This topic contains 58 replies, has 34 voices, and was last updated by  tidygirl 5 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #159229

    repete
    Member

    I caught part of an episode of Extreme Couponing on TV. These people seemed to be saving tons of money, but weren’t using the stuff they bought. They were showing off their storage rooms full of unused merchandise and they seemed really proud of themselves.

    I don’t get it. Am I missing something?

  • #184188

    Ella
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I’ve never seen the show, but you have accurately described my older sister, from whom I have been estranged since she refused to acknowledge the death of our mother 12 years ago (but that’s a whole nother story). When I last visited my sister in her 3-bedroom mobile home, one entire bedroom was completely outfitted with metal shelving and stocked like a Mini Mart with canned food, housecleaning supplies, and personal care items. She chuckled with deep satisfaction as she took me down the aisles and showed off, for example, her stacks of toothpaste boxes for only 19 cents apiece after coupons, and the rows of bathtub cleanser, bins of spices, and towers of toilet paper. The Nirvana of all couponing are the items she got for FREE, woo-hoo. It was scary.

    From her numerous co-workers, she gathers the coupon sections that come in the mail and Sunday newspaper. Then she spends her weekends going around to all the major supermarkets in the greater Los Angeles area, finagling for the best deals. Couponing is her passion and has been for years. I am nothing at all like her, and she didn’t inherit couponing or hoarding from our parents. Go figure.

  • #184189

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Weird, I was just thinking about this topic just a few minutes ago. I rarely use coupons, but I did today because I had some good ones for a few things that we needed.

    I haven’t seen the show, but I’ve seen photos of people’s hoards. What I typically see is a lot of packaged, processed foods. We don’t eat that way, so except for the occasional coupon I come across, there is no point to seek them out.

  • #184191

    luxcat
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Funny, I have seen this show and thought the same thing. On some shows they do show a few people giving items away to food pantries, shelters, churches and other people who can use 100 tubes of toothpaste…

    The other thing I can’t get is the amount of time (and sometimes money) these people spend on their couponing. When I figured it out to a conservative hourly basis and rough expenses (printing, etc) it really doesn’t pay off all that much. Maybe if you factor it in as a “paying hobby” ??? I’m all for coupons, but the extreme thing didn’t make sense to me.

  • #184193

    jbeany
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I watched some of the clips online. Those women have serious OCD. Really, I can understand it to a certain extent for those with huge families and small budgets. I clipped coupons and organized my shopping according to the sale fliers while I was sick and unable to work. It helped stretch my budget and I needed all the help I could get living on less than $10,000 a year. I think the best I ever did was about $165 worth for $25, because a new supermarket was opening in town, and the established store did triple coupons and all kinds of BOGO sales that week. But I still only bought stuff I knew I’d use and that I liked. None of it ever got stockpiled for long, though – we ate it or used it immediately because we needed it!

    Seriously, the clip of the women with the entire underside of her king sized bed stacked with cereal boxes and her bedroom closet stuffed full of granola bars and packaged snacks grossed me out. Talk about a giant sign that says “Rodents Welcome!” And you’d never be able to kill them – all the preservatives in the snacks would make them live forever!

  • #184197

    loripax
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I don’t get it, either. I spend about a minute each week flipping through the coupons in the Sunday paper and rarely see any for anything we use — usually $1 off our brand of cat food, maybe once every six weeks or so. (That’s $10/hour for those of you keeping track, and thus probably not even worth my time to do that.)

    The vast majority of food for which there are coupons is overpriced, overprocessed junk food, anyway. I don’t understand the delight in getting garbage at a discount, even if it’s free or almost free. It’s like buying an ugly, itchy shirt because it was “only” $5.

  • #184207

    Extreme Couponing

    I also flip through the Sunday paper and clip coupons for things we use and need NOW — lately there have been $1 off coupons for Silk soy milk and there is usually a coupon for olive oil when we need it. Usually the store brands are cheaper and just as good. I couldn’t imagine spending more than 10 minutes a week on this!

