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Home » Frugality, Lifestyle Finance, Live

Extreme Couponing: Is it Worth it?

Last updated by on January 6, 2014

Extreme couponing, for better or worse, has now become mainstream.

TLC has launched a full 12-episode series, Extreme Couponing, based on the success of a premiere feature they ran on extreme coupon tactics back in December – which had an amazing 2.1 million viewers tune in to show their interest in the practice.

Some of the video content shows extreme couponers raking in $640 worth of goods for $6.43 and even $870 for FREE. Amazing!

The Benefits of Extreme Couponing

extreme couponingThere are no doubt, benefits that can be achieved from extreme coupon tactics. To get $870 worth of product for absolutely nothing speaks for itself.

It gives those who don’t have much to do with their time an outlet for creativity. There is a definite art-form in getting that much product for free. It takes planning, skill, hard work, strategy, and some luck.

And I get the whole ‘beating the system’ appeal to extreme couponing as well.

But there are some significant costs to extreme couponing that would lead to me never doing it, which I’d like to highlight.

Why I’m Not a Fan of Extreme Couponing

I’m sorry, but I do not like extreme couponing, and I have some reasons why:

  • Zero Societal Contribution: More than anything else, I do not see the societal value in extreme couponing. Those who spend 6-8 hours per day trying to reap rewards at the expense of others, could be contributing in a much more positive way to society. The savings that they enjoy are subsidized by a net increase in costs to others. That free stuff has to come from somewhere. Instead of spending 6-8 hours a day working very hard to get free things from others, why not spend that time making money doing something positive in the world instead of being a leech?
  • Time: In order to enjoy the types of savings extreme couponers do, you have to spend a hell of a lot of time at it. People have quit (or refused to find) jobs so that they can spend their time doing this. It takes a lot of effort and work. It’s not work that I’d personally want to spend my time on.
  • Questionable Ethics: In order to be one of the pros, you have to do some questionable things. One video depicted a woman dumpster diving for coupon inserts and I’ve heard another tactic is to steal inserts from neighbors Sunday paper’s. And even if you attain your coupons in ethical ways you have to be comfortable in knowing that you’re completely taking advantage of the brands and retailers.
  • Crappy Product: One episode depicted a man who gave away all the free product he received to charity. That’s cool. But it’s also a rarity. Others simply stockpile and hoard product in their basements or garages. Scanning the stockpiled shelves of these extreme couponers, I noticed something. Everything on those shelves is mainstream name brand product: Coke, Pepsi, Crest, Tide, Ragu, etc. It’s stuff that I personally don’t buy and would not use. And if you were to use all that product and try to live off of it, you’d probably die of a heart attack or cancer in a few years. I think I’ll take a pass on that.
  • Addiction: In order to be really good at extreme couponing, you almost have to be addicted to it. And unlike an athletic hobby or cooking or something productive, I can’t see it as being a healthy addiction.

What is your Take on Extreme Couponing?

  • You know how I feel about it, but how do you feel? Do you approve or like these extreme strategies?
  • Have you ever tried extreme couponing? What is the most product you’ve received for the lowest price? What was the time investment/strategy needed to get that?
  • Take the poll on whether you are in favor of extreme couponing or not!

Are you philisophically in favor of or against 'extreme couponing'?

View Results

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 10,000+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • I think you nailed this one G.E. Those are some great reasons to not like extreme couponing!

    I would never consider extreme couponing because it takes way too much time and the tactics are questionable at best.

  • Julie says:

    G.E., can you please explain how you are harming others by using coupons?

    I do agree with your other points, I’m just confused about how a manufacturers coupon, which was indeed intended for use, is hurting anyone.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Someone is paying for it. Products are not manufactured out of thin air. Whether it’s the company passing on the added cost of subsidizing free product for people by increasing their prices or cutting their profit margins (hurting shareholders), someone pays for all that free stuff. If everyone was an extreme couponer, our entire economy would be destroyed.

