Extreme Couponing… would you do it?

For years my husband has been a diligent coupon clipper.  He remembers to bring them to the store and even MORE importantly, he takes the time to find them.

One of my friends found a Grocery Game that sends you to three different stores for the best deals of the week – since groceries go on sale in patterns. Chris worked at a grocery store in high school and college – so he is like a built-in-grocery-game.

I, on the other hand, need a friendly reminder to bring them. I don’t like taking time to clip them – I feel that my time is more valuable than that.

I also feel that MOST items you find coupons for are not the healthiest choice.  Processed food can be free, but that doesn’t mean I want to take it home and eat it.

It wasn’t until recently that Chris pointed out that “$10 a week pays for college.”

Huh, this is true – or at least it will help a LOT.

So my goal is to find at least $10 worth of coupons to use each week.

This is a far cry from the new rage: Extreme Couponing.  Have you seen TLC’s TV series?

They feature people who have massive stockpiles of items they only bring home because they have a coupon for it.

At first, watching this show is like watching a massive train-wreck. You can’t take your eyes off it.

I just can’t get over the fact that these people are hoarders of items they really don’t need or will ever use.

After thinking about it, I became a little mad that there are starving families out there that NEED food.  Luckily, TLC showed at least one lady donating 600 noodle bowls to a food pantry.

Still wrapping my mind around it, I realized these ladies reacted to a sudden change in their family income.  They openly admit spending over 30 hours a week prepping for their shopping trip. They aren’t just in this Extreme Couponing for the food. They want to feel like they are contributing. They are playing it like a gambler and winning: BIG.

While it is impressive to save 99% of your food bill, I can’t help but wonder how their addiction to couponing will snowball into something bigger? I hope they don’t pop the top on their house to make room for more food storage.

Coupon Information Corporation says that Extreme Couponing can also be called Coupon Fraud.

If extreme couponing continues to fly under the radar, there should at least be a rule about donating a certain percentage of it to food pantries.

What are your thoughts on Extreme Couponing?

Please leave a comment below & share with your friends. All comments await my moderation.

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valetdeals - May 31, 2011 - 9:26 am

It does take a lot of time even to save just $10 a week couponing. But, if you value those savings like we do, http://www.valetdeals.com can help because we do all the hard work for you. You tell us what kinds of printable grocery coupons you’re interested in once, and we scour the web for you delivering only what you want, all you have to do is print. Try it out, it’s free!

Heather - May 31, 2011 - 9:46 am

thanks, checking it out

Dorothy - May 31, 2011 - 10:03 am

Actually a LOT of the families that they show on there donate food or hba items to the military or pantries – they aren’t all being greedy. If I was able to do “extreme couponing” like they do on the show, I would. Stockpiles of shampoo, laundry soap, fabric softener, toilet paper, paper towels, etc will always be used and never go bad, so if you can get them for free, why not? If you don’t cloth diaper and plan to have more children.. wouldn’t a years supply of diapers save you a lot of money? And if they are free?! For some of them, the quantities they purchase are because they are “making” money on that item to be used for other fresh food items like dairy or meat… not because they are hoarders necessarily. I commend these women.. they save their families thousands of dollars, never have to worry about running out of certain items and can also extend that to help other family members or their communities.

Amy - May 31, 2011 - 10:19 am

I just watched that show for the first time this past weekend. I saw more often than not on the few shows that I watched that they were donating a lot of food and other items to charity but they all also had a huge stock pile of stuff for themselves. A few times I heard some of them say that they only buy stuff they will use. I am with you though – I think many of them are hoaders.

My mom is a couponer – she gets my 5 year old daughter to help her clip. She only clips coupons for items she uses often or new items is willing to try. She saves an average of $20 to $50 on each grocery trip thanks to coupons. She also has a stock pile of bathroom tissue, Pledge, paper towels and Campbells soups (plus more) in her pantry. None of which will ever go bad, all of which she will use eventually and has room for. (both cars are parked in her clean garage and nothing stocked on shelves in her bedroom lol)

I think it is great to clip coupons for items you WILL use – don’t buy things just because you have a coupon for it and if you are using more than one coupon per item because you took it out of your neighbors trash can you’ve probably crossed the line.

