Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Couponing to the Extreme

I love TLC's programs-they are incredibly fascinating, whether it's the man touted as having "tree limbs" for arms or the conjoined twins who are getting their drivers license and share one body (and therefore one foot and one arm are controlled by one twin, while the others are controlled by the other twin).  These programs always spark a million questions in me, and poor S has to be subjected to them time and time again.   I can't help it that my brain thinks up these ridiculous scenarios...like with the conjoined twins.  What if they get pulled over...who gets the actual ticket?  If one is drunk or tipsy, can they just say that the other one is driving and sober?  I am NOT trying to be rude or insensitive, but these are my honest questions and i get fixated rather easily.  I need these answers, TLC!

I stumbled upon a marathon of Extreme Couponing-have you seen this yet?  I have one question that none of the episodes addressed.  Do these people use expired coupons??  They must, because they roll up there with a binder full of coupons and completely organized, there's no way they are going through them and getting rid of the expired ones.  And as much as they are saving precious money, think of the time they are spending in there!  This one woman was checking out-checking out-for 2 hours.  Oh my flipping goodness, how much time did she spend shopping, then, to require a 2 hour checking out time?  Another woman had to make 18 different transactions just to use the coupons-how much time and organization does that take?!


tlc

It actually seemed pretty selfish, too-they require a cashier to open a lane specifically for them (because you don't want to get behind that, but why should they not have to wait in any line) they had clerks pushing their carts around the store (one lady had 4 carts) they are depleting the shelves of stock (62 mustards, really?!) making the employees do more work to restock quicker than should be needed, and robbing other customers of the items they came to buy (good thing i hate mustard).

I am all for saving money and being thrifty, you know that.  But i really think there's reasonable time spent on couponing and unreasonable time.  They are for sure saving more money than i am, and good for them.  For all that work they should be.  But that's exactly what it is-work. They are doing it like a full time job, with spreadsheets, and 4 shopping trips per week that take 2 hour check out times each.  I don't envy them that aspect at all.  It isn't laziness that people don't extreme coupon, it's knowing that saving a reasonable amount  of money and putting a practical amount of time into clipping/searching for coupons needs to be balanced with other aspects of one's day.  I began feeling bad about myself that i don't coupon with the intensity that these people do, but in my opinion it is completely unrealistic.  I save lots of money with coupons, and if i do that while checking out for 10 minutes-well, that's an hour and 50 minutes spent doing something more enjoyable. Like cat snuggling. 

And the cost for that?  Yep, that's free.  No coupons necessary!

What about you-coupon clipper?  Extreme couponor?  Can't be bothered?

25 comments:

Kerry said...

The show is insane. B and I always wonder if these people actually eat anything that's fresh... since you NEVER see them buying anything but frozen dinners and cans (and mustard of course).

Did you see the one where the chick had to call a friend to the store to be her "extra body" so that she could use all the coupons she had? There's no way I would be showing up for my friend if I got that call!

We don't really coupon... but have talked about it. It seems the savings here are never quite as good as they are south of the border...

KBraden said...

I agree it's crazy. Like the one lady that bought cat treats and didn't have a cat! Come on! I coupon and I comp ads at Walmart and yes it is time consuming but I plan on how much time I spend doing it. I do stock up on items that are a must and help lower my bill but I never wipe the shelf clean I get maybe 4 tops of said item. Right now I don't have to worry about buying shampoo,toothpaste, soap, and deodrant for the rest of the year. But I have a big family of 8. But seriously 62 bottles of mustard and her husband doesn't even like mustard? I think their is a right way and a wrong way to do it. They to me are going crazy! Plus since this show the coupon values have really went down.

slmphd said...

We don't coupon at all. The amount of savings just aren't there for the products we buy. Most items with coupons are processed foods and chemical cleaners, which we don't use. Wh en I look at the people who cut all if these coupons, I wonder where their priorities are located.

Lisa said...

I love coupons and bargains, but they're crazy. Hubby and I always think it's so dumb because they just have these huge stacks on stuff in their house. If you have 60 tubes of toothpaste, they're going to go bad by the expiration date. So you're really not getting any benefit from them. If you want to spend the time to do all the couponing and then donate your purchases, I think that's great. But I doubt most of them do that.

