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?
I agree with your article and I believe some people abuse couponing. But, I know some of the people on the show bought things they would normally not buy just so they could show how much they can save. Not everyone on the show buys that much each and every trip. I am sure some of them do but not all of them. A lot of it was for the shows purpose.
Totally agree that it was a lot for the show.
I did not watch the show last night but have seen a few episodes in the past. I remember thinking, “Wow, now that is what I want to accomplish.” In reality though, once I started doing the whole “coupon” thing, I realized that I don’t have the time or energy to run all over town to many different stores just to save some money on toothpaste, cleaners & paper products.
Sooo now I am working on the whole “sensible couponing”. Last night I went to FoodLion w/my binder of coupons, the store flyer and my grocery list. I spent $150 cash out of pocket to feed my family & pets sensibly for about 2 weeks. I saved $75 in coupons and my MVP card. To me, that is sensible and smart. I tried to stick to sale items, utilizing my coupons and getting only things I needed & wanted.
i didn’t see it. I will watch it soon. I have only been couponing for two years and had to slow down. I wasn’t even that good. I now am ready to start again, but at an even slower pace than before. I agree, I don’t need 50 of this or that. I buy what i need. Family time is what i want to spend my time on more.
I watched the show last night and I don’t know about anyone else but I dont want to spend 5 hours in the grocery store especially to get 50 bottles of mustard and a basketfull of toothbrushes. I use coupons to help to reduce my grocery bill for items that I use all the time.
Mabey I’m a little paranoid, but I worry that this will eventually effect us in some strange way. That there will be more limitations at the stores, or manufacturers somehow restricting coupons. The show promotes that kind of hoarding behavior and no one is showing how to do it in moderation.
I didn’t see your comment before I had posted. It’s nice to see there are others thinking about the same issues.
I think it already has. Just look at how many coupons say $x/2 instead of $x/1 like the Tide used to. I think hoarders give couponers a bad name.
I completely agree Barbara
I agree, Barb. Some of the coupons have become more restrictive as to product size or type (liquid Tide instead of “any” Tide) as well. In addition, some of the stores are no longer stacking coupons (like Food Lion) and Kroger in Houston is no longer doubling (hopefully only as a test that does not work out!). I only watched the first show (the one with Mr. Coupon from WUC) and figured out immediately that it was not the reality I’m familiar with and that it was staged and edited for maximum effect. I will not watch any future episodes. : (
I didn’t watch the show last night but watched one a few weeks ago, and was also appalled at the greed. We are already seeing the affects of it in our hometown. Our local grocery store has stopped doubling coupons and many other stores I shop at are changing their coupon policies. Some of stopped stacking and so on. I believe it is in direct relation to this tv show. I think it puts couponing in a very bad light. When I first started couponing, everyone was so nice about accepting them. Now when I pull them out, I get a haughty sigh. Most of us couponers are average people trying to save money, not hoarders. They should do a show highlighting the average shopper, but of course, that wouldn’t get the ratings now would it?
Amen. I went to Wal-Mart Sat. I had a coupon from Coke, from their website mycokerewards.com, for a free 20 oz bottle. They, Wal-Mart (Lancaster, Oh). , do not redeem free coupons anymore. And I also had a couple other legitimate coupons refused. I inquired at check out customer service desk they said the coupon policies are changing and getting stricter. And more new policies will be coming out. They said that the extremists are ruining it for all.
i agree extreme coupon are ruining for us…normal people…
It is July 5 and I just read your post. How right you were/are!! I consider myself to be very frugal but many of these people are just simply greedy. I live in a rural area and all of our local stores are now limiting sales and coupons.
I always have stocked up on what ever is on sale for the week. My family strangely eats a lot of mustard. But I can not imagine the woman with the buggie load of mustard will ever use it. They do say mustard does not go bad but I can not imagine wanting to eat mustard that is ten years old. Any way after my rambling, just wanted to say great post even if I am three months late.
I have high concerns about this kind of coupon use. I truly believe it’s going to start limiting what kind of coupons are going to be in the papers and how you are going to be able to use them at the grocery stores. We are a coupon using family of six, but we do not buy things we do not use and we do not over buy. I think it’s already been said but it’s very frustrating to go to a sale and find that one person has come through and cleared the shelf. We watched the special when they first came out with the coupon experts and it’s not a bad thing to learn how to use coupons, but it’s silly and selfish to have a overage of stuff that you will never use. I’m curious if in some cases this does not lead to hoarding?
