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Why I Won’t Be Watching Extreme Couponing

by Tara Kuczykowski on April 6, 2011 · 411 comments


As most of you are probably already aware, TLC will be airing a new series tonight called Extreme Couponing. I won't be watching...

To hear the words "extreme" and "couponing" used in the same sentence just makes me cringe. I mean the very definition of of extreme is "going to the utmost or very great lengths in action." Anything done to the extreme borders dangerously on becoming an obsession.

I don't know about you, but that is not the way I want my actions to be viewed by my family and friends -- or you, my readers.

:: Couponing As A Lifestyle

Couponing is a way of life, but taking it to the extreme isn't necessary to trim your grocery budget. Yes, getting hundreds of dollars of groceries for under $5 is a thrilling experience. However, take a closer look at those groceries. Do you really have the ingredients necessary to put together a wholesome family meal? I'm betting the answer is no.

I prefer to support practical couponing here on Deal Seeking Mom. A typical grocery shopping trip for our family of seven averages about $100 and consists of a variety of fresh produce and meats and the sensible use of coupons on products that complement a healthy eating lifestyle. I could be wrong, but I'd imagine this is the ultimate goal for many of you -- not simply getting free products for the sake of free products -- and I plan to share more of these trips in the coming weeks.

:: Our Stockpile

It may surprise you to know that I pass up a good portion of the deals that I share with you each week, freebies included. If an item isn't something my family uses, I'm probably not going to waste my valuable time and energy shopping for it. Yes, even if it would make a great donation -- storage space is at a premium in our overcrowded house, and unless I know we can shuttle something off to a dropoff immediately, I'll probably pass it by. However, I do want my readers to have every opportunity to save available, so I post all of the offers that I can without judgment.

That said, we do have a stockpile... a modest stockpile. I buy enough to last us 6-8 weeks, and that's plenty in my book. It makes for easier management of expiration dates while still allowing me to be generous with family and friends as the need arises.

I will say that I'm thankful to TLC for inspiring more people to learn about couponing. If you came here by way of the show and are interested in learning a common sense approach to using coupons and saving money, I hope you'll subscribe to Deal Seeking Mom and stick around!

What are your thoughts on the show? How do you approach couponing in your household?

{ 411 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer July 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Love all of the comments. First of all what store are they shopping at that would allow them to use all of those coupons. All of my grocery stores have a limit. Once again exceptions to the rules for the love of reality TV.

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3 Willa August 26, 2014 at 5:26 am

Here are some great money saving tips I have personally used and still use today. I buy 2 papers a week (I do not dumpster dive). I cut out what I can use and always do the try me free offers, I then go to my neighbor and we go through what we have left and trade. Whatever is left I list them on ebay just to get the cost of my 2 papers back.

Things I don't have coupons for I go through ebates and buy from walmart or target and buy the things I still need like pet food, beauty supplies, food, detergents, cleaning supplies, clothes, gifts or whatever. By doing that I get free shipping to my home, don't waste time shopping or spending money for gas and every 3 months I get a check from ebates.

I also have a small garden and save seeds from vegtables I'm using, dry them and replant them. So it helps cut the cost and I have free veggies. I live where it is warm and have fresh fruit trees to get a abundant of fruits. I dehydrate some and things like oranges and lemons I save the peels, dry them in the sun and sell them online to potpourri people.

I also shop at SAMs club and save tons on paper towels and toilet paper and so on and each month they send me booklets with hundreds of money saving coupons. I then buy gift cards and save anywhere from 5 to 20% and use a coupon along with a gift card at the resturant I choose. I recently got a buy one, take one meal from Olive Garden - saved 7% on my gift card and in the end I saved 7% off my bill! got 2 meals, 1 salad and 1 soup. I froze must of it for a later meal.

When my child was younger I joined I promise, had it rolled into a 925 college plan and when he started college I received a check for $14,788 from just buying the items I normally use. All free money.

I also get 5% back from using my target card - I pay the bill before interest is added and I use it through ebates and get money back from ebates also. That is a great way to double dip.

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4 SammyLeia July 14, 2011 at 7:10 am

I was in Canada recently and watched Extreme Couponing. (We don't get it here). I'm Australian and we don't get many coupons for grocery shopping so I couldn't believe what I saw on this show. There were girls hoarding nappies (diapers) and they didn't even have babies yet! I agree totally with your view on couponing - thanks for sharing.

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5 natalie September 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

i was so angry when i saw the extreme couponing episode where the lady was talking about her stockpile of diapers and how she doesnt even have kids.. i'm a single mom and my son is almost 2 and its hard for me to even spend the 17.99 on the biggest pack of LUVS i can find. i've seen a few diaper coupons for 2.00 off but i dont understand how these people get free diapers.. would they be using multiple diaper coupons on a package of diapers? usually the coupon says "limit 1" and i dont argue with it..

