be waiting for our arrival in the store, and we let others go ahead of us in line. 🙂
    I agree that the food coupons are not the healthiest choices. In my house, nearly EVERYTHING we eat is homemade. I mostly use coupons for condiments, yogurt, canned tomato products ect. I also write to companies that make the flour and raw sugar I like and they will send me coupons for their products!
    I do not dye my hair, but hair color is sooo easy to get for nearly free, I get it for my family and friends.
    My husband and I have 4 very young children and recently lost our restaurant, and home up in Maine. We used the last of our savings to move down to Texas to be wit family. Couponing has been a tremendous help getting back on our feet and saving money.
    I do not pay more than .20 for toothpaste, .99 for big brand name bottles of shampoo, first aid supplies (like gold when you have young children) are always nearly free. The food coupons help a little bit, but the household coupons are what I use most.
    Just remember, be a considerate couponer!! 🙂

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  9. It seems like the couple in the clip are stocking up on alot of processed foods. I think that many people can’t control the urge to get a “good deal”, whether or not they need it. What is the likelihood that these people will actually use up their supply of items they have purchased? It takes our family of three about 2 months to use a bottle of shampoo. So if you stash 100 bottles of it, that is over 4 years worth. Are these people going to commit 4 years to that shampoo, even if another great deal comes along?

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