Great minds think alike, Barara!
One of the things that really has me confused about the show is how is that even possible?? I mainly shop at one grocery store. Their coupon policy only allows 12 of the same coupon. The other local store in my area says they have a right to limit the amount of sales items you can buy. Im totally cool with that and think thats understandable. My point is how the heck are they buying 20 of anything, let alone 60 or 100? Are other stores coupon policies like a free for all? It just has me wondering how much of this show is bull.
I have just started doing this, but so far, I have only purchased about 4 items at a time & it worked.
I have found out that K Mart offers double coupon deals in their main sales ad. The cashier told me that they offer double coupons up to $2.00 which means $4.00 off. Just watch the ads. Also, u can learn more by simply going to You tube & watching the videos.
I feel the same as many of you here, this is excessive and seems like hoarding. I also noticed during these shows that most of these people order extra newpapers or order coupons from coupon clipping sites however, I did NOT see that calculated into the savings/spending totals! Also not one of them explained how they rotate their stockpile and donate or account for the amount of $ the loose each month due to expirations! I am willing to bet that if they total all of this information into their bottom line, they are not saving any more than those of us who are “NORMAL” couponers!
I feel like the negative comments on extreme couponing, indicates that these people have too much time on their hands! C’mon, really. Do you really care about how somebody else shops?
I do. Their actions are what I believe has caused many stores to change their coupon policy and many of the coupons I used to see for $1.00 or more, now are only .35. Don’t think for one second manufacturers aren’t watching these shows too.
So in answer to your questions, if it affects me, I do care how other people shop.
When this kind of extreme behavior is magnified by the media, then it does trickle down to those of us who use coupons to save money on what we really need. The amount of time they spend planning, shopping and stockpiling is irrelevant…the amount of money I save in the future is relevant…especially if it is decreased because of a store breaking their own policies (both sale item count and coupon use) for the sake of a television show and an attention-seeking shopper yielding to the demands of producers to “clear the shelf” of even pre-ordered items. This gives us all a bad name and will only get worse.
I watched about 3 episodes last night. I was excited at first to see how they do it. And I wanted to see where they were from. Then the guy that bought the 1100 boxes of Total cereal. Maybe it was just my hearing, but they kept saying free, free, free, then in the end he paid 100 for them. Now, I understand that he is giving most of them to the food bank, but something about it didn’t feel honest to me. Then there was the lady who had to make herself look good to go shopping. I guess it’s because when I go I want to get in and out, but I guess if you want to put on a show, you might as well look all made up. And then the lady who kept calling her kids a litter. Oh, that really disgusted me. And then she takes her kids space to “store” her 1000 rolls of toilet paper that her son has no clue about with a smirk on her face, and if she and her husband bought the same items with the same coupons, why was his more? Just so she’d look superior to him? I’m sorry if I gave a lot of spoilers away. These people are borderline obsessed and need help. And watching this show I realized I was becoming like them, couponing, not hoarding. I look through sales flyers, then at coupons to see what I can get cheap this week whether or not the items are needed. For the first time in history, my husband has 3 bottles of bodywash. All to himself and I have 2. That is about 5 more than we usually keep in the house.
Now I will say, I do like to try new things and if a coupons value makes an item free (or close to it), I will try it.
Sorry for the rant.
Yes, the LITTER of children bothered me too. We have 5 (soon to be 6 children) and I would never say I had a litter…sigh.
I think manufacturers and stores are going to make changes to coupon usage soon because it does affect their bottom lines. They see consumers have found loop holes. But perhaps they’ve already taken this into account as food prices have jumped recently.
The people on this show are not admirable- they are buying just for the sake of buying. No one can use 75 bottles of mustard.
And… has anyone else been experiencing an increase in the scrutinizing of coupons and purchases? I’ve had clerks pawing thru the bags to make sure I bought what the coupon said even though the coupon scanned, questioning the use of the coupon, and refusal to honor a legitimately-used coupon like I’m a thief!
You raise very good points about the danger of taking anything to the extreme, and avoiding buying products just for the sake of buying them. I was honestly relieved to find out that not every coupon-goer is so TLC-“Extreme.” If it’s alright, I would like to mention some of the good points you brought up and link back to this article in a post I am writing.
Thank you and keep up the wonderful site!
Nice post — thanks for the mention!
