I hate extreme couponers

June 1, 2011 · 65 comments

My twitter feed was abuzz yesterday with a bunch of PF bloggers talking about a new show on TLC, “Extreme Couponing.” I watched it last night for my first time and I have to be honest with you, I hated everything about it. EVERYTHING.

In last night’s episode, one of the featured extreme couponers bought $1,800 worth of merchandise. After giving the cashier over 500 coupons, her grand total came out to $104. Homegirl walked away with $1,696 worth of free crap.

But who wants crap? I don’t care how much you save, there is no reason you need 97 bags of croutons. No joke, she bought 97 bags of croutons!!!! I watched two episodes last night and have zero desire to see another. There is nothing practical, logical, or admirable about buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need, even if that stuff is virtually free.

Maybe I’m weird, but if someone approached me today and was like “Hey Ninja, I’d like to sell you 58 bottles of laundry detergent for $8.50″, I’d politely respond “What the hell-o am I going to do with 58 bottles of laundry detergent?”

These extreme couponers are no different than Hoarders. Their houses look more like grocery stores than homes. One ladies bathtub was full of hundreds of rolls of paper towel, another had to keep her canned food on a rack in her bedroom, one had over 1,200 coupon magazines in her garage, and my personal favorite; a women who had over 20 bags of cat food…AND SHE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A CAT!!!!

I don’t know if I’m as upset with the show as I am with all the PFers out there that seem to think these extreme couponers are cool. What is cool about getting 70 bottles of mustard for free? I was majorly disappointed because I was expecting to learn tips and tricks to save on our everyday grocery bill, but instead I just learned I can occasionally get 200 jars of pickles for $3. LAME.

The only person who didn’t totally annoy me was a lady that uses her extreme couponing for a greater good. Charity. No human being needs 40 boxes of cereal on reserves, but the local food bank could definitely use them. So if you are an extreme couponer who gives away 90% of your haul, then I commend you for being awesome. If you are keeping it all for yourself, I think you have serious hoarding issues.

If anyone wants to point me in the direction of more practical couponing tactics I’d be stoked, cause Girl Ninja and I would definitely enjoy cutting our grocery bill in half. That is as long as I don’t have to buy 232 rolls of toilet paper to get a deal.

Have you seen the show? Am I the only one that thinks these extreme couponers are crazy? Do you coupon? If so, is it possible to do so without having to buy a bunch of stuff you don’t need? How much does it save you?

1 Kristin

Even though the people they feature on this show usually do have ridiculous hoards of stuff, my roommates and I are convinced that when these people actually film the show, they go way over the top. It’s always the “biggest haul ever” for them, and they always end up breaking the cash register and not being prepared for it. Maybe they usually buy stuff they need on regular trips, but for the show, they’ll buy 97 bags of croutons. Or they only buy ten or so types of item that they have tons of coupons for, they just get hundreds of that type on filming day. Not that a lot of them don’t hoard products, but I think the show distorts it to a degree.

Those deals always seem to include tons of soda, powerade, or vitamin water. I refuse to buy that stuff – it’s sugar, salt, and colors and flavoring, and my dentist told me it was destroying my teeth. Also, if it takes you 5 hours to check out because you had to make 18 separate transactions, all your produce or frozen items you got a huge deal on are going to be spoiled. That stuff isn’t supposed to be left unrefrigerated for more than an hour or something between transport, cooking, and cleaning up leftovers. Fail!

My roommates and I don’t get a regular newspaper, so we almost never have coupons. We wonder how much the coupons offset the cost of their daily or weekly newspapers. The only coupons I seem to use on a regular basis are the CVS extrabucks that you get with your receipt and your loyalty card. The ones I get from the grocery store with my receipt often aren’t products I usually buy.

2 Kristin

Also, do you pronounce the word “CUE-pon” or “COO-pon”? I always pronounce it “COO-pon”, and that’s the way the announcer says it, but it seems most of the people being profiled say it the other way.

3 Iris

I am a COOponer

4 Mike

I just blogged about this a few days ago, and I thought the same thing. These people are not cool– they are clinical!
Buy what you need. Build up a small stockpile. Then stop shopping, people!

5 Annabelle

I haven’t seen the show but have read so much about it I feel like I have. Anyway, I think most people could save more money by just buying sensible ingredients (i.e. flour, vegetables, eggs) than stockpiling bags of croutons. Most of the items that have coupons are additive-filled quasi-food anyhow. I mean, yeah, the woman saved $1500 or whatever, but she could have saved that much by *not* buying the same amount of food.