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6 stacey July 18, 2013 at 2:57 am

I feel for you being a single mom, I know things happen, but at the same time I am sick of the "feel sorry for me I am a single mom'' or the "I am a stay at home mom" routine. It gets old between three kids, couponing, my small business, and my 40 hour a week job it gets old. You think you work hard, I have been through many things and NEVER asked for a handout from anyone. I am NOT going to put down a purchase that can support my family if I don't need it now I may need it later, get over yourself.

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7 Manda February 3, 2014 at 10:12 am

Stacey -

That was unnecessary and just plain rude.

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8 candice August 17, 2014 at 9:35 pm

That was rude! I was a single mother with no job. It hurt having to ask my parents for support! They did thank goodness but it's not a sympathy thing some times you just can't help it. Now I am a stay at home mother of two and yes I am looking for a job but taking a job for minimum wage is working to pay a babysitter. I am not getting anything out of it. So I will wait and find the deals when I can. And yeah I watch that show and coupon. I like to call myself a mildly extremest. Where I shop for items I need and use daily. Then donate things as my child grows out of it. So some person getting free diapers when I'm struggling to purchase a pack for 15$ after a coupon hurts. Especially when they don't have kids. So to you miss Stacey you can go suck it. If you have kids I feel sorry for them not knowing their mother! For you are a workahalic and just plain don't understand

9 Willa August 26, 2014 at 4:17 am

Candice, you telling someone else to go suck it and you feel sorry for their kids for not knowing their mother and having to work - is awful. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but to say it out loud is plain ignorant. As for the show where the women with no kids were stock piling diapers - good for them. They are not taking them from anyone else and their planning for their future family. That should not upset anyone because they did not do it first. I was a single parent, I worked, couponed and I feel I was a great parent. I have a 20 yr old who's attending college and thanks me all the time for him being the person he his today. I never asked for help and struggled to get on my feet and I feel it made me a better person. I'm well educated and have a successful job. If people choose to be a stay at home parent - maybe they should look into evening or weekend college course to better educate themself, their children and help support their family in the future. No stay at home parent should ever put down a single parent for working - there not asking for hand outs, having someone else support them, living off the system or using childcare or being a stay at home mom as a excuse not to work and it doesn't mean they love their child any less. I know plenty of stay at home moms that are awful parents and teach their children nothing. If people have time to look for jobs they have time to take online courses, weekend and evening courses or get a job when their husband is home.

10 Willa August 26, 2014 at 4:24 am

I have 1 child because I wanted to give him everything I could and send him to private school. I could not afford another child and was responsible enough not to have anymore. If people complain about the cost of diapers per week then why would they have another child they can't afford? Why not wait until your first child starts school and get a job during the school hours and get ahead in life instead of putting themself in debt and complaining about someone thinking ahead or how your upset you are struggling to buy diapers.

11 Tammy M. July 16, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I love the show. Although it's not very realistic on a weekly basis, it's still fun to watch. And I do get what I can for free. Many times I get paid overage for it, and my local food bank absolutely loves all the donations. I donate about 75 items a week. How can I say no to free items which help others? I do have the time and I really enjoy it.

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12 Crisci July 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Please do remember that when you are getting freebies that you will not use, you may be taking it away from someone else who NEEDS it. I get very hurt when I have gone through the work of buying papers, organizing my coupons, making my list, then getting to the store to find the best deals for the things I need for my family gone because someone else wanted to donate them. If you are going to get items to donate, please wait until the last day of the sale so that people like me can provide for our families, too.

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13 denisse August 15, 2011 at 5:40 pm

do you go the first day of the sale? thats what i do when i know i need something that i have already ranout on or am on the last one.
just a thought...:)

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14 Tami August 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Sometimes the stores receive shipments midweek, so while this theory is good, it may not be realistic. I like Crisci's suggestion, personally.

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15 Melinda September 23, 2012 at 9:59 am

If the store runs out of an item during the sale, go to the customer service desk and request a raincheck. I just did it on the last day of a sale. It gives me another 30 days to pick up the item at the sale price using all of my coupons. I don't lose out on the sale, get the product even fresher and at my leisure.

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16 Willa August 26, 2014 at 4:32 am

One could also say that maybe you should have went out and got that item knowing it could be gone when you get there. I myself donate tons of free things and it does help the less needy - maybe even someone in a worst situation then yourself. I don't feel bad about it because I know I'm helping someone who needs help.

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17 kim o July 17, 2011 at 9:31 pm

it s not realistic i know of no one does that around ohio...i due my best with the coupons i have and donate to food banks..toys for tots..i think extreme coupon show are spoling the coupon for us normal people that want to save..
every penny help these days...coupon in the papers are not good anymore..

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18 Reader November 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Kim O yew our knott varie smuhrt

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19 Julia January 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Dear Reader,

Your rude comments and personality will bite you in the rear some day. Stop being a grammer jerk.

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20 DanielleW. July 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I'm so glad I found your site recently. I cannot even attempt to get the deals like they do on the TLC show. There are 2 main groceries in my town of 10,000..and one is WalMart, the other is a TX grocer that seems to have run out the stores that would double or triple. I do well on my own by researching coupon sites & receiving coupons via email and FB.