Courtney - May 31, 2011 - 10:31 am

I have never watched the show. We don’t cook. We dint eat at home. So we don’t grocery shop. However, a week ago I went to a free couponing class and learned A LOT!! I have gotten a very detailed grocery list from a friend. I am going to try couponing once or twice. I’m going to try cooking and eating at home! 🙂 It was recommended to us that we buy 2-3 Sunday Denver Posts to get coupons out of. One of the girls clips ALL the coupons and one of the girls only clips what she knows she’ll use. Because I too value my time more than to sit an clip coupons for 20 hours a week, I plan to clip the coupons I’ll actually use. BUT… I think if you do it right, you can quickly and easily save quite a bit of money on each shopping trip and not spend a whole day getting ready for it!

About the show… I’ve never heard anything good about it! I’ve heard they are hoarders. They buy and buy and buy (and yes, they save a lot) but they don’t even use or donate what they buy. They just save (hoard) it.

Having a stock pile is a good way to save. Buy quite a few while it’s cheap, don’t buy it when it’s not on sale. But logically… Buy what you’ll use before the next sale! Things do go on sale in a cycle. It’ll go on sale again. Don’t buy more than you’ll use… That just takes away from other people being able to buy that item who will use it.

I know, I don’t have a lot of room to talk, since I’m BRAND NEW to the world of couponing. But these are a couple things I learned. There’s an etiquette to it. Be polite! Take what you’ll use/donate! Don’t steal coupons! That kind of stuff. I’m excited to get started and give it a try. But I am almost certain that I will NEVER take it to an extreme!

Kasia - May 31, 2011 - 2:23 pm

great blog! This is crazy, though when it was looking like I might not get a job right out of school, I said I would stay home and become a coupon queen until I could find a job, so I understand their desire to contribute and make their job clipping coupons. HOWEVER, this just feeds into our excessive nature as Americans. My dad is always buying something because it’s on sale and one day he MIGHT need it. Then it never gets out of the box, or he doesn’t like it and never returns it, and it becomes part of the insane clutter. I think there is a happy medium to it all: like I always say “all things in moderation!” I, however, has a similar goal, Heather, to use more coupons in my weekly shopping on things I buy regularly so we can put more money in savings. My friends at work suggests taking advantage on online coupons and using them during case lot sales on things you use regularly. Also: are the coupons in the newspaper worth the cost of the subscription? what if you don’t read the newspaper? hm.

Courtney - June 1, 2011 - 10:57 pm

Kasia ~ From what they told us at our couponing class, yes, you get more than enough coupons to save the money that the paper subscriptions cost. ALSO, you can call the paper and ask what deals they can give you. Often they can give you some good deals on the subscription!

Another tip I just thought of and thought I’d mention it… Don’t be brand loyal… Unless you have to for allergy reasons, using different brands of items can save you a lot of money. Use what’s on sale.

Kasia - June 2, 2011 - 8:46 pm

Thanks Courtney- great info!

Amanda - June 4, 2011 - 10:06 pm

I coupon, but not in an “extreme way.” I am particular about eating healthy foods and will not buy Ramen Noodles for my family to eat, no matter what the sale (if they are free I might get them and donate them). I find deals on many healthy, natural, and even organic items!! I used to clip all the coupons and put them in a binder…and then I had a baby, lol. Now I keep my inserts in file folders in a box so that I can find them easily. Then I use sites like Denver Bargains (http://denverbargains.com/) to find the matchups for me (they will say, use this coupon from thid date’s insert). It takes me maybe a few hours a week and I do save a bunch of money. Here is a recent post on my blog about it: http://copingwithfrugality.blogspot.com/2011/05/not-so-extreme-couponing.html

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