      • CCP says:

        Supermarkets and other stores receive kickbacks from the vendors of the products. It’s not immoral to use coupons, eliminating coupons would not lead to dramatic price drops. Vendors provide a minimal reduction on large profit margins. Extreme is rarely a good way to go about anything and “Extreme Couponing” is a reality television show, so it’s amped up and dramatized for ratings. It is entirely possible to combine coupons and in store sales to reduce your grocery bill on foods you would eat anyway,not spend 40 hours a week doing it, and be a productive member of society. I do it, no I’ve never bought $600 worth of stuff for 2 bucks, I do not have huge hoarder stashes of foods and products taking over my home , and I’m a triathlete and I work full time so eating junk food doesn’t really cut it in my lifestyle. I save about 40-60% on my grocery bill with a couple hours per week of planning which includes figuring out a menu of what I’m going to cook. I think it’s possible to see the positives of using coupons without writing them off all together.

        • Sophisticated Saver says:

          Refreshing comment…I have been the recipient over the years and if feels great to give my Uncle a Diabetes Monitor just for taking out my time to clip the coupon. I feel proud of myself for taking on this journey and every true “Extreme Couponer” is first a giver at heart.

      • Mike says:

        That is just ridiculous, do you think that these companies that manufactured this product don’t know the exact cost of production for each individual item sold? They have a profit margin for just this sort of event. It gets their product out into the masses so even if they have not tried it, they have heard of it or seen their name or logo somewhere. By selling more of their product to people who already like it and want to get something for free or for sale and to people who have never tried but will because they are getting a good deal, they also put more people to work to make it, advertise it, deliver it, stock it on shelves etc…

      • marty mcfly says:

        I dont agree with alot of stuff written in this article but some points are valid. I dont think extreme couponing is healthy but “Couponing” in general helps save money. So if i could get 5 mouthwashes for damn near nothing of course im going to jump at that deal. Now 50 mouthwashes is just plain crazy.

  • Mary says:

    I can totally see your side of extreme couponing. Since the begning of the year, I have been reading, studying and learning how to start the process. May was my launch date, so I’m very new at it.

    I have had a full-time job for 4 years (since graduating college) and the pay is simply awful. However, I do something meaningful and am lucky enough to have had a job when many were struggling. That being said, I have student loans on top of extensive dental expenses and just trying to live off of a very tight budget.

    I’m unsure if you would call it extreme, however I’m trying to get things for nothing (just not 300 of the same thing) because I want to take the money I saved and apply that to my more than 85k in loans. And with whatever is “left over” is going to save up for my long term goal of getting a house with my roomate in 5 years!

    Anything that I can get for free that I wouldnt use, I have been sharing with my friends, family, and coworkers who can use it. Am I “cheating” the system – maybe. Their system however was set up for people to save money on loss leader items in hopes that they purchase other stuff. Companies are aware people are using it, and some companies even promote it liek Rite Aid and CVS. I must say that if all Companies & Brands did not want this to happen, they wouldn’t let it happen. And maybe that is what we will see in the future. Before couponing, I never even purchased a non-generic item.

    So for now I’m going to work the system, and later they just might turn me into a brand advocate!

    • Grace says:

      I wouldn’t think you are extreme. Extreme seems to be the type of couponing that’s done more as a hobby or compulsion (for some) rather than a necessity. The couponing may have started out of necessity but has gotten to the point where people are using coupons just for the sake of getting something for free/cheap. I love coupons because we’re living on a single income & need any extra $ for emergency savings and paying off debt. We can only really use the non-food coupons since the food ones are usually junk. I don’t think there’s anything inherently immoral about using a coupon if you didn’t steal it.

    • Mike says:

      Right on bro, well said. Not much to add, I just watched some show on a channel I don’t know because it doesn’t have UFC on it. lol My wife were lying in bed watching tv before we fell asleep and I saw the “Extreme Couponing” show. I thought if this person is spending 4-8 hours a day doing this, they do have a job, their reward for doing it is they get to keep whatever money the make, however they make it, for strictly living expenses ie house payment, utilities, ets..Is going to work at a factory every day extreme because you do it every day to provide for family and even your friends. Just another broke mans opinion

    • Joe says:

      Mary, did you know your college education can land you a job making more than enough money to buy a house without a roommate right now? With 85k in student loans, it must have been a good scbool with a good degree. Why would you cut coupons for five years like a poor person? Why arent you working/starting a business/making money? Isnt that why you obtained a degree?