    We save the most money by buying things when they are in season / on sale. 99 cent green beans at Sun harvest this week — never buy them when they are almost $3 a pound.

  • #184222

    bandicoot
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    i would cut expenses anywhere and everywhere before i cut costs or quality on our food.
    i figure everything else can sacrificed before we start eating processed crap.
    i would cut off the internet and stop travelling. seriously.
    we eat seasonal, local, organic and whole, as much as we can, without being total bores or snobs or fanatical maniacs about it.
    we both enjoy good health, and i know without a doubt that good food is a factor…plus some lucky roll-of-the-dice genetic action of course.
    extreme couponing looks pointless and aimless to me…just another addiction. or malfunction, or something. or a consumer sport.
    maybe i could understand if there was fresh food and organic chickens at the end of it.
    but how much toothpaste does one household need?

  • #184225

    Parsifal
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I too find these shows ridiculous. Sure, it must be nice to clip coupons for 3 weeks then spend 30 minutes in the checkout line to buy 471 dollars worth of groceries for 7 cents, but wouldn’t it be more efficient to just GET A JOB, work for one week, buy the dang groceries, and take the next two weeks off?

    Also, these schemes often rely on having the stores double and triple most of the coupons and from what I’ve read online, these people are often told after a while to shop elsewhere because of gaming the system.

  • #184242

    Extreme Couponing

    I am so glad a thread was started for this topic. I have some friends who are addicted to extreme couponing and have even started purchasing the coupons off of eBay. Did you know you can buy coupon lots because the sellers state that they are selling their “time” to clip them, which makes it legal?

    Anyways, they get items really, really cheap. But the time invested, as well as the money for the subscription to the newspaper to get the coupons and the money spent to buy them makes me question: Did you actually save money on that jar of free mayo that will expire before you can use it?

    And like many have mentioned, most of the items are not good for you in the first place. Who needs 20 cans of Spaghetti-Os or 10 boxes of Pop Tarts? I would rather spend the money on healthy foods. One of my friends mentioned that you can purchase meats cheaper because the meat manager will slap a coupon on them when they get old. Who wants old meat?

    I clip coupons occasionally, when my parents, who already subscribe to the newspaper, give me the coupon inserts. Occasionally I will get $1 off of a Maybelline mascara or a few bucks off of paper towels. But I don’t go crazy.

  • #184243

    pkilmain
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I don’t subscribe to a newspaper,and when I do come across the coupon pages, there’s seldom anything I need or use regularly. We had one of the two grocery stores in town build a new store and they had great opening specials – on things I actually want, like eggs, olive oil, and some meats. In addition, they had a 10% off your entire order on the opening day. That’s my kind of coupon! But ordinarily I don’t worry about coupons and just take note of the things on sale. Do your grocery stores now give you coupons that are targeted to you with your receipt? Most of the ones they give me seem to miss the target, though occasionally I get one I can use (like for contact lens solution).

  • #184245

    Extreme Couponing

    @pkilmain The grocery stores in my area print out coupons that are supposed to target the buyer as well. I worked for a supermarket while I was in college and I found out that those coupons missed the target on purpose. The computer takes note of what you purchase and a rival brand gives you a coupon to persuade you to try their brand. It’s such a game. I wish coupons and bonus cards would be done away with completely and that the stores would just charge better prices from the start!

  • #184247

    Extreme Couponing

    Music: I have a background in marketing, and coupons are a way of making pricing flexible without diminishing the perceived value of the product. They can be especially persuasive in introducing new products or having people switch to a different brand (hence the coupons on the back of the receipt for something different but similar . . .) Auto dealers haggle. Colleges offer aid packages based on financial need. It’s all the same premise.