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21 cat July 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I have noticed since the airing of TLC's show the coupons in the paper have dwindled and some stores are putting limits to how many items people can purchase. It's quite frustrating, I work full time but still try to find good deals and clip what I can but lately it seems like I am putting in much more work prior to the showing airing.

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22 Kari September 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I noticed this too!

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23 Linda April 20, 2013 at 3:38 am

Me to. I wish they would take that show off the air. It is hurting people, not helping them.

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24 Anna October 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm

the stores are also looking more closely at the coupons, & trying to go by the pictures on the coupons instead of the writing. It's aggravating when you have a coupon that specifies good on any XX product but the picture on the coupon only shows 1 product so the cashier tells you they won't accept the coupon unless you buy this other item that you don't want/need :( Thanks TLC for making our lives more difficult

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25 Willa August 26, 2014 at 4:38 am

Remember extreme couponing is fake - they contact the store in advance, if they have limits on coupons they override it for the show and even except coupons when they show the register doesn't except it. I seen where store were going those people for using fake toilet paper coupons, pizza, soda and pet food. Some of the store have even apologized to there value customers.

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26 Sheila August 17, 2011 at 1:20 pm

The extreme couponing show I LOATHE!! It is making it hard on everyone else to buy for the family. One of the stores that I shop at has an extreme couponer. Sunday mornings at 8:00 she is there and snatches up buggys of items and clearing out the shelves.

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27 mandy August 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm

HI I am a extreme couponer. I will probably get praise or shot down for saying that. It can go either way. I have a stock pile. I donate and give to my sons school. Also I do the box tops for his school as well. I am not the one who clears the shelves I preorder the deals when I see them so there is plenty left on the shelves for others. I also give extra to children at my sons school who can't afford lunch and school supplies. I do the best for my community. I could not do this without couponing.

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28 Shawn October 16, 2011 at 2:40 am

Hi Mandy I'm Shawn. first may I say I admire your hard work. I'm in the military, a cop on base and my wife is eager to learn on a better strategy and is willing to get any advice on hard work it takes to coupon and so am I. I haven't had the funds to have been able to buy her a wedding ring for the past 3 yrs due to the deployments ,loans i had before i joined, the help our family's back home needs. She completely understands that we have to be patient for her to receive her ring. I just wish we had help with gathering more coupons n the proper use of them to speed up her goal. Also our sons 2nd bday is coming up and we want to throw him a fun party, one we werent able to reciev qhen we were young. We are lucky because our commissary does not have a limit I asked the manager and she said if I had a coupon for every single item then it's no problem.We have recently started using coupons and the most we've been able to save is 20% on a 200$ receipt, which I love Bcuz the money we save I donated it to my brother who is struggling with his bills and his children. I'm reaching out to you to see if you would in any way help out my wife she has the motivation and time at home to search and gather. we just need to know where to go and what else to do. I hope you can help. Thank you so much for your time Mandy.

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29 Krys Barrett November 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Hey Shawn, i just came across your inquiry. I am not a crazy extreme couponer but i have frugal tips and do save alot by using coupons as much as i can. I have a few pointers: always scan as many stores as possible, you never know who may have a good price and who accepts coupons: Menards sometimes has great sales and takes manufacture coupons. Realize a stock pile isn't just food but tp, papertowel, shampoo, paper plates(a necessity for us!) toothpaste, advil,bandaids, etc. you won't believe the difference of a well stocked medicine and toiletry supply. that week you only can buy produce and staples you will see! Also for birthdays, my husband and i have gotten this down pretty good and even managed a themed tangled(rapunzel party for our daughter this past october!) Have fun! what are you trying to achieve!? Favorite memories we have is one party bubbles,bubbles, everyone got to help pop a huge roll of bubble wrap(found at big lots) by stomping all over it and got a bottle of bubbles to take home. get plain paper ware and on the cups put a character sticker to make them special! instead of goody bags we put a tag on a little gift like the bottle of bubbles and say thank you for coming! and wrap them in a small box inside another and another and wrap it up with comics and have friends open it at gift time! how awesome for the kids to get to open a fun challenging gift! need some more info, email me anytime! I live in michigan and have to specialize in awesome indoor (in a small house) cheap parties! love to save money and my husband is coupon king. he works near a double up to a dollar krogers and he has his own binder to score very cheap stuff with sales and his coupons! We love teaching our kids this stuff. My daughter know there is birthday tote that throught the year we buy paper plates, silverware, other stuff-cake mix, goodies,decor,balloons, etc. and when b-day rolls around she loves"shopping her tote!"