6 vanessa

i agree. i work in a grocery store. i have a bunch of couponers. They all have alot in common. They are rude. most of there sentences start with gimme. also, they are so unhealthy and so are ther poor kids. They kids always seem unhappy because there cheap parents force them to get whats on sale. My god i wonder if these kids have ever been given real fruit. (not fruit snacks). They will have 300.00 worth of food pay only 40,00 thats great but no fruit no veggies the only meat is processed chicken finders. but they will have 40 chocolate puddings and 30 pizzas and 25 stoffers pasta dishes. i want to buy them a mirror so they can see how unhealthy they look. I want to tell them to quit sitting there 20 hours a week cutting out coupons and take there kids to the park and excercise.

7 CommonCents

I have watched the show a few time and find it fascinating. But I have often wondered if they actually have all the ingredients to make a dinner from scratch: fresh veg, meat (tofu), rice, pasta ect. because when they show their ‘stash’ it seams to me to be mostly cereal, bathroom produces, laundry/dish soap, drinks and canned goods. I often wonder if their diet is missing essential things as a result. As for the girl that donates it to charity… what’s the chances that she is actually not saving herself any money because she is donating most of it.

In Canada we don’t have things like store discount/ coupon special cards. So extreme couponing is likely never to happen. And yes I use coupons on occasion IF I am already buying the product, not because of the coupon.

8 spiffikins

Not sure where in Canada you live, but Safeway has had a store discount card for over a decade now. Save-on-Foods also has had their store card since they opened, again, over a decade ago.

9 tiffany

I think they are CRAZZZZZy and that they use it as an excuse to hoard; however, I do use coupons regularly and have saved over 50% a few times. As a rule, I only buy the things I need (and keep my brand loyalty) and my limit is usually 2 of an item (we get 2 newspapers a week, therefore, 2 sets of coupons). The trick is to figure out what is on sale that week (check your local grocery/ CVS/ Walmart/ Target ads) then use a manufacturer’s coupon on those item. Some stores, like Target, let you use a store coupon AND a manufacturer’s coupon on the same item. Don’t forget to check your clearance bins too! (Had a coupon for $1.50 off 2 ZIploc containers, and there were some on clearance for $1.00 each, so I bought 2 for $.50 total, which is great, considering I pack lunch every day and some of my containers were getting pretty gross)

10 Iris

I think extreme couponers are crazy, you hit the nail right on the head they are hoarders to the max.

The lady who gives to charity sounds alright and there was one woman whose husband had lost his job but, they still had 6 mouths to feed so she was couponing to make it work and that made sense as well.

I save 30% almost every week of my grocery bill by printing coupons for stuff I need and shopping things that are on sale in the store. It’s pretty rewarding to save like that and not have to buy 77 jars of mayo!

11 Miss Moneypenniless

A craze yet to hit us in the UK, we’re nonetheless astounded at the blind stupidity of extreme couponers. A deal is only a deal if you need the product and you can get your hands on the required product for less than its normal retail value (as Tiffany successfully manages to do- see above). A deal is not a deal when you part with $104 for products you have no need for. No. That’s called throwing $104 down the drain. This is a worryingly addictive development, encouraging both impulsive and wholly irrational shopping behaviours.

My other concern with extreme couponing is that it is surely time-consuming? I’d be interested to hear about the impact extreme couponing has on extreme couponers’ working lives and their productivity. I’d hedge my bets that the compulsive couponing behaviours don’t stop when the extreme couponer clocks on for work, resulting in a decline in productivity in the workplace. How very sensible.

12 Treii

I’ve seen the show a few times and one person said at least 10 hours a week and I heard one woman say about 60 hours to prepare for her shopping trip.

13 M

The majority of the couponers i’ve seen are stay-at-home moms and don’t work outside the home.

14 Glen Craig

I’m with you. I think people can find much better uses for their time than figuring out how to get as much stuff they may not use for free.

15 CityFlips

I’m a fan of using coupons, but the people on that show are way over the top! I watched part of it one night and couldn’t even watch the rest. I’m ok if you want to buy some stuff you don’t need if you are going to donate it. I know of people who send large quantities of toiletries they’ve gotten for free to soldiers overseas, to homeless shelters, or to victims of natural disaster. And for that, I say coupon away! I really hope some animal shelter gets all that cat food!