Thanks for saying this…this show is a joke. My friends tell me this show is for me and I have already seen an episode and cringed at every segment. This show is a total exaggeration and it ignores store policies for the sake of a TV program. Total stretch!!
First I would like to thank you for all the hard work you put into helping the rest of us save money. I agree with what you said. I get extra papers from my neighbor keep a few and share the rest. I believe in shopping for what I need stocking some things that my family needs. I will try some new products if it is free, which has proven to be worth it. And it is very disappointing when I hear someone clearing the shelves, even if it is being donated the opportunity for others to get a good deal is no longer an option! Are these people donating for a good cause or so they feel good?
Glad to “hear” you say this… I appreciate a more moderate approach to couponing as long as it doesn’t replace a diet of fresh fruits/veggies and lean proteins. Would love to have you comment on an article I wrote about TLC’s version!
I watch the show last night also and I don’t see how the supermarkets allowed one person to use all those coupons. Alot of times you can only use a limited amount of coupons on products. Plus the cashiers do look over the coupons. I am not sure if I will watch next week but just out of curiousity I might. I think in the end it will be boring..
watching that show makes me mad! i have only seen one person donate his things to the food pantry but everybody elese just hog the stuff! whatever free stuff i dont use i donate to the food pantry!
Did anyone else find it interesting how many commercials plugging their “hoarding” show there was :) I was also really disappointed that only one person talked about donating the Total cereal…ok good for him…but what the some of the 300 toothbrushes he just had to have? Get a grip people! Also…who has 2+ hours to stand in a checkout line!!!
For a while, I was a Coupon Queen with a very organized system for filing my coupons. Sometimes I would buy extra Sunday papers for the coupon inserts. But then I moved. And I started to notice that I wasn’t saving big bucks with coupons any more. I came up with a few explanations for this:
1. By checking online, I discovered that the sales circulars for major grocery and pharmacy chains do not always contain the same items or the same sale price.
2. In my new town, sometimes the items for which I wanted to combine a sale and a coupon were out of stock. I suspect that this happened a lot because some people redeemed huge amounts of coupons and bought up all the stock. Not nice! And how much did it cost them to get the coupons to do that, anyway?
3. The amounts on the coupons themselves vary by region of the country. My friends in other areas were getting higher value coupons than I was!
4. I’d pull out all my high value coupons for double or triple coupon days only to find out that many of the items were not carried at the store, or that the price of the item even after double or triple the coupon value was taken off didn’t equal the price of a generic at that store or elsewhere.
5. I figured out that I could often make the couponed item for much less from scratch (and without preservatives) or that I could get it cheaper if I bought in bulk at a warehouse store.
6. When I bought the Sunday paper in my new town, all the inserts weren’t always there. And I couldn’t get Sunday-only delivery of the paper. Since I was no longer reading newspapers, it didn’t seem right to waste all that paper just to get coupons.
7. I was spending several hours a week cutting and organizing coupons and throwing out the expired ones. I did try Coupon Mom’s system and found it helpful in avoiding having to cut and organize coupons, but sometimes the coupon values and sale prices weren’t the same in my town as they were in hers.
Have I completely stopped using coupons? No. But most of my coupons are printed out from online sources now, and I only print the coupons which I think I might use.
I agree with you with why couponing is different. I also found that you don’t get the coupons that you use to instead you get inserts for items to buy mail order and also I found that one coupon that you use to get would be say a $1 off one item now is $1 off 2 or 3 of that same item. I’m with you I like printing the coupons that you can really use, but around me I can only use them at certain stores mainly big chain stores like Wal-Mart, but I need to plan those trips. Couponing has changed in the pass couple of years. I’m really hoping that people around here don’t go extreme couponing I don’t think I could handle it. Thank you for share your opinion.
I agree with deal seeking mom. I buy what I use. I have enough shampoo, body wash, etc of this type to last the rest of this year. If it is exactly free I may buy more. For the person who has a 3 year supply, I think she needs to stop shopping totally for 2 years. I cannot see how she will use all that stuff before the expiration dates. Plus how they say that paper towel is always free, it is not in my area. Few stores here in CA double coupons and then a limited amount. Most stores here do not double any coupons and they still limit number of coupons. I can’t believe any store in my area would even let me use that many coupons at one time. Some stores get all mixed up and get them wrong with my small piles of coupons. I prefer buying small quantities so I can watch them.