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30 vicki August 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm

i agree with the lady that said leaveSOME for those of us who NEED it. I am total disabled and need to use coupons just to survive. donating to food banks is fine but us POOR ones can only go toa food bank once evey 3 MONTHS!!! You do ot get alot of food when you go enough to add with what you have left for maby 2 weeks unless you can eat rice every meal and i dont mean with every meal!! I have been and recieved i pkg of meat from 1-2 lbs depending on what type it is maby a pkg of hot dogs of maby a 2 lb piece of beef. a box of cereal some dried milk [which is great to use in gravies] a jar of peanut butter 1 can of tuna and around 4 cans of veggies/fruit. If you do find one that has any household/hygene to give it is 2 rolls of toilet tissue 1 shampoo/cond toothpaste never trash bags, dish soap, foil, baggies, paper towels, plastic wrap. I get $93 a month to grocery shop on. Now figure how long that will last you and the foodbank too. I am not knocking the food bank but please do not USE IT AS YOUR EXCUSE to wipe out the shelves or make a pig of yourself buying 10 tubes of toothpaste!!I can not compete with these extreme shoppers that are there the minute the sale starts. I do try and get there as soon as i can but i have some bad days that means it may be the next day before i can get there.I can understand getting some extras to try and last untill the next decent sale times,But these FOOD BANKS do not pass out supplies to last that long!!! We have to try and get that sale too and get enough to make it to the next sale if we can or at least a couple of them. On the sales of more expensive things like laundry soap there is no way we can afford to buy up enough to last months. We are happy to get ONE item and sometimes if expenses work out just right MABy 2. Please think about this next time yu are wiping out a shelf to 'HELP'.

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31 Willa August 26, 2014 at 4:44 am

If you see a grocery ad and think a item will be gone before you get there - try calling the store and asking them to set a few aside for you with your name on it. I've done that before and was able to get some of those must needed items. Also you may want to try soup kitchens for meals or if you are disable - some states has meals on wheels and they bring you your meals.

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32 sophie August 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I've worked in retail before and most (not all) of these extreme couponers are extremely difficult to deal with. Now as a consumer, I make sure I don't end up in line behind them. There's nothing wrong with saving money by using coupons, but seriously don't get so carried away.

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33 Cherri September 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I for one will NOT watch the extreme couponing show. In my area they clean out the shelves and then proceed to have "Garage Sales" and sell the items for a discount to buy MORE items to SELL!!! I will not shop at a garage sale that sells the coupon purchased items. I also know of those that shop the stores and remove the coupons attached to items on the shelves to use at a coupon doubling store leaving others without the coupons on items they purchase. This is CHEATING folks, plain and simple. It leaves others who need the financial boost without! It also defrauds the manufacturer of the dollars they put out for advertising. Afterall that is what the coupons original purpose is, to encourage people to try a product.

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34 ANNA September 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm

AGREE WITH YOU ON THIS---ONLY WHAT I NEED AND CAN USE IN REASONABLE TIME

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35 nancy September 22, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I would consider myself an extreme couponer simply because I keep 5 houses in supplies, give to my parents and donate regularly to a women's shelter. I purchase multiples at a time and shop multiple times a week. I am not employeed so I spend a lot of my time walking the aisles of 4 or 5 stores (I have lost 30 pounds since May simply shopping). My children and grandkids come through my coupon room and pay me with kisses, 1 for each item they put in the bag. After they have all been shopping I donate most of what is left. I don't purchase food only non-food items that those people on food stamps can't purchase. I have found that the newbie couponers watch the show get all excited about it and shop for a month or so. They then peter out because they really didn't have the desire.

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36 Vonda October 2, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I am still wondering how someone only spends $100 for a family of 7? I can only assume that is a week. I live in San Antonio, only Target, Walmart and HEB to shop at. No double or triple coupons anywhere, cannot get out of the store for less than $100 for 4 people.?.?.? and use coupons.

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37 Tara Kuczykowski October 3, 2011 at 8:42 am

Oh, yes, Vonda -- sorry if that wasn't clear. That's what we spend on average for a week's worth of groceries. It's creeping up a little right now since I have a boy playing football who's eating everything in sight, LOL.

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38 LEAH June 9, 2014 at 10:08 am

I am a huge couponer and started about 2 years ago. I can feed my family: Me (39), my husband (41), 5 boys ages 19, 17, 10, 9 and 8 on a monthly budge of $235 and we do not eat junk. I mostly cook from scratch and that helps the budget go even further. People tend to think that all the frozen and boxed items in our stores save time and money but the reality is, it really does neither. I have a stockpile...it is not extreme but it is nice to know that we will not be food insecure ever again. I do not have stores in my area that double and triple coupons, oh a couple do a couple times a year for up to 10 coupons but that is not a huge thing:) Being able to price match the lowest weekly price and then adding a coupon to the sale price is how I get most of my items. Just wanted to share that it is possible to feed a family cheaply and still healthy.

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39 carolyn October 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Hi Tara & my fellow coupon buddies!