16 leahjuly

I watched this show once and was also disgusted at amount of crap these people pile up in their homes. One guy was showing his “garage” that looked like a store in itself with canned items and bath products stacked up on shelves. My first thought was, no single guy will ever use that much deodorant in a lifetime, why doesn’t he give some to people who need it, like a homeless shelter? I was really glad to read in your blog about someone who does do this and donates the excess to charity. In the end is it saving this woman and her family much money? Maybe not but Im sure its a wonderful and much appreciated gift to a charity in need.

17 Tiffany

Well, this is coming from a girl who can’t stand to have a lot of “stuff.” Those people are nuts. If you have enough laundry detergent in your hall closet to last your family for 7 years, why are you buying more??? Definitely hoarders.

My problem with coupons is that they are very rarely for healthy items. I think last night someone bought around 70 of those noodle-in-a-cup thingys. Those are terrible for you! So much sodium and very little nutritional content. Couponing would be very hard for me because I just don’t eat that way, and they very rarely have coupons for chia seeds or cacao nibs, ya know?

I will say that the woman who donated things she doesn’t actually need to food banks and charities is awesome!

18 Amy

I am a fairly serious couponer (CUE-poner!) but I live in Florida, land of no double or triple coupons, so my deals never look like that. As far as “why” someone would get cat food they don’t need – it may be because of overage. If a sale price is $1.50 and you have a $1.00 store coupon and a $.50 manu coupon that doubles to $1.00, then the store is basically paying you $.50 to take a bag of cat food out of the store. This overage is then applied to things in your basket that don’t have coupons attached (meat, eggs, fresh produce, milk, etc). Or if you find something in clearance and you have a high value coupon, more overage so people buy things they may not need just to get the overage applied. I have done this in a smaller way in the past.

I have stopped watching the show because it is so unrealistic to how normal people shop….and you better believe it takes hours to plan that kind of haul.

19 Money Beagle

I watched the first episode a few weeks back and was annoyed as you seem to be. My biggest complaint is how these people go in and take every last item that’s in the store of whatever product they have. “Oh, they have 96 bottles of mustard, should we get them all?” “Sure!”

Then the next 95 customers have no mustard for their cookout.

Awesome.

20 No Debt MBA

We spend $25/week on groceries for two people. We use ZERO coupons to achieve that and eat healthy, filling meals. So the maximum benefit to us for this extreme coupon stuff would be just over $100/month assuming we could get everything we buy for free. But when do you see coupons for milk, beans, eggs, and produce that make those groceries free?

My other problem is that I wonder how much they spend to maintain their stash – gas to get to the store, mortgage payments that go to the extra room in their house to keep it all, utilities, heck, scissors and printer cartridges and paper for the newspaper and online coupons. I know our housing costs would go up by more than $100/month if we wanted an extra room and we only shop at one store (which we walk to) so this sort of approach would never make financial sense for us.

21 ilml

Ninja, you crazy nut. If someone wants to sell you 58 bottles of detergent for $8.50, you better take it. These deals are absolutely worth if you’re talking about: detergent, toothpaste, toilet paper etc. You will ALWAYS need these things. Why not stockpile them when they’re on sale and save some money down the road!? I’m not trying to convince you to be a crazy couponer, but if you don’t realize how smart body wash deals are, you’re just plain crazy.

I really enjoy reading your blog, btw.

22 Ninja

No way in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks am I taking that deal. I don’t have the need for that many bottles of detergent and I don’t want to store them in my bedroom, living room, or office. I’d rather pay a little more at the register than look like a freakin’ hoarder.

23 Christy

I’ve only seen one episode, and it was a an early one. I felt like most of the people on the show were doing this out of some trauma they’d experienced – prior job loss and a need to feel in control, for example. The only ones I could respect were the ones who gave at least some of their items to charity, too. I sometimes volunteer at a local food bank and in these economic times, they can use all the support they can get. You don’t need enough toilet paper to last 27 years – your tastes will probably change and there might be developments in toilet paper technology. Why not let some of it go to a person who could use it now?

24 Kim

I saw one episode where the woman used extra savings to buy meat. It went like this:
1. Item XXX costs $1/box at the store and the store doubles all coupons on Thursdays
2. Woman has $0.55/box coupons (on Thursdays worth $1.10/box)
3. She MAKES $0.10/box
4. So she bought 100 boxes of XXX (makes $10 in free money)
5. And she bought $10-worth of sausages and chicken
So she basically got FREE sausages and chicken.

