Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just Say NO to Extreme Couponing #extremecouponing


I get tons of facebook messages and emails from well meaning friends and family members each time an episode of Extreme Couponing airs on TV. (Please notice I am NOT linking to this show or site, and it's for a reason)! So many stores and companies are changing their policies based on what they have seen on this show.

Yes, many people have been inspired by the results shown, and have begun to use coupons and save money, which has helped family budgets. That is phenomenal, and I am so glad that it has happened. BUT, the downside is that many store clerks, fellow patrons, and companies have developed a negative attitude towards couponers. Now if you know me, you know that I could really care less what other people think about me, but, it does affect me when I receive less coupons in the newspaper and online, and when store clerks don't want to accept coupons from ANYONE because they think you are doing something wrong.

TLC is supposed to be  “The Learning Channel” which implies to me that the programming should be educational in nature, and should engage in promoting ETHICAL and LEGITIMATE shopping strategies. I realize that people are drawn to extreme examples of things, but that is more harmful than helpful. Staging scenes, getting stores to bend or break all normal couponing rules 'just for the show' does not show people the reality of what THEY can do when they are shopping and using coupons under normal circumstances when they don't have their own TLC crew with them.

Take this clip for example:


Lowes Foods had this to say about the clip:
“The guy who walked up to the shelf was one of the crew members,” Selip said. “It was all staged.”
From this article here: When Coupon Clipping Goes Wild
I wish stores would STOP agreeing to participate in this show. It is NOT good for your business. I wish bloggers and fellow couponers would STOP agreeing to be featured on this show. It was in the news last year that some of the people on the show were being investigated for coupon fraud because it is ILLEGAL to buy and sell coupons. It says so right on the face of every coupon I have ever used. That's why I do not promote coupon clipping services, and I do not give coupons away. I have a separate tab of links that go directly to the stores websites or LEGAL sites that companies have contracted with to offer online coupons. You will also see widgets for some of these sites on my sidebars. You can rest assured that these are legitimate sites, and should google ads ever put one up for a clipping service, please let me know, because each time I see one, I go in and manually block it from showing again.

What I really wish is that a network would create a REAL Couponing show that actually taught people the ins and outs of how to coupon in a legal, responsible, and ethical manner. Purchasing newspapers, visiting legitimate sights to print the LIMITED quantity of coupons (usually 1-2 per person) online, and then making realistic shopping trips to use them. My local store doubles ONE like coupon per day, and requires the use of a loyalty card to get sale prices, and to use coupons. This means the MOST coupons I can have doubled in a single week is 7, and that's only if I buy 7 papers to get the inserts. It also means that I have to go into the store 7 times in a week, which isn't realistic because couponing isn't the ONLY thing I have to do. Occasionally I make the effort, like when soup is on sale and I am stocking up for the winter. The coupon is usually for 4 cans at a time, and I get all 4 for about $1. So, at the end of a week I'll have 28 cans of soup. Some people think that's excessive, but we have 5 people in our house, and if one person gets sick, typically the other 4 will get it too. So if 5 people eat 2 cans of soup each day, 28 cans doesn't really go that far.

When it comes to stockpiling, you have to be realistic about what you keep. You need to figure out what is a reasonable amount for the number of people you feed on a regular basis, and aim to keep enough on hand to use before it expires. If you can't or won't use it, donate it right away. If no one in your home will eat soup, it is a waste of $7 AND your time for you to keep going to get more, and putting it in your pantry and keeping it indefinitely. Last time I mentioned this, some were shocked that I "bought" canned soup because they know I usually make homemade. That is true. Except when I am the one who is sick. Then I don't feel like making homemade soup, and I just want to open a can, microwave it, and crawl back into bed. It also comes in handy to have canned goods (and a can opener) for blizzards if the power goes out. It's hard to cook chicken with no electricity, but you can pour a can of soup into a pot and put it over a fire in the fireplace to warm it.

I wish I could say I wasn't going to watch this week, but I will be recording it and tuning in. I DO encourage YOU not to watch it. The lower the ratings, the higher the chance it'll go away. Why am I watching it then? Because I know that I will get questions about it. Last year when I DIDN'T watch, people would argue that my "opinions on the show are wrong because you haven't seen it, and if you had, you'd know how amazing it was." So I will watch, and roll my eyes, and sigh at how I cannot believe that people allowed themselves to be manipulated and shown on TV. I don't judge them for it, I just think they weren't aware of what they were getting into, and then felt obligated to participate.

I hope if you are visiting here from StumbleUpon, a blog or twitter referral, or an internet search that I have inspired you to practice RESPONSIBLE couponing habits, and that you'll take a moment to visit my COUPON AND MONEY SAVING SITES page to help save you and your family some money!

24 comments:

Christi said...