Yanno,..I couponed years ago and for some reason I stopped. When I caught this show on TLC,I had mixed feelings about it. While I was glad for certain people (the guy that donated everything from his shopping trip to the military for care packages.that made me cry) ,others infuriated me..I simply cannot fathom emptying an entire bin of lipstick,regardless of color,size or being able to use it,simply because you can get it for free or pennies.I have lipstick I bought ten years ago,still in a drawer. This isnt couponing. Its hoarding and obsession. I have started couponing again. I do NOT empty shelves,unless there is only 1 or 2 left. I do NOT buy more than my family (I buy for my mom and sisters families too) will use in 6 months. I saved 100$ at the store the other day with my coupons and still spent 200$. So,I do not get my entire shopping trip for free. Its next to impossible to do that,even buying whats on sale with coupons. I shop @ night,so in that way I am courteous to other shoppers and do not hold them up,and if I see someone behind me with only 2-5 items,I let them go first. Couponing is getting a bad rap from this show and these kinds of shoppers,we need to do what we can to remind the stores and other people that we are just moms feeding families on a budget. Happy Couponing,everyone!

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40 Michelle October 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Hate the show. It's not realistic and is dramatized. I love saving money, but it doesn't happen like that in real life.

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41 Jamie October 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm

I have to say i was inspired by the show to start couponing again.. i gave up on couponing years ago but since my husband and i purchased our first home and are on a strict budget i have to coupon just to be able to get things we need. i would never nor would i have the energy or time to take couponing to the level they have taken it to on this show..however some of the people on the show who do this to help others is a great thing and would definitly work extra hard to coupon if it would help another and have in the past,

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42 Heather October 20, 2011 at 4:21 am

Hello there everyone!

I myself am a newbie coupon-er. I was wondering if anyone has any good tips for a beginner? I'm not looking to go and get 1200 boxes of cereal for free, or anything ridiculous like that - but I would like to be able to feed my family of five better on a tight dime, as well as build up a stock pile that would last us about 6months-1year. I got coupons out of the paper, a lot of them are not very useful... does anyone has any other suggestions on how to obtain coupons useful for my family? Any tips or more direction would be wonderful!!! Thank you kindly,

Heather

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43 Angela November 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I would say check this website every day. Tara does an awesome job showing us deals. After awhile you will pick up on everthing and you will see deals everywhere!

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44 Willa August 26, 2014 at 4:59 am

Heather,
I have a good job and can afford to pay full price but choose not to so I can save for my senior years. I buy 2 papers a week, trade with people in my neighborhood for coupons I can use and what ever is left I sell on ebay and recoup the cost of the 2 papers. Then I check out coupon services and pay for the few coupons I can use. I'm also a member of SAMs club and buy bulk and every month they send coupons for even more off the item I use and I get a 2% of my sales check back every 6 months and if I want to eat out, I check out their gift cards and even save on those and at times I not only save with the gift cards but use a coupon at the resturant. I also shop through ebates and get a check from them every 3 months. I order food, vitamins, shampoo and supplies and have them delivered to my door for free and I save my time and gas not having to go out and get them.

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45 Cindy November 6, 2011 at 6:28 am

I absolutely Hate the "Extreme Couponing Show". I have been using coupons all my life. My Mother had lived through the Great Depression when she was just a little girl. Her life experiences had taught me the value of saving those extra pennies. I never had problems shopping with my coupons until this show became popular. If there are lots of inserts in the Sunday paper some people will buy up all the papers. Even worse than this is that some will buy a paper but put several coupon inserts from other papers into theirs, leaving another customer having no coupons. The few stores that we have are starting to refuse high value or freebie coupons that are printed from our computer. They claim some people will come with handfuls of these coupons that seem to be copied. It wasn't that long ago that stores didn't care on how many items you took when they were on sale. People wouldn't take all the sale items. Now store managers need to put limits of 2 because this show made people think it was acceptable to hoard all the sale items. (None of our stores do special orders.) One store has even gone so far as to allow only 5 coupons that they will double and you cannot use more than 2 coupons on 2 of the same items. They also allow only so many coupons during your purchase. Stores policies are constantly changing making it hard to prepare yourself for shopping. I believe this show has made some people greedy,dishonest, and even obsessed with an addiction to hoarding. A better show would be teaching people a more realistic way to shop and save.

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46 Cindy December 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I must have a twin. I feel the same way and when I was to respond I noticed you even have the same 1st name!

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47 Denise November 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I never thought I would defend extreme couponing, and quite frankly I hate the show, but here is why I do it.

I have been a sensible couponer for 20 years. I do not have a gigantic stockpile of items that will last for 10 years, nor do I have the desire to turn rooms in my home into mini convenience stores. I hate it when I want to pick up one or two sale items and everything is gone the first day of the sale. And I think "really, do you need 800 sticks of deodorant?" or "that's nice that you donate things, but save some for those of us also on a budget who don't go to food banks and only want a couple of items."

I have a family of five, two kids still at home and one in college. I lost my job 3 years ago, and we live in Michigan where there are no jobs and I haven't been able to find one. I started my own business this year and every penny I have made has gone back into the business trying to build it up. My husband is in the military, so that dictates where we live. He is with the National Guard, so we are lucky that unlike other military families we don't move from place to place to place. And his job with the Guard is full time and we are happy that he has it and for the benefits, but moving out of state for me to find a job is not an option.