This makes sense to me: if you use the coupons to get extra savings to buy things you actually need. The problem is that you need to live near stores that do this. And know which items you have enough coupons for. And get enough coupons to actually make enough to buy what you really need.

I also agree it’s a good thing when they share their “spoils” with people in the neighborhood and charities and churches and such. One woman bought a huge bin (like 100 packets) of Advil and I was like, “NO ONE needs that much Advil. Give some away to free clinics or a hospital!!” I don’t remember if she did or not, though.

25 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com

Haven’t seen it but I’ve read about it and I completely agree. Why would you spend so much time and effort to get a bunch of stuff you don’t need?

It would be a huge waste of my time and space. But if other people want to do it, it’s a free country right?

26 Trina

For groceries, I usually do not use coupons. But I do try to shop at one or two stores to get to know their promotions and find their lowest prie points.Costco coupons are great (for a family of 5).
For everything else, my girlfriends run this blog http://www.seattlemomsdealfinder.com They have great deals for the whole family, are based out of Seattle and try to promote local businesses and have been featured on King5.

27 Melissa Z

I really appreciate the bloggers who find deals & post. Also, the one in my area links to printable coupons (if available), which makes it really convenient. I also visit moneysavingmom.com – she posts about samples, free stuff, good deals, & tips.

28 Rogue

I prefer the drugstore game to extrema couponing. It similar but only done with drugstores and you use their loyalty programs in conjunction with coupons. I like it better because its a bit more practical because you save a lot of practical items that last(and don’t end up cleaning out the store) and most people who play advocate donating extra hall you don’t need to shelters and its all stuff shelters can really use as well.

I don’t play personally, but I like it better.

29 Stephanie

I use coupons (coo-pon…I don’t know if it’s because I live in MA or because that’s how my mom says it), but the real trick is making sure you aren’t buying a bunch of junk you’ll never use just because it’s on sale. And sticking to a list. And making sure my husband doesn’t add random items to the cart. LOL!

I find that we do better in savings at one grocery store, but we end up saving more at another on the back end because they give discounts on gas based on how much and what you buy.

30 Iris

The gas rewards are the best, luckily that is the store where things are cheapest in my area :)

31 Allison

Another facet of this is coupon fraud. I was really surprised to read about how some of these people use loopholes in the coupon system to defraud stores. Here’s just one post explaining it: http://www.jillcataldo.com/node/16258 It’s blatant theft.

I watched half an episode of the show and I had to turn it off. It was too depressing. I saw a woman talk about how if she used just one of her 237 rolls of paper towels she felt she needed to replace it immediately. That’s not thriftiness; that’s psychosis.

32 The Saved Quarter

I was going to suggest this link, too. Jill is a sensible couponer, using it to buy things her family actually uses and not going over the top crazy like the show portrays. She declined the offer to be on the show.

Another good one for buying actual, normal groceries and getting the best deals is http://www.supercouponing.com/. Watch her videos – she uses coupon deals to get things for less, but buys normal foods and feeds her family healthy meals, not just boxed junk.

The show does feature the crazy extreme. I wonder how much they waste by not using things before they expire.

33 LLF

I think maybe these ppl have OCD or hoarding problem? I wonder if there’s a physcologist out there to comment on it. Sometimes it seems like these people buy the stuff because they can get it for free, and they feel like they missed something if they don’t buy it.

Also, on another note. If you can buy 100 jars of pickles for $3, unless you love pickles and will eat them every day you are still spending $3. I really have the problem with the “the more you spend the more you save” advertising, even with the extreme coupon. No! the more you spend, the more you spend! Other than giving it to charity, why can’t people not buy stuff they don’t need or use?

34 Mo D.

I’ve seen the show many times, and I agree with many previous posts. I think I’ve only seen 1 person put a couple of pieces of fruit in the cart, but that was only because she was getting them free (or close to free) when she did her coupon math; everything else in the cart was pre-packaged garbage. As CommonCents pointed out, we in Canada don’t have the loyalty cards that the US stores have. I do use the occasional coupons for stuff like laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc, but I’ll only buy 1 or 2 packs/bottles/boxes, etc., and it’s stuff we use everyday.

