April 7, 2011

Extreme Couponing on TLC


Photo Credit: sdc2027



If you watch reality TV, you may have caught Extreme Couponing on TLC. It bills itself as a show about ‘savvy shoppers’. It was aired as a pilot earlier this year, and it did so well it was picked up as a series. Gag me! (Yep, totally 80s right there!)

Do we really need a TV show which is basically Hoarders with Coupons? I don’t think so. I don’t think hoarding, obsessive compulsive grocery purchasing needs to be glorified. And to call the people profiled in the show ‘savvy shoppers’ is misleading. These people need a 12-step program not a TV show platform.

I don’t care that the show is edited and they’ve made prior arrangements with the stores. That’s what these shows are about. It’s a reality show that’s not actual reality. Normal people don’t spend five-plus hours shopping. Everyday people don’t spend hour upon hour creating shopping lists and culling coupons. We have lives and kids and friends and jobs.

I use coupons. A lot. I encourage you to use coupons. It’s a huge win-win for managing your budget and making the most of your dollar. If you’re going to need razors or pasta or tuna, why not get them at the lowest price? But unless you anticipate that you’re going to be giving out tuna as Halloween treats you really don’t need hundreds upon hundreds of packages of tuna.

And while extreme couponing looks really cool when someone saves eleventy zillion dollars at the checkout, it’s not. You see, they’ve cleared the shelves so you can’t go in and use your 3 coupons to buy the staples your family needs. They’ve annoyed the stores so that you can’t use your coupons to buy 4 jars of pasta sauce when it would be fifty-cents a jar, even though you’d just be using it to feed your family over the next few months.

It’s not real! Responsible couponing means buying what you need and allowing others to buy too. Sure you can buy some extra for donation, but do you really need 85 bottles of mustard? Being a responsible couponer means that you spend thirty or so minutes organizing your coupons and putting together you list. It means you stop by a site like mine before you head to the store to make sure that you’ve got all the coupons and deals on your list. It means you’re in and out of the store quickly so you can take that money you saved and use it to live life!

If you want to live out those somedays and have great family experiences, meet up with your friends for a coffee or go bowling or play mini-golf or even spend a few hours of ‘me time’ don’t waste your time on the show. By checking out my site, and a few others like my friends Dian at Grocery Shop Free or Ann at Coupons Deals and More you’re going to save money. It may not be 97% every time, but if you can save an average of 50% on your grocery bill then pat yourself on the back.

Saving money is not a chore. It’s a natural part of what you do to try and stretch your dollar. You may feel like you want to watch the show. I understand. It’s like slowing down to see the fender-bender on the side of the road. It’s like doing a double-take at the 20-something pierced up kid at the mall. If you do watch, remember it’s entertainment. They may call it reality TV but it’s plain ol’ mindless entertainment.

Have you seen the show? If not, will you watch it? What are your thoughts on Extreme Couponing?



Jenn April 7, 2011 at 6:14 am

I actually saw an episode for the first time last night. I was kinda in awe but mostly horrified. I mean, it’s pretty cool when you can buy $1100 worth of groceries and only pay $6 but what are ever going to need all that deodorant? (seriously, the guy bought over 100 of them!). He also bought 100 boxes of cereal for free to give to charity but I don’t think it balances it out-there’s no way!

Great blog post and so very true!

Valerie D April 7, 2011 at 6:16 am

Oh my, you are so on the money with this (sorry for the pun). I watched some of it last night and I couldn’t stand it. I thought it would be about true saving, learning how to use coupons, etc. Instead it was about compulsive behavior. It was ridiculous how much time and energy this unhealthy woman spent on “saving” money. Her house was jam packed like a hoarder with useless items, she had 9 carts of items she didn’t need, 100s of candy bars…I’ll stick with you and sensible saving.

Honey April 7, 2011 at 11:22 am

Hi Sara,

I saw one show (not last night’s) and it had some good parts and bad parts.

The one I saw, had the lady dumpster diving for fliers with her pregnant friend and her son. There were a couple of other people in the show, but not that wild.

I would love to have a mini stock pile of some of the things that we use regularly. We don’t have a vehicle so I can’t coupon (the way I would like) right now. We do a once a month shop (in bulk) at a local warehouse store and that works for us. We manage to spend around $400 a month on groceries for 7. I think we do okay. I know that with couponing and shopping at other stores there is still money to be saved on some items.

Your site is one of the ones that got me started thinking about couponing. You rock Sara!


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