We pay tuition, books, car insurance, and cell phone for my daughter who is in college. She takes classes full time and works part time and pays her own rent, utilities, and other necessities. Because we want her to be able to focus on her education and not have to work full time, we do try to buy her groceries and toiletries. So in some ways, we are supporting two households.

My husband and his troop recently deployed, and he has around 150 soldiers. The military provides their shelter and "2 squares" but what a lot of people don't realize is that soldiers have to provide their own toiletries and anything they want to eat beyond some delicious (not really) MREs. Where they are stationed is remote and they often do not have access to a PX or Exchange to buy these items. And when they do, the prices are quite a bit higher than they are at home. So the families left at home and trying to run a household while their spouse is gone have to send these items to their soldier. Mailing cost is $15 for a box that's about 15x15 (doesn't hold a whole lot), and at a couple of boxes a month, it really adds up.

We have a lot of families with young kids and tight resources. Because of our state economy, a lot of the spouses are unemployed. And as with my situation, moving for them is also not really an option. When my husband and his troop left, I decided that I would head a care package effort to send these necessities to our soldiers and help out the families at home who have limited resources and also those soldiers who don't have family who will send them things while they are deployed.

So I may buy 20 tubes of toothpaste or 10 packages of beef jerky in a trip, but I am not stocking up in anticipation of an Apocalypse. And once our troop is home safely, I will go back to sensible couponing.

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48 Denise November 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm

And for the record, I do adhere to store policies and don't do things like buy 80 newspapers or take the inserts out of the papers I'm not buying. I don't clear shelves unless it is the last two or three items on the shelves, and I always let the person behind me go first if I'm doing two transactions (which I do to separate the items I'm buying from my own funds for my family from the items I am buying with care package funds).

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49 Anna November 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I love this show and no I am no extreme couponer! I think its weird and fascinating all at the same time that these people literally spend a big portion of their time clipping and collecting coupons just so they can create stockpiles of food and merchandise . Sometimes its tempting to follow their routes though!

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50 glenda November 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I think its a crazy way to exploit a good idea. Using cupons is normal, stockpiles of groceries that will expire b4 you can even use them is not normal, its greedy and selfish. I dont like people who clear shelves, its so unfair, and in my city, our cupon teacher preaches not to be a shelf clearer. Shame on TLC for making America look greedy and stupid, another reason why "they hate us"

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51 Angela December 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm

I've watched it a couple of times and it makes me crazy. First of all, I would feel really bad if I was the crazy coupon lady holding up the line. And second, I would want to kill the crazy coupon lady if I was behind her. Most of these people seem to have a food hoarding problem at the very least. While I agree with the concept of donating to charity, I shout at my TV asking "why do needy people want 500 bags of skittles or chips? Don't poor people deserve to eat meat and potatoes, too? Why not buy healthy food and donate that instead of the junk that you can get with a truckload of coupons? It's insane, and I'm glad I have no part in the madness.

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52 Angela January 3, 2012 at 2:08 am

I hate now that every time I use my coupons I get called an "extreme couponer" because of the popularity of the show. I also agree that now policies have changed at all stores, making it difficult to easily prepare lists and experiencing a lot of emberrassments and hassles at the check-out.

I feel like the connotation has changed when you use a coupon. We're now associated with extreme hoarders and greedy folks from a reality TV show. I also agree that the shelves are usually emptied before and during a sale. Hence why CVS has become more and more a better option for me with their rainchecks. However, that kills my hardwork at planning, my time, and my money to drive to these places. I can't name how many times I've done all the homework, got excited to hit a sale and then walked home empty handed or had to pay full price because I couldn't pull off my transactions according to plan.

I hate watching the show anymore because I get sick of seeing people make grocery stores out of their basements and turning their house into a literal bomb shelter of pasta. Dumpster diving for inserts and having an entire attic full of coupons - totally outrageous and I have no idea how all those coupons would not be expired. Anyway, the show is unrealistic because they allow those people to make those transactions for the publicity.

In the past couple months I've seen my stores have changed their polcies more and more. One won't let me do two transactions (so I can use more than 10 coupons per visit, not for same item but for an entire grocery cart worth of stuff - that's insane! Excuse me for wanting to save money on a small percentage of items I am buying!) and often cashiers call over managers as if they think I am an extreme couponer and I'm going to shake down the place. Really.

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53 PaulaT January 18, 2012 at 3:57 am

I guess I have to agree with what you say that using extreme couponing won't do good in cutting the budget. As a mom, this post has really helped me.