Many of the women they highlight on the show are not employed outside the home, and they feel this is their way of contributing to the household finances; 1 woman devotes 60 hrs/week for her couponing! WOW!! That’s 12 hours/day, 5 days/week!! One woman said she considers her stock pile to be almost as beautiful as her family… some get friends/family involved cutting/clipping/organizing… I’ll stick with working my 37.5 hrs. FT job and keep my free time!

35 asgreen

I completely agree! It is still a waste of money if you buy way more than you need. I’ve never seen this show (though now I’ll dvr one episode), but it sounds like they should combine this show with hoarders. I rarely coupon and mostly because I’m only buying food to feed two people and it seems more effort than it is worth. I need an easy button for couponing.

36 Vanessa

You missed the woman who had a wall of baby diapers for “when she has a kid”

37 Emily

I have seen the show. I brushed it off as one of those reality tv programs people watch when they’re desperate to kill some time in front of the TV or they’re looking for some miracle to save them from their bad habits. Neither of which I fall under
I do coo-pon. But not through the newspaper ads. Instead, I go to the website of any company manufacturing a product I use on a regular basis, liks SC Johnson or Kraft. This also works for stores, too, like Target. I sign up for their email newsletters. Then when I get an email, I click on a few links and/or fill out surveys/leave comments. As part of this process, they email or snail mail coupons directly to you. These coupons usually have a unique tracking number or your name/address printed on them. After a while, they start sending you product samples and stuff. It’s taken a number of years to build to this so I recommend doing this with only the products you buy on a regular basis, but it is soooo worth it. I just got a coupon this week for free girly stuff ($13 value) and it’s been everything from free boxes of cereal (Kroger) to eggs to dog food (yes, I have a dog).

38 Melissa

If you are looking to do some practical couponing the best is to check out a few of the coupon mom blogs. Most of them hate the show as well and offer practical advise on using coupons. Plus they find the deals for you and you don’t have to waste as much time.

Its just me and my daughter so there is no need for us to stockpile like crazy. I mainly do the drugstore game. I get great deals on toiletry items for the home. I have a small stockpile of shampoo, soap, makeup….etc. My company’s main charity is supporting the reduction of domestic violence and every few months they do a drive to collect toiletry items for battered womens shelters, when they do this I go through a clean out my stockpile to make sure I don’t obtain hoarder status.

39 krantcents

I saw a little bit and lost interest fast! Yes, it is amazing what they can get, but who wants it?

40 sunny day

Ninja, I completely agree with you on the craziness of “hoarders in the grocery store” as I like to call them. It’s fantastic that they save so much money buying processed food, but how much are they really saving considering they need to own multiple fridges and freezers in order to store all the excess. Watching the show is like looking at a bad train wreck, it’s awful but you just can’t look away. What strikes me as odd is a lot of every day products now expire like toothpaste so having 400 tubes is great, but by the time you get to the 30th one and onward you might not be getting the same whitening/breath freshening power as the 1st tube. What a waste. I think they should have follow up shows in 5+ years from now to see how many people still extreme coupon and how many products were wasted over the years as no one can keep up with all those expiry dates.

41 jesse.anne.o

This part:

“The only person who didn’t totally annoy me was a lady that uses her extreme couponing for a greater good. Charity. No human being needs 40 boxes of cereal on reserves, but the local food bank could definitely use them. So if you are an extreme couponer who gives away 90% of your haul, then I commend you for being awesome. If you are keeping it all for yourself, I think you have serious hoarding issues.”

FOR REALS. X1,000.

42 MW

I’m totally with you, ninja. The extreme couponers are bonkers! I’m from Canada, and we definitely don’t have the option of saving that much. I do use coupons sometimes when I come across one for something that I normally buy, and one time a drug store chain accidentally sent out $5 off your purchase coupons with a minimum purchase of $5, so I printed 10 of them and got a whole bunch of stuff for just the tax (they rescinded the coupon within 24 hours!), but that’s about it.

The thing that really gets me about these shows, though, is that they must be SERIOUSLY hurting the stores. Like, the manufacturer’s coupons don’t matter, but the thing where they basically create a situation for the store to pay THEM for something, or to take it away totally free, it’s just horrible. Especially when it’s things they don’t even need.

43 Samantha

I agree with you–the Extreme Couponing show totally misses the boat on having a fine opportunity to teach everyday people to save money. Granted, I know their ratings are probably through the roof, but it is still really annoying.
One thing I find interesting is the time that is put into this extreme couponing. From purchasing the coupons, to making the spreadsheets, etc–it appears to take a tremendous amount of time. If that time were replaced with a part-time job, side gig and using coupon tactics to save money on the things they actually need and use–I bet these folks could be huge money ahead. Oh well, to each their own, I suppose.