    One clutter-producing technique at our local store (we only have ONE grocery chain in a city of 1.3 million — they drove everyone else out) is “buy this get that free.” We have “meal deals” every week which involve buying the main course, typically a big pack of meat, and then getting 6 or 7 other items free (but the 5 lbs. of fajita meat and get the tortillas, cheese, avocado, cheese, lettuce, a jar of salsa and a liter of soda free.) Or, buy the name brand loaf of bread and get the store brand free. Or just buy one thing and get another — over christmas, it was buy a pack of pecans and get a jar of marshmallow fluff free (the ingredients for a popular fudge.) Or buy something and get $1 off something else (buy ground beef and get $1 off off produce.) DH, in particular, has a REALLY, REALLY hard time turning down the free stuff if the main item is something we were going to buy anyway. That’s why the Mail Carriers food drive is getting 3 jars of fluff.

  • #184248

    Rosa
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I LOVE the coupons on the back of the receipt, actually. I don’t have a lot of brand loyalty, or change my buying habits much from month to month, so the similar-but-different is great. Our local big box store also gives coupons for nearby businesses – restaurants, salons, movie theater, oil change, video rental – since they’re in our neighborhood they’re often places I already go, or had already intended to go. I’ve found some great local businesses that way.

    I would have brought them up before, but I totally don’t think of those as “coupons” because I don’t really seek out coupons, but i often use those.

  • #184259

    Astreja
    Participant

    Extreme Couponing

    I hate cluttering up my wallet with coupons, and half the time I forget to use them anyway. Once in a while there’s a really good one (at least $1.00 off) for something that we do normally buy, and we keep an eye out for it when we go shopping.

    It’s such a relief when the coupons are finally used up and gone. The idea of actually spending time to accumulate them strikes me as profoundly weird.

  • #184273

    Extreme Couponing

    @susanintexas That definitely makes sense and I totally see it as being a great marketing tool. I just feel that coupons stress me out. Sometimes I forget to use them, get mad when I don’t have one, etc. But your explanation was a good one and I appreciate it! I guess I just have personal issues with coupons.

    @Astreja I feel the EXACT same way. I feel such relief when they are used up and out of my wallet – one less piece of clutter in my life!

  • #184276

    repete
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    @Parsifal Since I first posted, I read that sometimes the stores break their own rules when the show is filming, so what you’re saying makes sense.

    @themusiclivez I’m really surprised that people buy coupons. I’ve never heard of that.

    So I’m not alone in not “getting” this show. I do clip coupons, but only for stuff I would have bought anyway and I toss the ones I forgot to use after I’ve gone grocery shopping (less frustration that way). I have the uncomfortable feeling that some of the people on this show will make their next television appearance on Hoarders. It’s all very sad.

  • #184277

    Extreme Couponing

    @karen I agree with you on the hoarders comment. I can already see that with my friends. They will never use the stuff they buy before it goes bad. They don’t look at it as a waste of food/time/money for purchasing coupons.

  • #184284

    pkilmain
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Today I went grocery shopping, and there was a store coupon – hanging right in front of an item – for buy 1, get the second half off, so since I was buying it anyway, I got two. When the guy rang my order, it wouldn’t honor the coupon. “Oh” he says, “you only got one.” “No,” says I, “I have two.” Sure enough he looked in my bag and there were two. He apparently didn’t ring one up. So he corrected it all and I went on my way, kicking myself for being honest. I would have gotten the second free, instead of half off. Oh well, I was brought up to do the right thing and it would have been on my conscience. πŸ™‚

  • #184292

    margaret
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    This is a link to an article that discusses coupon fraud that probably occured in the first episode:

    http://www.jillcataldo.com/node/16258

  • #184293

    repete
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Here’s another link to a blog post about problems with the show
    http://www.southernsavers.com/2011/04/extreme-couponing-tlc-review-not-a-reality/

  • #184299

    Parsifal
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Excellent information. I don’t know for a fact if I’ve ever seen anyone do that (intentionally misuse coupons based on partial bar codes) but it might explain why I got in line behind a lady who was almost done yesterday and ended up waiting 10 minutes while she dickered with the cashier over every coupon…

  • #184371

    marniep
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Did you know they sell coupons on EBAY!