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54 April January 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

Just wanted to say its a wonderful thing to share what you have learned about saving, making money using coupons. The show inspired me at first then i became obsessed quickly before i knew it my stockpile reached 2 rooms needless to say i have had to back off and only go for deals my family uses I do donate :) and help many but it became overwhelming consuming every minuite of my mind and body and furthermore the deals seen on TLC are not the typical shopping trip and those coupons they use I AM SURE ARE NOT ALL FREE!!!!! so i agree I have stopped watching it encourages bad behavoir :(
But i love coupons and will contine but at a more sensible way :)
thank you for all your hard work putting everything together :)
WE LOVE YA :) XOXO

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55 Chad Laney January 30, 2012 at 12:18 am

I have very mixed emotions about the new show. For one I do not feel it is necessary to clear shelves just because you have the power. But on the other hand the stores allow it. Then that brings me back to they will not allow this for very long if it keeps happening in the extreme measures as it is and is givin to the public as it is. But I will not lie my mother is a Coupon-er and does very well at it but the show takes it to far.

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56 Jes January 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I like the show only because it did end up showing me how coupons CAN be utilized to save money. I have no intention of having a basement grocery store stockpile, but I have learned how to keep a modest stock of things I use most often and which will not go bad, like dishwasher detergent, cat litter, and diapers for my kids. So in that respect, EC has been a positive influence on me. My husband and I watch it and note how bad a lot of the food is that these people are purchasing. Microwavable high sodium Chow Mein noodles in every cart! YIKES!

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57 Melody August 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

And most of them are all fat because of it.

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58 Anne February 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I watched the show once and it encouraged me to start couponing. It's been two weeks now and I am still finding my way around - reading blogs here and there about couponing, even read books about it just so I know what to do. I still don't get it but I am understanding a little bit.
Do I want to go extreme like those on the show? NO WAY! However, as a stay at home mom whose husband is supporting three families, I do want to help out a little bit...even just the toiletries...every penny counts nowadays!
As a newbie couponer, do I want to learn from experts? Yes I do! but it does not mean I will be one of those who are emptying the shelves.
It's plain and it's simple - We all teach our kids to share, so if there is a good deal, don't grab it all. Leave some and don't be greedy.

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59 Hotrodroxie May 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Ditto! Totally sux! :/ they put the EXACT same coupon insert out for 2-3mos at a time here. And there ae no great or useful ones.
And there r most def ppl doing this in Ohio- I know cause EVERYTIME I'm dumpster diving in my akron area lol I see that I'm competing with someone else (in each dumpster I'm at)...their stacks of 20+insert leftovers r in there ):P
I'm trying, but I'm not very @all good yet lol. Got my first FREE item 2wks ago (all on my own :) lol very exciting! (2cliff bars ;P)

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60 Angel May 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I just found this site today...looking for coupon matchups to walmart. A new season of Extreme Couponing is going to be starting next week, season 3. I have to say that yes I will be watching the show only to learn any tips that I can since it was Extreme Couponing that got me started using coupons as of last November. We finally were able to get cable again after 2 years of living on a non-existant budget and I came across this show and was hooked with the idea of saving anywhere I can. I learned a lot from the shows and now I can save up to 50% on a very modest stockpile. We are a family of 5 living in a 700 sq. ft. two bedroom home -- so the idea of going extreme is not possible nor even considered. I barely have room for the 5 of us much less 400 rolls of paper towel. lol

I find the show entertaining even if over the top at times.

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61 Alex June 24, 2012 at 8:58 am

I like watching the show for entertainment & it gets me in the mood to clean out my coupons from my 1 maybe 2 news papers a week. I did see on 1 episode a college student using coupons to throw a party & I saw they were using this site. The show didn't show the top bar, but did show the side bar not noticing that the sales tag logo & the red name was there minus the last letter in mom.

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62 Barbara July 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I used to sell advertising at a television station. Now I am teaching how to coupon. Whether people hate or love(as I do) the show Extreme Couponing, you have shown on your website by all the comments sent to you tangible proof of how very many folks tune in to watch, and how carefully it is watched with such attention to the smallest details. If I was an advertiser, this is the show I would schedule my commercials on! It's truly a phenomenon!

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63 Rhonda Hall July 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Rainchecks! Always get rainchecks!!!! Most stores will allow you at least 5 items plenty of time to find more coupons.....

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64 Melody August 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm

There is no way those people can get that much for free! NO WAY! I am a stay-at-home mother of 5 and couponing is better than me working outside of the home. I do not stockpile; I give freely. I am not extreme but I rarely buy something without a coupon.

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65 RP December 4, 2012 at 10:40 am

I occasionally watch the extreme couponing show, but find that the items they buy will not be a healthy choice for my family. All the processed foods, that may taste good, are FULL of sodium that my husband can't eat and will be upset if they come into the house. I don't understand how someone can have 75 bottles of laundry detergent and still have the need to 'buy' more. Or have over 150 deodorants. I would change the name of their stockpile to hoard, be it organized or not, it is still excess and not healthy.