44 Ryan

Awesome post. I’ve been saying the same thing since I first watched the pilot. There is no difference between these folks and people on Hoarders (or Intervention or Addicted or whatever else). The issue for me, too, is that these people are glorified. They have a sickness. Show them, fine. But why not spend five minutes of the hour-long episodes talking to a professional about the real issues underlying this behavior? Because they are well-organized hoarders? Come on.

45 Rebecca

I do some extreme couoning, and it is worth it. I don’t spend very much time on it though. I have 8 jugs of laundry detergent in my basement, enough for a year. It cost less than what I would normally pay for one to get all 8. At one time I had over 20 jars of PB. That was less than a year ago and they are all gone now. I save money buying nearly free staples like canned beans, spaghetti sauce and tuna so I can spend the bulk of my budget ($450 a month for a family of 5) on fresh fruit, veggies, and meat that was raised organically and humanely. totally worth it for me.

46 South County Girl

I think what your doing is great because you are doing it within reason. You are buying things you would actually use and consume in portions that allow you to benefit from it.

Now, if you were to get 1,000 jars of peanut butter and half expired before you used them it would be a major waste and that’s the point I think Ninja is trying to make.

47 NDChic

I actually disagree with you. I think that its better for people to take matters into their own hands to feed their family than rely on food stamps. I wrote a post on this http://ndchicscents.blogspot.com/2011/05/im-okay-with-extreme-couponers.html. The extreme couponers on the show usually came into extreme couponing because they had a harship. In my eyes, its much better to spend your own time and effort to cut your grocery bill than to rely on a goverment handout.

48 Katelyn

This crap dosant happen in Canada. I love my rebates/ coupons at costco and rarely buy anything there that isnt on sale. Also there was big talk that this show was commiting fraud. Like a coupon was vaid for a 16 small pack of yougurt but they were buy a large tub and still useing the coupon and the cashiers were so overwhelmed with the camera crew they just cashed them through. Is apparently what i’ve been told. Its wrong for any company to owe you change for shopping there when you leave with a 1000$ worth of groceries.

49 South County Girl

I would only do that to help a food bank… especially since real estate is expensive and I hate living around boxes and stuff I can’t get to or use.

Just last night I went through all the bathroom drawers to clean them out and toss what i wasn’t using anymore.

50 Serenity

My two cents: I’m behind using coupons, but as in all things, there are a few nuts who try to ruin it for the rest of us!

I stopped using a ton of coupons for a reason. It made me buy stuff I didn’t need (or was unhealthy for me) and if I stocked up on too much food stuffs, much expired before I could use it. I also don’t feel like living with boxes of things lined up on my counter or stuffed in closets, as I have a smaller living space. clutter + hoarding = gross.

for your haters who don’t realize that 97-bags-of-croutons lady is crazy, some quick math: if I buy 10 boxes of cereal using a coupon, but only eat about 5 of them before they go stale/mold, I haven’t saved ANYTHING.

51 Momma J

Word up Ninja – that show scares me! There is a huge difference between ‘extreme’ couponing and ‘reasonable’ couponing, which I personally do. It really is helpful on toiletries, dry goods, etc. The thing that really saves the hubs & I tons of money on food is Erin Chase’s “Never Pay More Than” stragedy. (You guys know her – she is the $5 dinner mom/ 5dollardinners.com!) She sets a limit as to what she will pay for her grocery items so she knows a good deal when she sees it.

Take this for example: Let’s say you & Girl Ninja enjoy chicken breasts. Hey, who doesn’t? The cost of chicken breasts can vary wildly. Start watching your grocery store(s) for the lowest price on chicken breasts. (Keep in mind that regular, bone-in split breast are usually .75-$1/lb. less than boneless/skinless breasts.) Maybe over the course of 6 weeks those same chicken breasts will cost $3.19, $2.99, $3.39, $2.59, $1.99 and $2.79/lb during different weeks. I would set my NPMT price at $2.59/lb, just in case you don’t have much freezer space to stock up when it is $1.99/lb. Obviously, you are much better off to buy 6 lbs. of chicken during $1.99/lb. week for $11.94 than to buy a single pound each week and pay $16.94 for exact same chicken! Boom – you just saved $5 & did absolutely no couponing!! The same is easy to apply to produce, for which you will rarely see a coupon. It takes no time at all to be able to look at an item you buy frequently & say, “Nope! That price sucks.”