  • Harri @ Miss Moneypenniless says:

    Absolutely. Extreme couponing is directly related to addictive and hoarding behaviours. I’d add that stockpiling products is hardly frugal or environmentally sound given that products passed their expiry date will have to be disposed of in their droves. A bizarre and worrying societal trend.

    • jlh says:

      My husband and I had the same reaction. We were holed up in a cabin on vacation and were watching guilty pleasure TV while doing a puzzle (aren’t we cute?)…and we watched Hoarders followed by Extreme Couponing and looked at each other and said: these people are totally hoarders?!? They have like 1000 orange soda liter bottles. Are you kidding me?!? What a waste of time. Get a real job!

      I also agree (along the orange soda line) that the coupons I’ve seen in inserts tend to be highly processed foods. I can see using coupons to make branded laundry detergent cheap but all the food products were not “foods” I would feed to my family.

    • Mike says:

      If that is true then by your standard of measure Donald Trump must be addicted to making money. There is no chemical addiction here to promote such a word as “addiction” in this case.”Extreme” simply means that you are going above the normal practices of the mass of people who use similar practices. If Bill Gates wasn’t extreme is in his ideas of computer development then there would be no microsoft. I don’t believe the cost of companies raising their prices due to these individuals that are buying in bulk quantities is indeed a fact. The companies are intelligent enough to figure in their costs and how much they can afford to lose off printed price of their item. On the flip side of that statement, those companies are now hiring more people to make more quantities, deliver more etc.

      • Mr Jolly says:

        Newsflash: Donald Trump IS addicted to making money. He whores himself constantly in the name of self promotion. People like Trump will never have enough wealth/notoriety/exposure – its addictive and/or obsessive behavior just the same as hoarding or extreme couponing.

  • Producer says:

    Coupons and store sales are a form of “co-op dollars”, which is money the manufacturer pays to the store to run such a sale, and is counted in the manufacturer’s advertising budget. Many couponers believe that the store is funding the sale. That’s not actually true most of the time. Generally it’s the brand funding the whole discount. While the most extreme of extreme couponers will never pay out of pocket for these items, the branding message is getting through loud and clear; and to some effect that’s all the manufacturer really wants.

    That said, I do agree that buying all of your groceries in this way is foolish because as you say, you’re not getting the healthiest foods, which almost never have enough coupons on them to be free. Many of these “extreme couponers” who give up a job to coupon full time could also be using their extreme organizational skills in an office job where they’d easily earn more than they save by couponing, but people like Mary here who hold a full time job and coupon are probably operating at a net positive. (Mary, I would just make sure that you couldn’t do better by taking a shift a weekend at a retail job… otherwise your time might be better spent.)

  • Justin @ MoneyIsTheRoot says:

    I’ve been watching this show the last couple weeks, and it really is crazy. These people stockpile items that will eventually expire, and is simply wasteful. Though I know many people like to stock up items that will never expire, such as mustard, I dont know that they need 200 bottles of it… they think they are saving money, but I’d urge them to sit down and reconsider that notion. They never do mention too much about how they acquire all these coupons. Sure, once coupons begin to go more digital then it might be worth the time and effort more…but buying 1,000 newspapers is expensive, and the time to clip out coupons is ridiculous.

  • Frugal Living says:

    Couponing is worth it if your are discipline enough only to spend money on the stuff that you really need instead of want.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    I consider myself decent w/ coupons but most of the stuff I end up getting for free are things I probably wouldn’t use anyway.

    It is nice to save a dollar here and there though.

    Now that I have a baby girl, it seems that too much time is wasted cutting and cataloging my coupons. I’d rather forego all that and save it for other pursuits. My savings just don’t add up to all the time spent.

    • Ron Ablang says:

      I forgot to say that my wife watched parts of the 1st 3 episodes w/ me and she said she would fully support me if I decided to go that route but on a condition that I could organize my stuff as well as they do on the show.

      It would be hard for me to do E.C. in Sacramento since there no longer exist any stores that double off any coupon.