I sure hope they were buying some of that just to make the show more exciting, otherwise I feel sorry for the guy that does not like mustard but now has a stockpile of 70 bottles! I like the guy that got all that cereal for a local food pantry, 1100 boxes! That will feed a lot of people. But where did he get 1100 coupons for the cereal?? How much did he pay to get those coupons? Just wondering.
I do coupon and get a lot of stuff for free or 70-90% off, mostly toiletries, cleaners and such. I keep a modest stockpile on hand and donate the rest to several shelters in my area. I mostly use coupons from my Sunday paper, sometimes I will get a second paper if the deals are good. But how do these people get 100’s or 1000’s of each coupon??
I am slowy building up a stockpile of food, I hope to have six months on hand soon. I am doing this for a couple of reasons. First is as part of a survival plan, I am not a crazy loon, just decided I could be better prepared. The second reason is the rising cost of goods. We have all seen how oil prices are going up and now food and other goods are beginning to rise in price as the inflation rate rises. I have the room in my home to store some things so buying it at a lower price today is a hedge against inflation. The third reason is that my husband nearly lost his job last year and it was really touch and go for a while. I realized that having a modest store of food would be beneficial for times like these. Lastly, I have two college age sons who don’t have the time or desire to coupon. Since we are still paying their expenses, I would rather they get stuff from my stash than pay full price. When they come home for a weekend they stock up on food, toiletries, cleaners etc. for themselves and their room mates.
We eat a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy etc and very little processed food. I will buy packaged foods for food pantries, since that is what they can store. By getting my cleaners, toiletries, and household items free or cheap allows me to spend more on the fresh food we love to eat.
I guess I agree with most of what has been said here. The people featured in the show were over the top, but if that is what they want to do, so be it. The bottom line for me is that Couponing does not have to be extreme to be fun and cost saving.
I keep wondering why they do not have to pay sales tax on any thing. In my state food items are tax free but any thing else is taxed. I feel like most of the rest of the comments. I don’t know why any one would want so much of one thing.
Wow… I so feel the same way you all do. I have a modest stockpile. I get stuff on sale and I try to use a coupon when that sale is happening. I try to only get enough until the sale happens again. I also give some of that stockpile away to people less fortunate than ourselves. We live on a very modest budget. After being diagnosed with cancer, even the medical bills after insurance is mountainous — therefore, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE coupons. I consider myself lucky. I still have a job and have a wonderful husband who loves my couponing addiction. There is so much coupon fraud and was just reading an article by another famous coupon blogger that visualized coupon fraud on that show. GRRRR!! I’m an honest couponer. I only use coupons on those items it states. I don’t want people to think that all couponers commit fraud. Fraud is a crime. I’m no criminal. I’m just a mom trying to do what’s best for her family; like most of us are. :)
I want to thank you for bringing me back to reality. I am a stay at home mom on the verge of having to go back to work because health insurance sky rocketed, gas is heading towards $4/gal and the ecomomy has not turned around. I have watched Extreme Couponing in an attempt gain tips. Yet each time I go to the store, I find that my couponing has failed me. I find myself in tears of utter frustration (silly to a degree I know) because I just can’t seem to figure this money saving task out.
Reality is, I have young children. I feed them fresh fruits and vegetables and healhy meals. As you stated, these items often are not often featured on the show. Beyond that, living in the Northwest, there are very few opportunities to double coupon as stores around here do not offer this. Doubler coupons come now and again in the newspaper limiting you by dollar amount and quantity.
Also I’m finding that Walmart (only ten minutes away) has generic products that often end up cheaper than the super coupon deals for the name brands combined with the travel expenses to venture out further to seek them at compeditor stores. (Perhaps the downfall to living in a smaller town)
I am still learning and surely can do better with my couponing, but it’s nice to know that I am on the right track. Thank you again.
Well said!!! I’m a house husband with pretty much a grown family,so alot of the couponing deals don’t work for us.Also we live on the coast in a small town. To get the deals we must drive 70 miles to the “big city”. We make our trips count and do take advantage of stocking up on the products we regularly use. I also take advantage of mail order. My wife has a wheat alergy so alot of the pasta and cake mixes don’t work for us!
the stores where i live wont double anything over $0.50 and have a limit of 3 like coupons being used in a shopping trip. these ladies have stacks of the same coupon would they still hoard items if they had to go 10 or more times to store more stores should have these guidelines to avoid people from buying everything so others cant get it
I watched the show and was flabbergasted! Where were all the cranky cashiers and beeps? I will not be watching it again.