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66 Courtney January 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I will say that the show did get me to start couponing, but NOT to see how much I could get for free. I am a single mom and I never thought of couponing before so I wanted to see how much I could save on items that we actually use and need. I went shopping last week and saved $30 on a $70 bill and I was a little offended when the girl behind me jokingly called me an extreme couponer. I don't want that label when I go shopping for necessities
with a small amount of coupons! I don't try to
score 100 bottles of mustard for free and I
don't have toilet paper under my children's
beds! I have a small stockpile that would last us
about 6 weeks and then I don't buy anymore of
those items. I do buy multiple papers because most Grocery items are sold in sets of 2-4
(2for$5) (4for$10). My family is actually eating
healthier because of coupons! I never see
coupons for those disgusting noodles those
ladies hoard (thank God). I always get loads of
coupons for fruit, yogurt, cheese, veggie
burgers, oatmeal, milk ect. I will never stop couponing, it has become a money saving way of life but I will always correct someone that calls me an extreme couponer just because I use them

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67 kerri zurek April 14, 2013 at 7:48 am

I love the show. I don't understand a lot of how they do get all the good deals but I do. I am a couponer I love free stuff too. I have a family of 6. I have a stock pile and I also donate. My family and I donate to the homeless shelters and to people we know that need need it. Last year we donatedover 20,000 dollars. Donating baby and toys stuff we give it to the cancer wards at the hospitals. My 4 kids are understanding about the giving to people who need it. It has taught them that they better people for helping others. I believe that you can do coupons if you don't take and be greedy but it you share with others and take and use it ad a learning tool for others.

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68 michelle May 9, 2013 at 12:28 am

I have watched the show and got some really good ideas from it. With that said..I am far from an extreme couponer. I have mastered CVS but the grocery store is still a work in progress. So my strategy is I find key items on sale at my store which is usually only like 6 items in the whole ad that a coupon is made for it. I go on Ebay and order the coupons I need or use the 6 paper inserts from the Dollar tree. (I have a family of 5) . Like say 10 or 20 of them for that product. Waffles were on sale B1G1..I had 10 coupons for .75 off 2. It doubled and I paid 1.23 for both. If you buy 4 you get a instant 4.00 off your bill. So it was all freeish give or take a few cents. My store gets a truck every night. So I did a few transactions. I have 20 boxes of Eggo waffles. I bought them today and my teenagers have already gone through 2 boxes. So I don't feel guilty getting 20 boxes. That was the only item on sale this week that there was a coupon for that I needed. I bought meats, fruit, milk, eggs, butter, bread and some snacks. so I still spent money in the store. That is the bulk of my couponing at my grocery store.

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69 john May 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I've seen them buy 20 gallons of milk then go through checkout for 6 hours...what a waste.
Also with the frozen foods. In California no store will let you shop like they do, they actually give attitude and break out the reading glasses when more than 1 coupon is involved. I've had them deny me deals even when the policy says otherwise so that trick doesn't work either.
I do have a lot of body wash and toothpaste, that said, I need those things. :)
Also every store charges different prices, out here the CVS price in store is about $1 over the online price or what is shown on this site. So that factors into it all as well.
I think the objective is to get more value for your $, that is the goal. Whether it's peanut butter or toothpaste.

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70 john May 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm

P.S. I dont like the stigma either. Although I have no shame in buying my significant other makeup for cheap, sometimes I get "wows" or "thats amazing" when I get tax only deals with ECB back. So that feels good.

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71 Rosi June 15, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I need to learn couponing. Where in Columbus can I take a class as soon as possible? Help!

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72 TonyCA July 31, 2013 at 6:14 am

Agree!

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73 Wiktor Karczewski July 31, 2013 at 6:16 am

You're totally right - what a bad pracitce the are doing over there!

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74 Krystle August 2, 2013 at 12:31 am

Okay i well say this i do have a stock pile. For many reasons, I'm a stay at home mom my hubby works our choice, second is to help our families as my dad had a major heart surgery and couldn't work, and military as well as local food banks and helpingg family and friends out. Yes the show inspired me to use more coupons and also helped me to think of new ways to look for those great deals out there, but the show had changed the way Coupons can be used and how stores look at sometime who uses coupons.
I as a rule don't clear shelves because it drives me nuts when someone does it. I do price match allot at my local walmarts. If i know a sale is going to be happening before hand i call my local Walmart manager and they will order how ever much i need! All you have to know is the bar code number. I also try to plan my trips late at night so I'm not standing in line forever and i always let a csm know i have a large order or if I'm using a large amount if Coupons that way they can open another register so there isn't a line behind me. If i do go during the day i always let those behind me know i have a ton of Coupons our price matching that way they don't have to stand in that line and Get mad.

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75 Alley Cat News November 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I think your time may be better spent trying to make more money than save a few dollars. Instead of thinking how can I save $10 you should be thinking how can I make $100

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76 Annette September 1, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I love the show... I think it brings attention to couponing.. I look at it this way. If they can do THAT, I can go to the store and buy 3 of those. I dont need 100 of anything.. Besides, I dont have a place to put all that stuff. Its a made for tv show.. Every week trying to out due the week before.. People who dont understand that, probably watch cartoons... I am thrilled if I can save money... But I do get a kick out of that show.... Never saw it happen for real....

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