  • Warren says:

    When manufacturers create coupons, the are not cheating anyone. Coupons are a form of advertising, just as television or Internet ads are. The additional sales of the items, beyond those bought with coupons, must be generating a rate of return in the same range or better or else the manufacturers would not continue.

    On the other hand, when stores do coupon “doubling” where the store doubles the amount of the coupon at the store’s expense, this is often cheating the people who are not using the coupons. Because the store has to make up the lost profit, prices need to increase. Sometimes the prices across the board are slightly higher. More insidious is when the prices for items with coupons are increased before the coupons come out. Anyone without a coupon actually pays more because of the doubling.

  • Natalie says:

    I don’t think it’s that bad. I think most extreme coupon users see it as a hobby. Of course anything can be taken too far and that’s what is getting the media attention.

    I used to spend a lot of time clipping coupons, but my tastes have changed. I don’t want the stuff they are advertising anymore.

  • Julie says:

    Buying products you don’t use… just to get the store credit? Ridiculously wasteful.

    And it seems to promote a very unhealthy diet since the majority of couponable items are nonperishable, manufactured items… where’s the fresh fruits & vegetables?

    I mean, it’s fun to save a bit of money with coupons when you can but when couponing becomes your ‘job’ … talk about a ‘good’ thing gone bad.

  • Joe says:

    I’m all for using coupons–when I can remember to. I’ve mostly stopped using them because I clipped them then forgot to take them to the store. Also, I tend to shop at Trader Joe’s, which doesn’t use coupons at all, but has excellent prices even without. I think you’re right about the crappy product angle.

  • fool says:

    Really G.E.? Unethical?
    I do not get to use coupons much and I do not hoard, matter of fact I almost buy things when I am running out of them, but I do not go out and criticise those who do for whatever reason. This is a free country and people are free to do what they want to do with their time and money. Similarly, the businesses also are free to stop the so called leaching.
    Some people’s circumstances may be forcing them to be more dependent on coupons than others. Give it a rest and stop preaching… Reminds me of the ‘sermon’ I got from you and others about tipping…
    Next time only include the economic argument, there is a very good reason for that, you do not offend people whose circumstances you’re not familiar with.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Yes, I do think there are ethical issues in completely living off coupons (which is different than being a casual user). Just as it’s a ‘free country’ to go out and try to live off coupons, it’s a ‘free country’ for people to express their opinions about it. A blogosphere without opinions would be pretty boring, indeed. And I’m not sure what ‘sermon’ I gave on tipping since I asked readers what their opinions were, but even if I gave a ‘sermon’ as you put it, well…. it is my blog, so I am free to do so.

  • fool says:


    Expressing your opinion is fine, infact more than fine… It is a good thing. However, to me, you came off as judgemental (I know some like to spell that judgmental, i digress)…

    I completely agree with one narrow point, since coupon collection is not a creative pursuit (i.e. nothing is created doing it) it is work that ranks lower. Last night I had the TV (I was bored) and Extreme Couponing was on. This one guy bought supplies for a 1000 care packages using coupons…

    I did despise the hoarding of things at his house, but extreme couponing is a way to give more than his means permitted him. But he used his labour in a creative way to do what he was otherwise incapable of doing.

    I saw another lady who buys 20 sunday newspapers and steals some off of others yards, that latter practice is a crime. But I cannot see how her cost is only the number ringing at the cash register. I mean, 20 sunday news papers, 52 weeks a year, driving in her SUV to pick up other people’s newspapers, printing out coupons on five different computers and spending time planning all that shopping has to have a value much higher than those savings from the coupons…

    What one would call penny wise and pound foolish :-).

    My opinion is, that the coupon kings/queens are not all unethical and we should refrain from painting them with a broad brush. Nuance is very important when dealing with people.

    I hope I have clarified my position.

  • Laura says:

    Coupons are great to save money here or there but the extreme couponers are ridiculous. They buy all that stuff that they will never use. I find that buying the store brands of things, which are often as good if not better than name brands, saves quite a bit. Anything to the extreme is usually not a good thing.

  • Grace says:

    I don’t know many avid couponers personally, but I get the impression that the successful ones are really organized about periodically donating some of their stockpile to keep it from expiring. That seems to defeat the purpose of extreme couponers who say they rely on coupons because they are paying off debt and/or on a very tight budget – then why would you routinely buy surplus items that you will probably end up giving away? There is such a thing as volunteering if you want to help your community for free. It doesn’t cost money aside from gas, requires fewer hours, and builds job skills & connections.

