I have been extreme couponing since long before there was a name for it. You know the type: obsessively clipping coupons, buying the items on sale in bulk and filling their pantry for a "raining day." That is why when I heard TLC was going to air a series called Extreme Couponing, I was very happy. Perhaps I could pick up some tips from others that I didn't already know. The series might help me save money.

I was wrong.

Instead, the show seems like some kind of twisted combination of "Hoarders" and "Supermarket Sweep." The Extreme Couponers gleefully show off their "stockpiles" and exclaim "I won't have to buy toothpaste for the rest of my life!"

I have used coupons for years as a way of stretching my food dollars, particularly when I was supporting an extended family when my oldest son and his wife lost their jobs and had to move in with me. Without the coupons, my grocery bill would have either been a lot higher than it was, or we may have had a tougher time putting food on the table.

Now, since "Extreme Couponing" has hit the airwaves, more people are "abusing the system." They are trying to emulate the Extreme Couponers and come up with ways of paying next to nothing for their groceries. They do this by combining printed coupons with the store's loyalty cards and sales. I have done this, too...but I know damn well I don't need 500 tubes of toothpaste. Some of these folks subscribe to coupon clipping services to get considerably more newspapers than they would ever possibly by just to stock up on the coupons. In one episode, a man purchased $4,000 worth of breakfast cereal for pennies on the dollar. Granted, he did donate the cereal to a food bank, but how likely is it that store will offer a similar deal in the future?

In my area, grocery stores and even some pharmacies, are wising up to the abuse. They are changing their coupon policies. At one grocery store chain where I live, they will still double coupons, but only on the first item. After that, they will only accept the face value of the coupon. Yes, they have indicated that the change in policy is due in large part to people employing the practices they have seen on "Extreme Couponing." Because of these gluttons, it is no longer possible for me to save as much money as I used to with coupons. No, I do not have a "stock pile."

Savvy Frugality, saving money, couponing....that's one thing. There is only one word for one person single-handedly clearing an entire shelf of underarm deodorant and paying for them with nothing more than a pile of clipped coupons: greed.

9 comments

  1. ~Carla~ // August 8, 2011 at 9:11 AM  

    Great post & I totally agree!! You couldn't "extreme" coupon here in Canada, no matter how hard you tried, so it looks like the U.S. May get a little more strict on coupons like here... Although I've never known of a "double" coupon deal here.

  2. homefire // December 3, 2011 at 7:40 PM  

    Yup, I've seen people clear a shelf and leave nothing for others.
    I don't get it.... I clip coupons to stretch my budget but not to stockpile a basement or extra room! Just discovered your blog, keep up the good work and I hope things start looking up for you soon!

  3. Bill Swan // December 18, 2011 at 5:04 PM  

    One thing to consider with coupons or any sale - just how much of the item are you really going to use.

  4. Extreme Couponing // December 20, 2011 at 2:58 AM  

    Yeah! I think extreme couponing is the best way to shop around with the best deals!!

  5. Lissa // January 19, 2012 at 8:25 PM  

    I completely agree! Hoarding is hoarding even if its neat and tidy. I don't like the show simple because of the greed I see in these people. The few episodes I have seen left me wondering if these women were deprived to the point of abuse as children. One big peeve I have is the amount of time they waste each week. My child is way more important than free sports drink.

  6. Anonymous // February 7, 2012 at 3:04 PM  

    Amen.

  7. Anonymous // April 2, 2012 at 12:45 AM  

    I dont like the clearing of the shelves. I went to a coupon class, and thats one of the things they stress there. They tell you to only get a few things, leave some on the shelf for other people. I just think its so disrespectful for people to do that. I was taught that way, but I tend to leave extra coupons behind for others to use.

  8. amena jack // July 27, 2012 at 5:05 AM  

    Good way for moving coupons NV i agree with you.

  9. Virginia // August 14, 2012 at 6:13 PM  

    I have been known to get attitude from people for buying a few months (2-3) worth of an item for my family and have been called a hoarder because of what people see on that show. I have a family of 9 people so getting 10-15 deoderant, or 6 free body washes isn't hoarding it's prudent shopping. To some extent we need to remember not everyone getting several of an item is actually hoarding as family size varies.

    We also get items for our local charities too. We make sure to befriend as many managers at our favorite grocery store as possible.

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