Annie said...

I used to do "The Grocery Game" where they tell you exactly what do to, and I even said that I'd not buy food that I didn't normally buy, but that totally happened. And while I was doing TGG, I allowed a much unhealthier diet than we're used to. Even TGG was much too much time taken away from things that I'd rather be doing. I'm not a fan. I AM, however, a fan of buying simple, whole foods, and taking the expense out of groceries by doing the labor myself (i.e. it's cheaper to make bread than to buy it already made - although I'm not making bread right now since I have a baby).

I do think, though, that they probably got preferential treatment since they were advertising the stores, perhaps. I don't know.

Chandeen @ Designed by Chance said...

I think all these comments are about right. My hubby and I hardly ever use coupons because we can't get any for the stuff we buy, namely fresh fruits and veggies. Sometimes I come across a coupon, and then realize that it is still cheaper to just buy the normal thing I want. For example my hubby wanted to buy more almond milk, we had a coupon for the silk kind, but his normal brand was cheaper than the silk, with the coupon. You have to watch that stuff.

All that said I love the Bed Bath & beyond 20% off coupons. I stockpile those. They accept expired ones, and they are great for larger purchases.

liz @ bon temps beignet said...

I have seen dozens of episodes of Extreme Couponing. I think that if these people coupon responsibly (ie: don't clear shelves, call ahead to order mass quantities)and it saves *them* money, then more power to 'em. I think these extreme cases are extremely rare, so it doesn't bother me and I certainly don't worry about being at a store with one lurking down each aisle. If someone buys 1,000 containers of cat food/ boxes of pasta/cereal etc, and then donates most of it to the local ASPCA or homeless shelter, then great! The people working at local shelters certainly don't have the time to clip hundreds of coupons. A friend of mine caught the couponing bug and got 97 boxes of pasta for $3.43. She didn't need all that pasta, but the local soup kitchen did, so she donated it.

Basically, I hope these people are using their crazy ass couponing skills for good (donating, sharing) and not evil (hello Hoarders!). Ok, I'm done ranting.

Laurie said...

I agree that most of those people are nuts!!! I 'm all for saving money, but I'm not going to spend 60+ hours a week doing it!! Go get a job if you need money that bad, I say, lol!

I also hate it when they clear the shelves; and like an above commenter said, I think they are affecting how coupons are now, b/c there are less of them, they are crappy and have less value. :-( Some people have to ruin it for everyone!

I've tried couponing, I really have. but I just can't find stuff we use. I always find coupons for cleaning stuff, makeup and cat food!! (yes we clean but not with the stuff found on coupons, we use cheaper stuff in the first place.)

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Extreme couponing is a game to these people. Their 'store house' with all that food going bad drives me nuts. I hope they donate what they can't use in a reasonable time. Why would you buy 62 bottles of mustard that you can't possibly use just because you can get it free? There is something wrong with all that. I wonder about the expiration dates also.

I have used coupons but so many are for products I don't use and won't use. I also figure in the coupon and compare it with store brands and usually even with a coupon store brand is cheaper. My stores don't double so I really do not bother. Oh except diaper coupons now! :)
~~Linda

Erin said...

I'm extremely bothered by that show. To be honest, I haven't (and won't) watch it.

I'm all for couponing and saving money. But what they are doing is legalized stealing in my opinion. Someone in the end has to pay for all those groceries they essentially played the system to get for free....and those people that end up having to pay are the rest of us. It REALLY bothers me.

Lauren said...

That show is crazy! It's like one of those things that you shouldn't watch but if it's on you can't stop watching!! In my opinion those people are just very organized hoarders. Who needs 70 bottles of laundry detergent?? They also buy stuff they don't even need. The only time I was semi okay with it was this woman who donated half of the stuff that she "bought" but otherwise.. you shouldn't need a whole room for your mini supermarket.

Lauren @ 31diy said...

Oh, I've watched that on TLC! I share your sentiments 100%, and I have one more to add: Umm, did they ever stop to think about all of the waste they are generating from these couponing adventures?

One couponer bought 200 (just guessing) bottles of hand soap all because he could get them for pennies on the dollar. That's great for him, but it's not so great for the environment, as there will be 200 additional plastic soap bottles in the landfills. He should use refillable bottles and coupon himself a nice big jug of soap to refill is 1 bottle.