    To be frugal I don’t see any great justifiable need to pay a single penny or reserve home space for things that are beyond unnecessary such as soda, juice, syrup, chips, junk cereals, & canned sauces. Even most condiments are easy to make when you already have a basement full of the ingredients stockpiled.

  • Danielle says:

    @Grace, Your first paragraph makes absolute no sense in regards to a stock pile expiring and defeating the purpose of extreme couponing! They create a stockpile and should they have excess than their family needs, they donate it to families who would be able to use it. The point is they don’t routinely BUY the products, they get them for free or pennies. and why not? So their family is in major debt, they do this to save money and all the extras they have accumulated they give back to a poverty stricken community?! makes sense to me…. Whose to say they don’t put in extra hours to accumulate more surplus for donations, since they’re doing it anyway for their family, whats a few extra coupons more to donate items? Seems like noble volunteering hours…. Yes there are such things as volunteering if you want to help your community but there is also donating food as well…So What? Does that make “extreme” couponers who DO donate any less valuable as contributors to society? I think not. Maybe YOU would rather volunteer, but YOU is the key word. For ME I like to clear out my cabinets monthly and donate to organizations and shelters who need the items, I count myself as a volunteer and contributor. To each is own Grace, I mean really!

    Your family deem soda, juice, syrup, chips, junk cereals, & canned sauces unnecessary but others don’t. When birthday parties come around or special get togethers, guess whose bringing the chips and soda? Me… Please think before you judge and try to pass on your thought process as to what others should be thinking too!

    G.E Miller,

    I enjoyed your article and unlike others, I value counterarguments on a topic I either engage or approve of. I found your points to be well taken and will take some into consideration during my next hours spent on my “private passion”. I wish you all the best of luck in becoming finance free!!


    • G.E. Miller says:

      Thanks for the great comment, Danielle! I hope you stick around.

    • Sophisticated Saver says:

      Awesome assessment…this week I will be able to donate diabetes monitors my first of hopefully many donations…I truly hope to start sending my expired coupons to overseas troops as well. There are so many valuable ways to help by couponing. The look on someones face in line when they are counting pennies for a medication that you have a coupon for to assist them with.

  • tami says:

    I don’t like the extreme measures they employ on the show.
    It is ridiculous to buy 67 bottles of mustard… What about the
    next person who needs 1 bottle of mustard, only to find out
    there’s none left?

    I do use coupons occasionally, only for items I normally buy.
    A week ago I saved $85 on a $215 grocery bill. It made me happy,
    for taking 25 minutes to organize myself with my list and coupons.

  • loseofit says:

    hurting the company they mark up the price. before coupons i had almost no food. now i do. when you are hungry you eat anything. the majorty of people on welfare are leeches.

  • Theresa says:

    I completely disagree with everything in this article!
    Did you do any actual research into this topic besides watching this show? You have based your opinion of couponing and couponers off of one reality show.

    I am part of the couponing community and teach individuals and groups how to use coupons (properly)!! I believe it is a great way to save money and teaches you how to be a smart shopper.
    This Extreme Couponing show is a very bad example of how most couponers go about things. In the couponing community it is extremely bad ethics to be a shelf clearer (someone who buys 200 of one item to gain profit) use a coupon improperly (coupon fraud) or dumpster dive for inserts (I purchase every paper or magazine my coupons come from).
    I have NEVER done anything “questionable” or fraudulent while couponing.
    If making a profit from couponing is being a “leech” because it is not productive then every other service or business person is a leech too. Last time I checked stock brokers make money off of people without producing anything. There are many other more respectable professions that make money from others.
    To reap the benefits it does not take a hell of a lot of time. Most people that coupon also have jobs, all they have to do is check a few blogs once a week and it will give them the info on deals, stores and coupons needed.
    A lot of couponers donate their extras and freebies to charity. I personally give my extras to my church.
    Also not all coupon is for junk food. A pro knows how to get produce and healthy items cheap too. A lot of the ladies I know that coupon hate processed junk or have a gluten allergy in the family.
    Couponing can benefit use in a lot of ways. People learn how to stretch their money further helping improve their quality of life.
    How is saving money a bad thing? I personally saved 48% of my grocery bill last month.
    If you want a free coupon (offer extended just for you) email me.