  • #184372

    ninakk
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    This is so sad. And eBay??? Good lord. Unfortunately I have to schlep around a few loyal-customer cards in my wallet at all times to catch any sales going on, but on the other hand it means no couponing. I don’t know when I used one the last time really. It’s more common to enrol in a loyal-customer program of a chain or similar and then get a reduction when paying for the purchases and this is what I need to start doing more; read the store web pages and check their special offers out before deciding the weekly menu on Saturdays. Can’t wait until I’m back home in June, I’m all happy about this frugal bug already. Bite me, please.

    Edit: Denmark doesn’t do coupons as far as I know, either, but they have this really bad system (if you’re a one-person household like I am currently). You have to buy two or three to get a cheaper price – makes me very happy. It’s almost never “Buy this and get 50% off”.

  • #207989

    Zora
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Yesterday I was stuck in the checkout line behind a couponer. Took ages. Then I had to go to customer service (why don’t you carry Bon Ami cleanser any longer?) and there she was — RETURNING many of the items she had just bought, and having the credits put on her credit card. Again, took ages.

    I wonder now if she was using this ploy to buy food with a food stamp debit card (US anti-poverty program) and then turn it into money she could spend any way she pleased. I’ve heard of people buying whole cases of soda with their food stamps, then selling the soda for drug money.

    Not to diss people on food stamps. I’m one of them. I’m old, crippled, poor, and wouldn’t be surviving without them. I spend my allotment on food πŸ™‚

  • #207992

    nws2002
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    @Zora — When I worked at a grocery store in college we could only do returns to the method of payment used. Items purchased on an EBT account could only be returned to the same account. I guess they could say they didn’t have a receipt and receive store credit, but honestly that didn’t happen often and I worked at the customer service desk.

  • #207994

    Zora
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Hmmm. So she was being honest when she told the woman at the service desk that she had to buy four boxes of cereal to get the savings, but had to return two because she didn’t need four.

    Still a lot of bother to save a few cents!

  • #207997

    ninakk
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    They’ve started the blasted “two for one” here now, too. Not all offers yet but some, and I bet it will increase since they get more stuff out of the house that way. Bah.

  • #208000

    nws2002
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    We have one store locally that does 10 for $10 all the time. Usually the products are a good deal, but I rarely need 10 of them. I tried buying just the amount I needed and asking for the sale price of $1, but was told I had to purchase 10.

  • #208006

    Ella
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I love BedBath&Beyond for their generous coupons that never expire: either 20% off any item, or $5 off an item over $15. Their items are deep-discounted already, so the extra savings is gravy. The coupons arrive in the mail about once a month per member. I enrolled my cat as a member, so we get two coupons. Am I morally corrupt?

    My old toaster oven recently blew out one of its functions… no more “oven” but only toast. I have my eye on a new Breville toaster oven at the BB&B discounted price of $250… it would be only $200 with the 20% coupon.

  • #208007

    NYCPakRat
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Food banks can really use those extras in this economy!

  • #208012

    Extreme Couponing

    Our stores must be weird — for the most part, if something is X for $Y, you get the same price if you only buy one.

    Ella — I think we have a BB&B gift card — have to check πŸ™‚ We got it when we had a bunch of wedding presents to buy, and it was spend a bunch and get a $50 gift card for yourself.

  • #208014

    Extreme Couponing

    Our local grocery does the 10 for $10, but you don’t have to actually buy 10 to get them for the sale price of $1. They also have a thing where if you buy 10 participating items you get 50 cents back on each one ($5 off at the register) and they generally have several dozen items included in the participation so it’s easy to buy 10. Our other grocery does the 2 for $xx, but if you buy one they halve the $xx price, so it’s all good.