I have been couponing for a few years now and I do get some items free but have never purchased items in those quantities. I have given coupons to fellow shoppers, esp if I see see something in their cart that I have a coupon for & I know I won’t use it. “Sharing the love” :)
I don’t understand how the show is able to promote Extreme Couponing as reality TV? Looks more like a shopping addiction to me.
I totally agree with you. I think this show will greatly affect the way “Normal” coupon shoppers are able to shop in the future.This show is totally unrealistic to me. I’m with Rachell where is the cranky eye rolling cashiers? Why isn’t the cash register beeping and the cashier digging back through the bag to make sure you have purchased the correct product and quantity? Also I saw one family purchased meat but only paid $5.00 for one order and 39.00 for the other. Where is the meat coupons coming from? I have had store coupons for meat but never in my 12 years of using coupons have I ever seen any where you can get packages of steak for free. This show to me was very disrespectful to the stores policy and also to your fellow shoppers. It’s awesome to get great deals but let others take part in this as well. Be a courteous shopper don’t clear the shelf. Do you really need 70 bottles mustard and still take 3 to 4 shopping trips a week? Unless you are shopping for a food bank or homeless shelter I say take enough for the month and keep it moving.
I believe she was getting the meat for free because she had overage from another item to cover it. (Probably an item she won’t even use! LOL)
I do coupons. And do enjoy getting the discounts and the occasional free items,,, but I think some of this has gotten out of hand. If someone is getting coupons legitimately, ok,,, but I think many are being taken from others, who do want them! or manufactured. I live in a rural area and the coupons are placed in the add bag on the mail box by the road. You used to be able to get yours, and maybe your neighbors, for they didn’t want them. But now, someone goes down the road after they have been hung out and takes them off all the mailboxes. Is this thievery? Or hoggery ? And if that woman on that extreme show has 2200 coupon inserts, where did she get them? Are people not distributing them as they are to be? the person who delivers the bag or the newspapers does not place the coupons in as they are supposed to and keeps them for themselves? Again, thievery or hoggery ? I get so frustrated that this has gone from just saving some money in the grocery store, to a frenzy business. The extremers “rob” the store shelves from everyone else. Ya know, I would like some toilet paper too, but it is gone, all over town. Now that is HOGGERY ! I would like some box stuffing too, but it was gone, in the ten stores I went to between my place of work and home. What if the little guy working all week and just wants to save a little money on the weekly grocery bill? I can’t compete. I guess I will have to buy my coupons off of E-Bay. And that is a whole other discussion. The stores are changing policies, now. I have had several situations in the last week that have changed and affected my couponing. As I said in a reply here, the local Wal-Mart does not redeem free coupons anymore. And they are stricter now on the redeeming of coupons in general. I just had the cashier take off what they wouldn’t comply on and went to Meijer, no problem there. But it is embarrassing to me and makes me look like someone frauding coupons. Holds up the line and frustrates everyone. This is all getting really bad. Remember when a coupon could be used on any item as long as it was that brand, and it had “ no expiration” as the expiration date? Yeah, things of the past. I predict that in five years, or less, there will be no more couponing. The bad apples will have ruined it for all. Stores will go to accepting electronic coupons only, if any at all. Kroger has forwarded with this idea, and that limits one coupon per shopper card, one shopper card per order, or cell phone number like Meijer is doing. There will be no back button print twice coupons, or 2200 coupon inserts. This extreme couponing show only will bring about change sooner than later. That show is making a mockery out of what the majority of the public is doing, and by showing the extremists will only bring changes in many policies governing coupon usage about quicker. CRAZY!
I watched an episode of the show and got really upset at the mentality of the shoppers. They are really pretty selfish overall. It made me angry to see them go in and “wipe out” the shelf and just laugh about it. I have been on the receiving end of that many, many times as I am sure many of you have. That leaves no product for anyone else to buy. There are so many of us out here trying to use coupons to stretch our budgets and when we get to the stores, there is nothing left! Also, who could possibly eat all that food that they have hoarded? It’s just going to go bad and get thrown out. What a waste! AT LEAST donate it to a food bank! I really think that these extreme couponers have a mental problem (not to be mean, I am serious) and they have hoarding problems and need some help. I don’t want people to associate me with them.