  • Toppy Fitzpatrick says:

    “I don’t care what anyone says, if your spending over 4 hours a day clipping coupons, you are not saving money. Time is money and your time could be spent being productive, earning an income and investing for your future.”

    I think mrplazmadude pretty much summed that one up.

  • Lauren says:

    I think one pitfall you forgot to mention is that extreme couponing only works if you buy a lot of packaged goods. If you buy a lot of fresh fruits , veggies, and meats this doesn’t help you. They don’t have coupons for apples, but they do have them for Oreo cookies.

    • Sophisticated Saver says:

      For fresh fruits and veggies this is where over-rage comes in. For example using a hi dollar coupon and having money back to spend on your fresh grocery items. In fact you could simply use product coupons and use the overage for exactly what you want, and never buy packaged process foods. Amazing that some companies pay you to take their item for free and buy exactly what you like.

    • Tesa says:

      That is not true, I get coupons for Fresh Express, Dole, Olivia’s Organic and many other fruits and veggies. I mostly get meat coupons from the store. Just because Frittos are cheap that week doesn’t mean you have to buy it. I know several people who coupon and are gluten free families.

  • Jill says:

    Although I don’t do it, I see nothing wrong with dumpster diving for coupons, unless you are getting people bills or private information. Those coupons are going to end up in a landfill either way.
    But you are right, most of the products for couponing aren’t healthy. And if I have a stockpile of shampoo, might I be tempted to be wasteful with it knowing I have 20 more in the basement.

    I don’t know.

  • Someone Else says:

    Those who think that you can make more working at a real job are sorely mistaken.

    If you are married, and your spouse has professional employment, you’re instantly at the 25% bracket for federal. In Oregon it would be a 9% state income tax, in addition to FICA at 7.65%. At this rate, the couponer only keeps $.5835 of what they earn. Even a solid job at $20/hr turns into $12. Consider the AAA cost of driving for a small sedan at $6,735 per year and 210 work days per year (albeit inflated, as it’s an average price, and not a “value” price), and this job now costs $32 per day, or $4 per hour. Your solid wage worker is now at $8/hr. At a very reasonable rate of $100/week saved for child care (per child), you’re now at $5.83/hr.

    A solid job turns into minimum wage drudgery pretty quick once these costs are considered. If you’re making under $15/hr (like more than 50% of America) you can just forget earning ANY money above and beyond your costs if your spouse reaches the 25% bracket on a single income.

  • Warren says:

    If you’re not working you still have to pay for the car so that doesn’t detract from the job option. In order to use those coupons you have to rack up some miles so there’s costs there. At 210 work days a year, you have excluded 10 weeks of vacation, holidays, and sick days from the discussion. Your illustration does not support your contention that a job is not better financially. Rather, your missing data suggests that you had to manipulate your example to force the result you wanted.

    • DW says:

      Exactly, Warren. There is a difference between using coupons reasonably and the extreme version – behaving as if it is a job. You are not earning a paycheck – you can save money but not enough to make it the equivalent of a job. 1000 tubes of toothpaste is not the same thing as having income to dispose of any way you wish.
      Would these same people let an employer pay them in discounts/or food and sundry items, which change and over which they have no control? I am not allowing any employer to pay me in 100 tubes of toothpaste in my non-so-favortie brand! So much of what they acquire is duplicative, not a food or brand of choice, and excessive, because that is the only way to make that “extreme” version of couponing appear to pay off.
      As you point out, there are no employee benefits of couponing – not just the insurance or sick days, et . – there is no skill growth, no resume-building, no social component, no raises, no advancement. And, at most people at their part-time jobs, have never had to enlist the help of husband, kids, and friends to accomplish their goals. It is an infringement on the family’s time and lifestyle!
      There is no comparison really – extreme couponers are fooling themselves with their acquiring and stockpiling. 75 boxes of cereal or chips for 800 on your shelves should not be a point of pride. In the end, it probably ends up in a lot of waste, though couponers don’t admit it. Things grow stale and must be consumed rapidly or thrown out. After my 50th sandwich (even if over two years!) with the same processed cheese, on the same wheat bread with the same mustard, I would probably want to throttle the person who forced that sameness upon me – it’s like being a prisoner to the stockpile.