Great post. I've only seen the show a few times, but I was completely disgusted at the greediness portrayed, all in the name of saving money. Many of these extreme couponers are just glorified hoarders. I can't really fathom how a family of 4 can go through 178 boxes of Fruity Pebbles before the expiration date. I think what really bothers me is that so much of this food could be donated to a shelter or food bank--again, you could spare even 5 of those 178 boxes of cereal, donate them to a food bank, and feel good about doing a small part to help the hunger problem in America. And for little to no cost for you, to boot.

Ugh. Anyway, I appreciate hearing someone else despises the show, too. :)

The Purple Lady said...

I don't like it when I go to the store and just because there happened to be a coupon plus a sale, there isn't even one decent box of something I needed at a decent price. I have a friend that coupons really well, but doesn't take it to extremes. She helps her family and kicks down tips to friends, but never clears out shelves and stuff like that.
I am totally tweeting this! It is very well spoken on a topic that can be sensitive.

ticklemetiffyyyy said...

Great post and I agree! I am an avid couponer but its to feed our family of 7 while allowing me to stay home. Part of me wants them to show women like me how to be able to provide for their families using coupons and not showing how to attain stockpiles of way more than say a family of 2 will ever use.

Also thanks for all of the hard work you put into all of your posts daily!

Dana said...

I watched one of the shows for the first time tonight and I won't be watching again. It is so unrealistic and irritated me. I wasn't impressed. The one episode I watched may have been old (I'm not sure, I saw several episodes listed back to back) First of all... the couple that stood at the grocery store for 5 plus hours so they could have their friends come and save an addt $50.00 off their groceries. I'm sorry but 5 hours of my time is worth more than $50.00. Then they were going to have a party and said all of their stockpile would be gone after the party. That stockpile was huge...how big is the party... 200 people? If you are that worried about your finances and saving $50.00 ..then maybe you shouldn't be throwing a big party. The next lady they show is trying to get "the remainder" of items she needs for her monthly meal planning...She bought over $600.00 worth of food(as her "remainder items" ) and was already having trouble finding places for the food she already had at home. She had enough food at her home (prior to this shopping trip)to make 6 months of meals for her family. I understand meal planning,I understand food storage, but the whole purpose of food storage is to use what you have, rotate, and restock, not hoard. I also understand wanting to save money. However, when you look at the time they spend, do they really save ...and if there are little kids at home ...at what cost? It seems like most of these people spend 60+ hours a week researching these coupons. That's just as much time away from your family than if you had a full and a part time job . So extreme couponing in no way shape or form is "Free".
Wow..I don't think I've ever made a comment this long before. Sorry... about it being so long.

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

Great post I've never watched the show and never want to. Kroger here in Dallas has stopped doubling and tripling of coupons all because of this stupid show yet they agree to be on and double and triple ( from what I hear as again I don't watch ) a ton of like coupons. It's so aggravating.

Tethered Mommy said...

I too wonder why anybody needs that much. My SIL is somewhat extreme but never to that point and donates so much of the free/cheap stuff she gets. It allows her to donate more for less. Like a PP said, how on earth is a family of 4 going to use that much xyz before it expires? It's enough for me to have bought 2 bottles of ketcup when it was on sale with a coupon so I don't have to worry about it for a while. I guess I'm a slight couponer LOL but that suits me just fine and I don't appreciate others ruining the couponing I do take part in.

tarter95 said...

I am SO glad that you posted this. I have watched the show and my first question is where do they get all these coupons? I have never seen so many coupons... I get excited about saving $20 in coupons! Also, the "stockpiling" idea is ok to a degree, but I see the huge amount of items some of the people have and wonder why keep so much? Amazing!

The Shopping Duck said...

Love your post. So totally agree with you. These extreme couponers will ruin it for everyone!

loves to dive said...

Great article and I totally agree. My son is a manager at a local grocery store and he has had to really tighten up because of the show. I've never seen it but from what I understand some of the people go out of their way to try to get the store to honor things that the coupon explictely says are not allowed. My honey has his own business and it has slowed down so much in the past few years that we do whatever we can to stretch a dollar. For us, store brands tend to come out cheaper than even using coupons.

Laura said...

I've never seen a full show but I did see a clip where a woman dumped all of a particular item into her cart (I can't recall what it was) but all I could think was wow, how completely selfish. I'm all for keeping a back stock of things you use often but I also realize that items go on sale again.

royalegacy said...

I have never seen Extreme Couponing, (I do not have cable or satellite tv in my home.) Is this show the reason why I have so many cashiers scrutinizing my coupons when I go shopping. I have used coupons for over twenty years now, and have to wait so much longer in line because checkers check each and every coupon. Won't the computer that runs the registers recognize a bad coupon?

Laura O in AK said...

