Thursday, March 31, 2011

Extreme Couponing

Extreme Couponers--Be warned, you might not like what you read below.  It is my opinion, and I certainly mean no offense.  Please know that I am not trying to criticize you as an individual, just my impressions of Extreme Couponing, I apologize in advance if you feel attacked.

While at my mother-in-law's house, with all of its glorious cable, my sister in law informed me about an upcoming show on TLC called Extreme Couponing.  We don't have cable, so I knew that I wasn't going to be able to watch it, but I was intrigued, and truthfully hoped to be inspired.  So the other night, while dreading cutting & organizing a vat of coupons I looked up TLC's website hoping to get motivated.

To be fair, I haven't seen a full episode, but in general I was quite horrified by the clips.  With the exception of one woman, it appeared to me while most of these people were saving a lot of money, and getting A LOT OF STUFF with their coupons...they were keeping it all for themselves.
These people had HOARDS of STUFFHOARDS.  See the picture above?  That's an actual picture of a pantry of one of these extreme couponers.  See the three boxes on the floor?  ALL DEODORANT.  Yes, it is an amazing deal, but in your entire lifetime could you use all of it?

 Coupons are definitely free money, and I certainly find value in using them, but what is the benefit in buying so much?  I too like to stock up when things are a great deal, but I don't want to become a shopaholic or a hoarder just because I can get a good deal.  And I couldn't help but think while these couponers proudly showed off their converted garages, holding $10-$15,000 worth of goods...What about your neighbors?  In these hard times, I understand the feeling of wanting to stockpile while gas prices soar, and food prices rise, but what about helping people who have NO FOOD?

I feel like learning how to coupon well is a skill, or in the case of these people, a true gift.  I don't pretend to be half as skilled as they are, and I certainly can't get $500 worth of food for free no matter how hard I try. But if I have excess, I like to pass it along to people who need it more than I do.  I just really wish that the show highlighted the positive impact that these people could make on their community, instead of showing how great it is to hoard.

Now don't get me wrong, if the apocalypse comes tomorrow maybe I'll be knocking on my extreme couponing neighbor's door begging for a year's supply of ketchup, gatorade, or ramen noodles; but in the mean time, I think I'll stick to only buying what we can use, and donating the excess.  And I encourage you to do the same.


  1. And sometimes the stuff one can get for free is just junk I wouldn't buy anyway!

  2. In the initial show, one of the people featured bought several pallets of cereal - a couple thousands boxes, I believe. He had them delivered to his home and left on his driveway. After which, the local food bank came along and picked up the cereal. Other than that (I've watched a couple of the shows now), I see these extreme couponers fall into two categories - either they are compulsive shoppers with a "need" to shop/spend and have simply found a way to satisfy their fix w/o going into debt or they were hit hard by a financial downfall (lost a job, single parent trying to survive) and began couponing out of necessity and now find security in their massive stockpiles. Either way, they are accumulating and keeping for themselves waaaaay too much and, yes, should absolutely be donating some of their excess.

    What I also find absolutely astounding (and sad) is the amount of paper towels and cleaning supplies these people accumulate and use. Everytime I see the huge piles of these things I think, "And all that goes into the landfills". :(