I’ll be honest with you. I watch Extreme Couponing for entertainment purposes. It’s clear that some of the shoppers are taking a coupon too far. Don’t get me wrong, couponing is fun. Saving money is exciting. But clearing the shelves, spending hundreds of dollars on coupons and coupon misuse are not. This will ruin couponing for everyone. I will tell you right now that it isn’t always possible to get 300 free jars of peanut butter or to even bring your $3,000 grocery bill down to $28.00. It is unrealistic.
Let’s start with Episode 1. One woman spends about 10 hours of her day on the computer. She is either ordering coupons, making a shopping list, finding deals or printing coupons herself. She claims to spend at least $80 on coupons needed for her shopping trips each week. So right there, her total at the grocery store may be $30, but add the $80 to it = over $100. TLC doesn’t add that in when they show her final spending amount. They lead you to believe that she only spent $30. In this episode, we also have a purchase of 150 candy bars? Do you really need 150 candy bars in your house? Even if they are free? We see someone purchasing numerous amounts of pasta and even more pasta sauce. Rediculious. I mean, if your stockpile is worth $30,000 and you are still adding to it, when is enough enough? (I’ll tell you about my stockpile later.)
I think it was at this point I turned the channel. (But kept DVR’ing.) I did go back and watch the man who donated a ton of cereal to charity. High five, man!
Extreme Couponing recently aired a new series last week.
While I did see one or two women/men who adhered to the store policy, left products on the shelves, had great all-around shopping trips, etc. there were a few that should have never made it on the show. We also find out (through online research) that some of the stores in the show have pre-arranged to allow every coupon to go through the system, to focus on the “extreme”. I don’t know a store that will double 75 like coupons. The system is not set up for that, but the cashiers are.
There is one lady on the most recent episode (J’amie) who obviously committed coupon fraud through her shopping trip. We’re talking BIG time coupon fraud. She used coupons for the wrong products. While it was an awesome total to show on tv, it is still coupon fraud. Some of you may be thinking, “Huh? What did she do?” My answer, “Where do I start?”
On J’aime’s shopping trip, we see her purchasing lots of single cups of Yoplait Yogurt. These sell for about $0.40 each. At the checkout, she is shown using coupons for the 4-packs of Yoplait Yo-Plus Yogurt, which sell for more. So in this instance, she paid $0.40 for each yogurt, used coupons that doubled to $1.00 off, and gained $0.60 each. (Normally Yoplait issues a coupon for $0.60 off of the purchase of 8 yogurts, never $0.50 off one.) She purchased smaller packages of Budding Deli meats, priced at $0.89 each, but used the coupons that were intended for the larger packages, priced at about $4.00 each. (There are specifications on the coupon that she did not honor.)
While I doubt that TLC knew what she was doing, J’aime knew. Her shopping list proves this to me, not to mention she looked nervous on Good Morning America and even more nervous at checkout. She was being showcased while committing fraud.
I could go on and on about what was wrong with her shopping trip. But she is not the reason for this post. I am not going to bash her, nor will I give her name more attention. What she did was illegal, and that’s that.
Now, let’s talk about what I think TLC should show you. They should focus on coupons, and how customers can use them. We all know a coupon is a piece of paper, but it’s more than that. How can you save like they do on the show? Instead of telling you that you can’t, let me put a few facts out there:
– each newspaper comes with one, two or three different coupon inserts. You can buy more newspapers and ask your friends and family to save them for you. Whatever you choose, there’s probably no way that the average person will collect 1000+ coupon inserts. At most, you may have 50. If that. Each week, I have 4 or 5. (Unless it’s a really good week.) What does that mean? It means that for every insert, you will have that many items to save money on. I get 4 inserts this week, I can purchase 4 boxes of pasta for $0.02 each. The likely hood of you netting 1000+ boxes of pasta at that price are slim. Very slim.
– Many stores limit the amount of like coupons that can be doubled or tripled. For the show, some stores are making exceptions to their policies. Don’t think that because you saw someone on the show double the same coupon 75 times that you can go in and do it, too. You will be disappointed. Lots of stores are being stricter with their coupon policies. It will only get worse with coupon abuse.
Keep in mind that the show is extreme! I can go to the store and purchase 100 items total, and still save 70-90%. I don’t have to have 4 carts full to get the same result. If you go to the store and save even 40%, it’s better than saving nothing, right? Don’t get discouraged.
But you want to have a stockpile. I only purchase items we need, and only those my family will use. When the price is right, I stock up.
Let me tell you about 10 random items in my stockpile, so you can get an idea of what I have on hand:
– 9 hand soaps
– 12 toothbrushes
– 26 bottles of laundry detergent
– 8 deodorants
– 10 bottles of children’s bath soap/lotion
– 14 Scrubbing Bubbles Products
– 8 cases of bottled water
– 11 boxes of cereal
– 16 Glade Products
– 7 boxes/bags of pasta
*When times get desperate, we will eat cereal and water with un-cooked pasta. We will have clean teeth, clothes, bodies and toilets. 😉
While my stockpile may not be ‘extreme’, I am a regular person who has learned to stretch the value of every dollar that I spend.
….And when TLC runs a special on teaching others to coupon, I’ll apply to be on the show.