April 07, 2011

Response to TLC's "Extreme Couponing"

I use coupons. I live frugally. I save money on items when it is practical & possible, so we can live without the stress, worry or shame of debt.

BUT, I am not an Extreme Couponer.

ex-treme: {adjective}
  • of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average: extreme measures. 
  • exceeding the bounds of moderation
  • going to the utmost or very great lengths in action, habit, opinion, etc
  • Synonyms: excessive, fanatical, uncompromising, unreasonable, radical.
I do not wake up thinking about coupons. I do not dive into dumpsters in order to retrieve coupon inserts that others have thrown away. I do not have a "coupon room" in my house. I do not spend 6-8 hours a day clipping coupons or preparing for a shopping trip.  I do not have 3 years worth of food & toiletries stockpiled throughout my home. I do not buy 1000 boxes at cereal, 300 rolls of toilet paper or 100 bottles of soap just because it's "a good deal". I do not call my store's manager and special order entire cases of pasta, soup or cereal.  I do not shop because of an adrenaline rush that follows buying $900 worth of items for $2 .  I do not showcase my shopping trips because I "think my stockpile is almost as beautiful as my family" (as one extreme couponer on last nights shows said).

Yes, I use coupons, but I am not extreme, fanatical, uncompromising, unreasonable or radical in my process.

I am a practical couponer.

I use coupons in order to provide healthy food, toiletries, clothes, accessories, gifts & access to fun entertainment on a detailed,written budget for my family of three. I do not want the public to assume that everyone who uses coupons in order to stretch their monthly budget is as extreme as the people showcased on TLC's "Extreme Couponing" new series.

What I saw on last night's show was ridiculous. It is NOT REALITY.  In my opinion, the extreme couponers I saw made their largest & most extreme purchases ever just for the show. A few of them actually said, "this is not normal" and "this is my biggest purchase to date". 

So what is the reality of using coupons?
  • Most stores limit how many coupons they will double per transaction/per day
  • Most stores would not allow you to spend 6 hours checking out & split up your items into almost 20 separate transactions.
  • Many stores limit the number of "like" items you can buy per transaction/per day.
  • Many coupons now state how many "like" coupons you are allowed to use per person/per transaction
How much do I buy?
  • Since my family is small, I only buy enough of something to last a few weeks. A reasonable stockpile should last you approximately 6 weeks, since store's sale cycles usually run on a 6 week basis. It will be on sale again!! There is no reason to continue buying  a ton of like items every week just because it's on sale,  because everything will be on sale again in the future! For me, I like to buy enough in one shopping trip to last at least 2 or 3 weeks so I don't have to go shopping again for a few weeks! Not only do I try to save money, I am also trying to save gas & time.
So in the end, I coupon as a means to an end. I don't coupon for the "fun of it", for an adrenaline rush or as my hobby.  And if I ever lose sight of that, then I'll need to admit that couponing, not living frugally & having fun, has taken over my life & that is not ok with me.

So, use coupons. But use them practically.


  1. I thought it was funny it came on between Hoarders... that's what those people were!!

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