Extreme Couponing?

Written by Jennifer On June - 29 - 2011 1 Comment
Photo by me

Photo by me, please link to site if you use!

There is a show on the TV lately called ‘Extreme Couponing’.  I’ve never watched it, although I probably should to see what it’s about.  First of all, I do coupon and will cover couponing in later articles.  Although I’ve never watched the show I think it’s a bad idea and puts couponers in a bad light.  I’ve heard many negative comments since this show has come out.

First of all, as frugal as I am I don’t consider myself an extreme couponer.  I don’t consider myself extreme in any aspect of frugality (unless I have to be).  I put forth all of these ideas, and I do use some of them, many of them even, but I think it is best to do all things in moderation.

To be fair, I’ve not watched the show, but the gist I get from the ads is only negative feelings.  I have read many, many articles online about people who do the extreme couponing even before this show came out so the idea is not new to me.  I guess to some people my couponing would be considered ‘extreme’, but I assure you that although I do spend some time doing it, it hasn’t taken over my life.

The first reason that I don’t like the idea  is because I don’t think you should buy what you don’t need.  I don’t think there is a reason for going to the store and buying 100 of anything.  I find that if you buy a couple extra and do it consistently you will still wind up with more than you need, and buying amounts that will either have to be given away or thrown away is ridiculous.  It seems like buying all those items is just exploiting the system.  That is my personal feeling on it, and why I don’t feel comfortable doing it, but I suppose I have weird feelings about lots of things.

Next, I find that people and stores are more harsh towards average couponers because of shows like this & people who do this.  They clamp down their policy and make it hard for the normal person to save money.  Frankly, I don’t want to fight every time I go to the store just so I can use my coupons.  I also feel like there have been a lot more coupons coming out that are not able to be doubled (55 cent coupons for example) and eventually it might cut into the amount of coupons companies make.

The show has also created a stir, I know, because all of a sudden it is hard to find newspapers.  People are buying them all up thinking they can replicate what happens on the show.  Of course YOU CAN do it, but do you want to?  I have people come talk to me about extreme couponing all the time.  I’m a coupon veteran at this point – my mom couponed before me and now I’ve picked up the torch.  I advocate people to use them, save money, get good deals and people come to me asking about the extreme couponing.  Yes, you can do it and get free stuff, and get very cheap stuff, but you will not get all things on your that way.  You cannot get everything for free.  I think this is a point that people forget to mention when they are glorifying the extreme couponing.  So the average viewer will just get frustrated.

You can get toothpaste free all the time (without trying really).  I get body wash, and hand soap for free or cheap often.  Candy, pasta, cereal and yogurt can be attained at huge deals.  You won’t find many meat coupons, however (I’m talking REAL meat, not hot dogs & prepackaged foods).  I would say that unless you are vegetarian meat is a large portion of your food budget.  The best way to tackle this is through price matching & stocking up when sales come along & looking for manager specials.  I’m sure that the extreme couponers do this in conjunction with couponing, I have no doubt, but I have many people with the misconception that you can get anything for free if you have enough coupons.  It is not the case.

I also don’t think anyone should be putting 50 hours a week into couponing.  If you could get your whole grocery budget for free (say $300, mine is significantly less than this, however) and had to spend 50 hours to do it you’d be making about $6 an hour.  $4 an hour for a $200 budget.  It’s not worth it to put THAT much time into.  Again, you really won’t be able to get everything for free, I feel like I can’t stress that point enough.

The last reason I am against extreme couponing is I think it flirts with the very fine line that goes into hording.  Having the hording mentality is one that is against the principles of frugal with an emphasis on prosperity and into the mentality of being poor.  I am speaking from experience.  I grew up poor and have the tendency to want to horde.  Having extra (like for an emergency) and being smart about storing food isn’t a bad thing, but when it crosses the line into hording it is irrational and is basically a mental disorder.  You get to the point where you simply can’t stop and enough is never enough.

Alright, I know that sounded harsh and judgmental but I wanted to give the real reasons I do not do any extreme couponing.  I think it’s awesome to hunt for deals and get the best prices.  Even watching the show will probably give you good ideas, because I’m sure the principles they put in place are sound.  Just remember that you can’t get everything for free, so don’t get frustrated if it isn’t as successful for you.  It can be a rush saving money from couponing (and I save a lot even with my modest couponing habits), but watch out for it creeping into other areas of your life.  Don’t let it become an obsession.  Remember the reason you save money is for your family, where your time and energy should be devoted.

Ultimately I don’t  go too extreme because I don’t have the time and it just doesn’t seem right.  This is a personal decision which I am sharing because this is not a site for extremism.  My site is for frugal living for the average person.  I do occasionally experiment with some pretty crazy money-saving tips, but I don’t think you have to go to extremes to save some serious cash!  Love you all!

YCBPoM

But for those of you who wnat to extreme coupon anyway:
Print FREE Grocery Coupons at Home
More power to you, ha ha!

About Me, Couponing, Frugal Living, Main

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