There I said it. I'll get off my soap box now. Pun intended, thank you very much.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

That show is over the top crazy! I do think coupons can save you money, but like anything, you can take it to an extreme. And if you are buying things you really don't want or need, well that's just crazy too. I use coupons occasionally. I just feel it is very time consuming. I wish everything would just be fairly priced and we could do away with all the extra hoops we have to jump through. I love a sale or bargain, but think about it, why should a product cost one price one day and another price the next day.

Mikalah said...

I am totally with you on that! I hate Extreme Couponing. Those people are just one step away from being on the show Hoarders! I wrote in a recent blog post about how I love shopping at Aldi- their prices are pretty much consistently 50% off of regular grocery store prices. I also shop at Sam's Club, where I can get larger amounts of food a lot cheaper and save that way. Couponing just hasn't worked for me, because they are always for things I don't buy! Who needs 50 bottles of toothpaste anyways?!?!?

Dharma said...

I'm with Erin...it's a game that is tantamount to stealing. I collect a small handful of consumer company coupons monthly, take them with me to the store because I actually USE and NEED the items. I probably save up to $20.00 on products per month. It's $20.oo in my purse for a coffee and treats for the boys and I didn't take 4.5 hours to checkout. Geez.

Rachel said...

I am a coupon clipper when I have time! There has been SO much negative talk about this show on my coupon deal blogs I read. I started couponing last year in Sept, and I was able to save almost $2,000 in 4 months! It is a great feeling being able to save and even get some items for free (using coupons and sales).I have a stockpile (a small one) where I keep some products my hubby and I use on hand. It is nice to have one ready to go and not have to run to the store. Plus I get those items when they are on a good sale! I've been able to give away some of my stockpile, which if I would have paid full price, I would not have been able to afford it! Even though I like it, I would not put in the time like the extereme couponers do...there is so much more to life than who can get the most mustards.

Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) said...

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Have a great week:)

CalypsoInTheCountry said...

I only use coupons for paper products, toothpaste, etc. We don't eat lot of processed foods so couponing wouldn't really work for us! I hope the people on these shows at least donate some of their "stock" to food pantries and things instead of hoard it all!

Anny said...

Mustard lady pissed me off. She is the reason I can't get one free mustard - because she is buying all this stuff! Did you hear her husband say he didn't even like mustard? I am with you on buying what you can consume/gift but anything else is excess.

CityMom2 said...

Sounds like Hoarding or OCD to me! They deserve to wait in line with each other.
You just snuggle your kitty kat honey. Life's simple pleasures are priceless.
(I do hoard craft store 40% off coupons - but nothing less than 40)
Citymom

Jennifer said...

I don't have that kind of time either! It is nice to have extra items, but I will not hoard! Coupon amounts have gone down since the coupon craze. I also don't cook a lot of processed food, so its not worth my time. Thank you for stopping by my blog :)

Jen
www.dishesandsocks.com

J said...

I agree. That sounds like they have some kind of problem. I mean, I don't know if I would use that much mustard in my lifetime (not to mention it would eventually expire).

I tried clipping coupons but always forgot to actually take them to the store. The only ones I ever really use are for diapers. They're usually pretty good.

Lana said...

SO NOT a coupon clipper! Maybe if I find a great deal on something that I already purchase, but in general I think it is a trap to buy more stuff I would not have put in my cart otherwise. I wonder if all the excess food they buy could be donated to a food pantry in the community. THEN I might get behind the idea!

Jen@Notes From the Heartland said...

I've never been much of a clipper...now that my mom is retired she clips all kinds for me and mails them to me! Isn't she adorable? There is a balance in life and I don't see the payoff. The things I buy rarely have coupons...organic, fresh fruits and vegetables, bread...get my meat from a meat guy, so none there. Spend more time with your kids wacko coupon clippers!!

Oonafey said...

I don't use coupons, but only because I'm not sure how. There never seem to be coupons for the things I want and I'm picky. Hell, I used to go to three seperate grocery stores just to get the specific brands/items G and I liked. J is much less picky, so I don't have to do that anymore...