Extreme Couponing

Last night I caught the new show Extreme Couponing on TLC and all I can say is wow! I commend these women for the time and dedication they put forth to save so much money (do not quote me, but one shopper bought $680 worth of groceries for $6)! Her monthly grocery budget is $160 for her family of 6! Incredible! I spend more than that in one week at Whole Foods.

While I think it is simply genius how they plan every item they will purchase, which days to shop for double coupons and store incentives, and how in some instances they are paid to take items out of the store, I still have a few concerns.

  1. Some of these families have such a huge stockpile of food and products that I don’t see how they can utilize everything before the expiration dates.
  2. Extreme couponing almost seems like an obsession. One man said he didn’t like mustard, yet his wife still purchased a dozen? Another woman purchased over 30 bottles of antiacid. “Extreme” is definitely the correct term.
  3. If you live a lifestyle in which organic and natural products (minimally processed foods) are what you predominantly feed your family, then extreme couponing will not work. I cannot tell you how many packs of hot dogs I saw inside these shoppers refrigerators! Then, one extreme couponer ran out of places to store her purchases so her master bedroom closet now holds her food stockpile as well as her clothing (there were over 30 boxes of sugary filled cereal above her wardrobe).
  4. Insisting the cashier ring up 18 separate transactions just to receive an additional savings does not seem appropriate. Neither does holding up a line so you can call friends and beg them to drive to the grocery store and stand in for you, so you can receive $10 off of each $50 transaction (one incentive per person).
  5. I’m wondering if this show will cause an increase in coupon usage. Grocery stores may need to designate certain aisles for extreme couponers so it does not disrupt their flow.

Again, I’m not trying to be a hater because I think it is amazing how much homework these families have done in advance. The savings is insane. In this economy, we have all felt pressure and this is a prime example of adaptation. I am simply pointing out that this may be an unhealthy obsession.

I clip coupons for items that my family regularly uses, not because something is on sale and I can either get it for free or stockpile my pantry. You won’t see me sifting through dumpsters to grab coupons that stores have thrown out.

Do you use coupons? What is the most you have ever saved in one transaction? What did you think about the show? I’m curious to hear other opinions.

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