  • DW says:

    You and your readers have hit most salient points. The extreme couponers on the TLC show behave like addicts. They are getting a thrill, an adrenaline rush from the experience. They don’t need 1000 tubes of toothpaste, diapers for children they don’t have, or 75 bottles of mustard. Most of the coupons are for packaged items. One woman is getting a thrill from saving 75 cents per package on instant mashed potatoes as part of her food allotment for her family’s dinner for the month. Fresh potatoes are cheap! And they have actual FOOD value. Instant potatoes are awful tasting, foul-textured chemicalized version of a cheap, easy-to-cook, always available vegetable!
    The junk that is being stockpiled – pudding and snack bars and chips for 800 people – is of poor nutritonal value. Yes, there are some meat and produce coupons, but in extreme couponing, no one is buying lots of these items!
    One woman attempts to justify the 56 containers of yogurt she is buying, saying her family of 6 goes through 20 a week. That’s a lot of yogurt, and if your family is eating the same foods endlessly, it is unhealthy, uninteresting and uninspired.
    Buying whole fruits and vegetables and cheaper lean proteins, and cooking simple lovely meals, is no more expensive than the actual outlays these people make every month, and 100 times nutiritionally better, and a much better use of time. We see people buying 50 bottles of Maalox because it is very cheap or free. They are not using those bottles, and if they are, they should see a doctor!
    The time cost, as many point out, makes it no different from a part-time job. And what a dull job it is – and they have to recruit family members and friends to do their work!!!! And there is a cost for printers, ink, internet access, acquiring the coupon inserts, etc. And, here’s the rub – what they won’t admit to – you cannot get ALL of your family’s grocery and sundry needs with coupons. If you are using coupons to do this, your family is being deprived of their wants, needs, spontaneity, flexibility, etc.
    The extreme couponers demonstrate all the habits of someone on the OCD spectrum. They are NOT focused on their families – they are focused on couponing. They invade their living space and their children’s with their “stockpiles.” It IS a form of hoarding – it’s not healthy, balanced or economically sound.
    It actually inculcates the value of greed in their children, not habits of true thrift. If mommy’s biggest accomplishment is ammassing 800 rolls of paper towels, what does little Susie see – that there is great value in this! Ideally Mommy should spend her time playing softball with her kids and taking them to library, and teaching them to cook or garden, and doing art and puzzles and games with them…a mommy who hoards toothpaste and mustard and shaving razors to the detriment of space in her house and time with her family is NOT a supermom or a hero – she is in an empty OCD cycle, and she is dragging her whole family along with her (same for daddies who do this!).

  • Marylou says:

    Why don’t you people get a life. I watch those shows and also think it weird but don’t moan and groan about them like you people. Get a job, you say. Maybe there aren’t any. Ever heard of the resession? If you can save enough money on groceries and
    household items like dish soap and laundry soap and toothpaste you don’t need to work. Especially with kids. Its cheaper to stay home. Get a job is what you people always say. Why, why is it so darn important to get a job if they can coupon
    and then not have to get a job. Why do you care. You are just buying junk well heres
    a thought maybe everyone doesn’t exist on lettuce and grapes. People can eat some junk. Thats another thing that has gone crazy. We can eat better without going over
    board. Can’t we be normal or do we all have to be a size 0 anorexic. Also most of the
    extreme couponers say they do that once or twice a year not all the time. I think its great to save money with coupons if you want and wish people would stop complaining all the time.

  • otis says:

    Some people do it for fun. And if you can get tons of shit for free, why not? It’s not like you are harming ANYBODY. The stores and manufacturers that put out coupons are just that; stores and manufacturers. If they were going to take a hit from coupons, they wouldn’t put as many out as they do. One person will not bankrupt a corporation. When enough people start doing it that a large corporation takes a hit one quarter, then they will rethink their methods.


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