    I look at the money I could supposedly save couponing and compare it to the money I could make in the amount of time it would take to coupon that aggressively, and it’s not a good tradeoff.

  • #208024

    lucy1965
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    @Ella — check the fine print on the bottom of the coupon. When I was receiving them from BB&B, there was a list of brands for which the coupon couldn’t be used, and I seem to remember that Breville was one of them. I hope that’s changed, as my kettle’s starting to play up!

  • #208043

    Ella
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    lucy: Thanks for the heads-up. I checked. Breville is not listed among the excluded brands. πŸ™‚

  • #208111

    Lyerin
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I can’t imagine expending the energy on doing this. More power to people who actually make use of those mounds of goods, but I won’t be joining them. I’m all for using a coupon on something that I would already be buying or that I can use, but I don’t have the desire to devote any of my space to storing 1,000 rolls of toilet paper!

  • #208113

    Hansi
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I use coupons but not to the extreme. I live alone in Sweden and live next to the shop, I see whats cheap and good and buy whatever I am in the mood for and is on sale. And because i’m a chef I can make something out of almost nothing (good when you want to live cheap). Sometimes I spend good money but thats only to treat myself.

  • #208118

    poodle
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    @Ella: Did you know that at Bed, Bath and Beyond, you can use a coupon for each item that you’re purchasing? If you have 10 items, you can use 10 coupons. I’ve even used them for bottled drinks. 20% is still 20%. And, if you have a $15 or more item in your buggy, you can use the $5 coupon in addition to the 20% coupons for the other items!! My mom went shopping there last Christmas. Before the coupons, her total was over $200. After the coupons, it was about $100. I get coupons at my house. When my parents get them, I confiscate them. When my neighbor gets them, she passes them on. It’s great!

    I clip coupons, but I’m not extreme or a hoarder. I have the delivered to my email inbox, and I look through the packets in the Sunday paper. I’m on a fixed income, so I try to save any place that I can. I also price match. By the time I get to the big box store, the cashiers have already seen the ads, so they don’t always ask to see it. Sometimes they do. It depends on the person. I had one cashier a while back that studied the entire add like I was trying to get one over on her to save 20 cents. I had even circled the item. And she tried to copp an attitude with me. One day, I had $15 in coupons and $10 in price matches! It was great! Until I got cash when I paid, then the total was back up to where it was originally. But, the savings were still there.

  • #208239

    liag
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I learned that BB&B will also let you use their expired coupons. I saw my sister-in-law do so. They have high prices, but are generous with the coupons. And they have most household items I need without chasing around the city.

  • #208240

    irishbell
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    And you can use more than one coupon at a time- last time there I usd 3 on 3 different items.

  • #208313

    Ginger
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    My mom and I tried the “extreme couponing” thing a few years ago. It lasted for about two weeks and then we gave it up. It’s a whole lot of work and most of the grocery items that are “free” are processed food which we do not eat. Lol

    I still search for discounts/coupons/wait for sales but ONLY for things I really want or need. If I notice a good sale on things that I normally buy on a regular basis then I’ll stock up. Other things like razors are still worth coupon/sale hunting and clipping for.

    I do around 90% of my clothing shopping online and always play around/search for discount codes, sales and free shipping offers when I’m ready to buy something.

    Right now I’m employed at a craft store and have FUN- coupons can be stacked with employee discount lol!!

  • #208423

    poodle
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I don’t have the time or energy to go all over town to different grocery stores to save 30 cents for a pack of cheese. I clip coupons and price match as much as I can.

  • #233265

    atwalsh
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I am just starting to get into couponing! I was wondering what advice you could give me on how to keep my coupons organized, and ways to collect them

  • #233292

    Extreme Couponing

    Couponing: figure out your hourly pay rate. Then figure out how long it takes to collect, sort, store and use coupons. Include driving time and opportunity costs.