I just had the show on for a short while last night. All I can think of is how some of these people are really hoarders. I have a stockpile of things we use all the time. But, I don't go grabbing like there is no tomorrow and have so much food that there's no room for it in my house. (We don't have the pantry storage I'd like, so I'll admit that the tubs of grains I've bought for bread baking sit in my laundry room right now.)

Aside from the tendency to hog things, the episode I saw last night had a few things that bugged me as well. First off...the lady was buying items that were a great price which she didn't even use (cat treats when they have no cat!) Yes, she admits to sharing with others. But, what about the person who has a cat that went to the store to buy that item and found none on the shelf. Also, they went on about how her coupon was for more than the sale price of the item...so she had coupon money to pay for her meat. Uhm...I've never been in a store that gave you more than the value of the item with your coupon.

We do not get many coupons up here in Alaska nor do stores do any doubling of them. So, no EXTREME couponing is happening up here. No wonder my food bill is so much higher than it was back in Maryland.

Mommy Minded said...

This show caused me to quit couponing... I bought 2 papers a week to shop for my family of 5. Now there are warnign signs every where about people stealing papers and all of our check outs have big warnings about coupon fraud... it's crazy.

Nichelle Riann said...

I know I am a few days late but this is such a great post. I hate what that show has done to some areas. People are stealing all the coupons, clearing shelves and being rude to cashiers who are just trying to do their jobs. Needless to say, I won't be watching this season.

meandmom said...

I started watching it because I thought maybe it would give good couponing tips, but it so does not. It makes people feel like if you are spending more than a couple dollars on hundreds of dollars worth of groceries you are overspending which is so unrealistic. Also, I agree people who resort to such extremes in couponing spend way to much time doing it. I would rather do other things with my time.

amyorvin said...

Great post. I agree

kalea_kane said...

I agree with you completely! :) I watched the show that you spoke of the other day, and I was sick to my stomach of the woman laughing over being a shelf clearer. I stockpile to a degree as in buying about 10 jars of Ragu at a time when they are dirt cheap. It has never been necessary for me to buy 20 to 40 and clear a shelf because by the time we are through with that 10, they are on sale again...every single time. I can appreciate the hard work that many of these people put in, but when you have over 300 deodorants...it is time to chill the heck out.

Jo said...

We cannot "extreme coupon" in Canada. There are way too many rules for it. Each coupon would have to have it's own code, so maybe 1 manufacturers coupon and 1 in store. We save money on groceries by GROWING and BAKING and COOKING our own food. I have never watched the show because we don't have TV. I always wished I could coupon more like in the US but fear this show may change your laws and everyone will suffer. I'd rather they take it off the air based on that alone.

Vinci said...

Greetings:
From Canada, where we cannot double
our coupons. Yes, I try to use coupons. I found if the products do not measure up ie. bought some soup
beef barley that did not have any
meat in it. lol So I phoned the major soup co. they were kind and send me a free coupon for soup. So, it does pay to complain and they were truthfully thankful that they get feedback from their customers. Also, did watch the show, your insights are useful and interesting. thanks
dayleb at telus dot net

joannie said...

Hi i have to agree with you . I saw a special were the man bought over 2000 dollars worth of food and it only cost him like 60 dollars. But it took him 5 hours in the store. I am disabled and can barely stand an hour in the the store. I don't know how anyone can do that. I guess it was a scam cuse its now way people can do that. thanks i am with you on all this. i wish there was a show that could teach a way just to save like you said. thanks Joannie jscddmj[at]aol]dot]com

Tracy R said...

I really wish they would drill the people featured in this show on where they really get their coupons! Where I live in California the Sunday paper (the one with the coupon inserts) costs $3.00 a copy. I was watching an episode of this show once where the featured couponer claimed to buy 200 newspapers a week for the inserts. That would be $600 where I live, and would certainly eat up all of the savings. I imagine that a lot of newspapers are obtained illegally.

Some of the contestants are horribly greedy too! I love giveaways and once I won several hundred coupons each good for a free yogurt. I love yogurt, but all of my friends and family members who like yogurt got a bunch of coupons from me. I imagine some of these contestants would have used every last one themselves, LOL!

Christina G. said...

Extreme couponing has been going on for as long as there have been coupons. Not surprisingly, it peaks in popularity during recessions. That's when the authorities arrest and prosecute one or two of the worst offenders, in an effort to discourage the practice. Ultimately, a smart consumer knows that it's not how much you save, it's how much you spend.

Tamra Augostino said...

It's too bad that a small handful of couponers ruin it for those who are following the rules. I DO NOT watch Extreme Couponers. I watched it a few times and then stopped watching after my local store changed it policy, which I blame solely on the tv show.

nanoosa.com said...

Absolutely agree. Most corporations have no idea of what happens on the front lines of their own stores. This show, while it is a great show, has exposed extreme couponing to some of those who cannot stand seeing people save money.