Save that $$$ Ninja!!

52 Ginger

Couponing can save you money, fraud and extreme couponing however does not save you money. Why is that a hard concept? That is what I do not understand.

53 Financial Success For Young Adults

I tried couponing but it only lasted for about a week once I realized that I wanted to have a life and not a pantry full of preservative filled foods.

54 My University Money

I could not agree more. I can’t help but think that these people must be able to find a better use for their time! This recent craze is so foreign to me. Here’s a novel idea… only buy what you actually need.

55 Grace, Money Smart Fashion

First of all I will say this, I agree that the people they feature on extreme couponers are hoarders, which is the only reason people watch that show, to gawk at people doing “crazy” things. No one would watch if there person was only saving 50% of their bill. On the other hand my fiance and I have recently taken up a more practical version of couponing. There are definitely deals to be had by pairing in-store deals with coupons. It does take a considerable amount of menu planning etc to maximize your savings and on occassion you may want to buy more then just 1 of something you use often if you are getting it for .25 cents.

For example, we just went out and bought gillette fusion razors at target for my fiance. why 4? Well in the Proctor & Gamble monthly coupon insert they had coupons for $4.00 off 1 razor. We have neighbors that don’t use their papers so we were able to acquire 4 of them. In addition, target was offering a $5 giftcard with the pruchase of 2. So between the coupons, the giftcard deals, and $5 giftcard we already had in our possession we ended up paying about $1.99 per razor or just under $8 for razors that retail around $10 a pop.

I’m no where near extreme, but couponing will definitely change they way you think about things.

56 tbone

I too had hoped to get some good hints from Extreme Couponing but of course that didn’t happen. And I think they give couponers a bad wrap for sure! I have a pretty simple approach to couponing and have figured out this method mostly with the help of friends and online suggestions. First DON’T cut out all of the coupons because more that half of those won’t even be used, and that’s just a total waste of your time and life. Each week I take the coupons out of the Sunday paper, date the cover page and file away which takes 10 minutes maybe. I have a monthly subscription to a website that does the dirty work for me. In other words they figure out what’s on sale, what coupons are out for those sale items and what the potential savings are. Pretty much no effort on my part. I take that list and figure out what I actually need from it, no crappy sugar water or boxed sodium bombs. Super easy and I save roughly 50% on every trip. Not 99% but who needs extra storage space for mustard right?!

57 CrystalH

Thank you SO MUCH for this post! I consider myself an excellent couponer. My high for last year was $81 in coupons. But they were coupons for stuff that I already use. And I totally agree that the people on that show are totally hoarders and that is no way to live. I hate that we do everything in excess in this country. I watched one episode of that show and was totally turned off. I love using coupons within reason. Thank you again for pointing this out. The people on that show have an addiction that is totally out of control. Those people are SO greedy!

58 Julie G.

I LOVE this post and some of the responses! Seriously, someone would save money by not buyng nonsense! I agree with the couponers who donate!! I don’t see any fresh produce or healthy food in their haul. Processed, processed, processed…couponer are HOARDERS. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you need to purchase it. You’ve got issue if you have anxiety at the check out.

59 Tina Pietila

I coupon!!!! And some would consider it Extreme in the sense that I save 50%. The difference is I am only buying what my family will use. I am not just going to buy something because it is on sale or free. I don’t need 50 bottles of mustard so I am not going to buy it. I use a coupon clipping service only to get lots of coupons for the things my family will use. I stock up but don’t stockpile. It’s just crazy to do that. But, I am all about getting things that we NEED at the lowest price.

60 Ana

I hate this show, I use coupons and I keep a small stockpile (this means that when something is extra cheap I buy two or four instead of one, that way it will be used up by the time they have another rock bottom sale), I have been able to save my family about 50% per week. This show has created crazy people out there that are stealing newspapers from my building and clearing out the shelves off of everything. I saw a lady the other day buy 50 bottles of shampoo and conditioner, the worst part is that she’s probably going to go crazy again and buy more shampoo and conditioner the next time it goes on sale a few weeks from now. Does it really kill them to buy 2 or 4 newspapers every Sunday?

61 Jenny~Z

I watched the clips they have available on TLC and thought the EXACT same thing. Waste of time, money, space, energy! You really aren’t saving money if you don’t use what you’re buying…

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