  • #233304

    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    We don’t have coupons. It sounds like a lot of effort to save a little. I am sure that the shops come out of it ahead in some way, possibly by charging more on other items.

  • #233308

    gailbon
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I spend about an hour per week clipping coupons and matching them to my local stores sales circulars. With very little time or effort, I haven’t paid a dime for brown rice, canned tomatoes, beans, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, body wash, razors, etc., in years. In this economy, it would be foolish to throw away money on items you intend to buy and use anyway.
    However, the “Extreme Couponers” have given those of us who use coupons a bad reputation. I would never resort to fraud to get free stuff, or clutter up our home with items we do not intend to use.

  • #233314

    ceduke
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    All I can think of when I see this thread is how ANNOYING it is to get in line behind someone who has 384914 coupons and wants to dicker over every little thing and make their transaction take 40x longer than it should. I generally go into a store and want to grab what I’m there for and go….I have my wallet out and ready by the time I get to the front of the line…then I’m stuck behind Clippy McCoupons for twenty minutes so they can save 50 cents on their pop tarts. No thank you.

    This is SUCH a problem at the convenience store we can see from our house that hubby and I have started going to the store a mile away specifically to avoid it. It’s usually faster to go to the other one too, which is pathetic.

  • #233321

    luxcat
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    “Clippy McCoupons”

    I just laughed so hard I snorted wine up my nose.

  • #233322

    Ella
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    *hangs head in shame*
    I went to Bed Bath & Beyond today, bought 4 items using 4 coupons, one for each item, and saved a big pile o’ dough. Whew, it’s a good thing nobody was behind me, ‘specially not ceduke. πŸ™

  • #233323

    ceduke
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Hey, I use those BB&B ones too, and they don’t take half an hour to ring through!! πŸ˜€

  • #233325

    ceduke
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    If I came across extra snippy, it’s because I logged in straight from a trio to the “convenience” store where I got behand a lady who was…

    “This coupon expired?! Was there a new one in this week’s listing, can we check… *flipping through coupon book AT THE COUNTER”

    “I thought this could be used for any product from this brand, not just the one pictured…”

    “can we do three transactions so I can use three of this ‘limit one per’ coupon?”

    “I was SURE I had one for that, let me quintuple-chck…”

    I’m not a patient person on my best day, this was not my best day, and I wound up putting down my single bag of M&Ms and leaving the store. Which was probably good, I don’t need a pound of M&Ms on a stressed out headachey evening, I’d eat them all!

  • #233389

    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    I wish we had a “like” button for “Clippy McCoupons”!! Laugh out loud moment.

  • #233397

    Parsifal
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    This fad is totally ridiculous.

    First, as others have noted, there is no point in buying something at 90% ‘off’ if you’re never going to use it.

    Second, spending 5 hours per week clipping coupons to save an extra 20% on a $200 grocery bill is only worthwhile if your time is worth next to nothing.

    Finally, people who make a big stink about getting to double and triple coupons and clear out an entire shelf of the same item are a big part of the reason a lot of stores have really pulled back on coupon deals.

    And don’t get me started on con artists who download lists of UPC codes that scan as discounted stuff but actually cost less (so that you can get the item totally free with a rebate)…

  • #233479

    gailbon
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    @ceduke, still LOL-ing over Clippy McCoupons!

  • #233482

    ceduke
    Member

    Extreme Couponing

    Glad to have provided a chuckle or two. πŸ™‚

  • #234158

    tidygirl
    Member

    Actually, I find it very interesting to get behind someone who redeems coupons. I like to see how much they got off their total.
    Around here there is one store that offers to double coupons up to .99 cents. Also, I price match items at Wal-Mart.
    As others have pointed out, it would be false economy to use coupons for purchases you don’t normaly use, but when I can get sizeable reductions on items like meat, poultry, dairy, fruit and vegetables, it’s worth the little time it takes to get the coupons and price matching list together.

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