May 02, 2011

Extreme Couponing

Have you watched Extreme Couponing on TLC, yet? It airs on a night I typically work and isn't available On Demand, so it took me awhile to catch an episode. I am always looking for ways to save money at the grocery store. Unfortunately, this show doesn't have the tips I thought it would.
Some of the "couponers" have very meticulous systems. One woman said she spends at least 20 hours a week on her coupons. If only I had that kind of time. The thing that really bothered me about the show is that even if you have that kind of time to devote to clipping and sorting coupons, checking them against ads, etc., you're still probably not going to walk away with $400 worth of groceries for $10. Why? Well, I don't know about the grocery stores you frequent, but the stores I go to don't have the same policies as the stores these "extreme couponers" use. Most stores, at least the ones I go to, won't let you use more than one of the same coupon, no matter how many of the same item you're buying. The one store I frequent will let you use up to three of the same coupon (as long as you're buying three of that item), but not the 10+ the people on the show are getting away with. Am I going to the wrong stores, or are these shoppers being allowed to this because they're being followed by TV cameras?
For now, I'm not going to be able to be an extreme couponer. I'll just have to stick to my shopper's card deals and on-line and newspaper clipped coupons... and whatever tips you feel like providing in the comments!

11 comments:

MaryAnne said...

I've never tried more than three of the same coupon, but even then it's stretching things from the stores I shop at's point of view. And when you count the hours extreme couponing requires, the return rate isn't very good (although I haven't seen the show, so maybe it is for the people on the show!) My other issue is that coupons are rarely for healthy food...

Quadmama said...

Good point about the healthy food. I always get excited when my store sends me "loyalty coupons" and there's a coupon for x amount off produce. Lately I've found sticking to store brands is still cheaper than using coupons.

Christina said...

That show is crazy, and Ive never even seen it lol. There was a post on Multiples and More on facebook (a link from another site) about how they "cheat" and it's not what it seems....I don't buy it. =)

Quadmama said...

I read on a message board that one of the people in the first show cheated on the show. Basically she was giving the cashier coupons for products she didn't buy and convincing the cashier to use them.

Brooke said...

I hear ya. We have one grocery store that doubles coupons but their overall prices are more expensive. I find it's cheaper to shop store brands and cheaper stores and use coupons here and there - and JUST for stuff I would have purchased anyway.

Tara said...

The problem I had with the show was the stores were doubling coupons over the value of the item. Here in Michigan (Detroit/Flint area) stores will double coupons up to the cost of the item, but they won't give you money to take the item home.

Quadmama said...

Good point. The stores where I live will double anything up to $.50. After that, they just give you $1.00 off, so if you have a coupon for $.55 off, it's rounded to $1.00, not doubled to $1.10.

Angela said...

I don't have time to go Krazy, but I like to check out wwwdotthekrazycouponladydotcom to find some amazing deals in stores I already go to. And it is for non-perishables. I got some yummy body wash for $.04!

I don't see anything healthy on the extreme couponing shows that I would buy. And the surplus is outrageous! I get that they're doing it for the show, but come on! Unless you're donating it like that one guy what's the point?

Quadmama said...

I'll have to check out the site you mentioned. I'm pretty sure some of the people on the show are hoarders, although I thought it was great that through couponing one man donated $50,000 worth of goods to our troops last year.

Angela said...

That was awesome!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I have watched a couple episodes, and I just feel like they're presenting an incomplete story. I know that may be their intent, just to focus on the couponing and not present the entire story, which is fine...but I would love to see them profile one of the families more indepth to see how they actually use all that stuff.

Why in the world would one family need 150 bottles of BBQ sauce, or salad dressing, or boxes of cereal...even if they were free??? As one of the other commenters mentioned, the vast majority of coupons are for processed foods, which - although I use my share - I try to make the biggest part of our diet from fresh meat and produce. It gives me heebie-jeebies to think about feeding that much processed stuff to my family! :)

As for coupon tips, my best one is that the coupon codes are actually pretty general, not usually specific for the item pictured. You may have a coupon for $1.00 off the super-duper Cr.est toothpaste, and $.50 off regular Cr.est. Most likely the $1.00 off will work on any Cr.est. Codes are written specific to quantities - if it says you have to buy two, then there's no way around that (to my knowledge). But if your coupon is so much off a 40oz bottle of dish detergent, it will probably work on the 20oz bottle, too.

I also take the time to call manufacturers if I have a question, comment, or complaint. With a complaint, they'll usually send a high-value replacement coupon. And with comments or questions, they'll often offer to send a few coupons...or I'll ask if they would mind. Particularly with diapers, I call Pam.pers when we have leaks. I am sitting on probably $20 in coupons at any one time. (Of course I was spending many times that in the girls' hayday!) :)

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