Since I am a couponer, I'm sure you are wondering my personal thoughts on the Extreme Couponing show on TLC. Even if you weren't wondering...well, here are my thoughts.
Like a train wreck, I have to watch. I know there are other bloggers who say, "I won't watch that show" but I have to...it's entertainment! It's like watching "Hoarders"...pretty much exactly like watching Hoarders except the houses are cleaner. Call them extreme couponers, call the hoarders...whichever way you call it, it's pretty much the same thing.
These people are overboard! That's why they are on TV. No one wants to see me at the grocery store buying 10 bags of Steamfresh veggies when they can watch Jane Doe buy 100 bags. So here is the reality of the show...
1) The couponers even comment that those shopping trips were there biggest ones ever. You know they don't shop like that every single week.
2) Even though they save so much money, how much time are they taking out of their day, their week, to get these great deals? Some of them say that they spend upwards of 30+ hours a week finding deals! Yes, it takes me time and energy to do the bit of couponing that I do but I have other things going on in my life and I like it that way. Getting free toothpaste is not the end all be all in my life. If I get it, great! But if I miss that deal, my world will not end and I will not sacrifice my time with my kids for it.
3) A lot of these "extreme" couponers get those coupon inserts themselves (which you have to remember that most of them pay money for at least some of them) but it was also noted in the first episode/special they did that some couponers use a coupon clipping service and pay for coupons. As long as you are still making/saving money buying those coupons, I don't see anything wrong with it BUT that expense should be factored in to their shopping bill.
It's a little sickening and I feel sad for some of these people (like the women who have 1000's of diapers but no kids...yet!) but the basics of what they do is somewhat correct. The reasoning behind why some of them shop like they do is understandable (their husband lost his job...didn't have money, etc etc). The sheer amount of items they have in their stockpiles is insane! NO ONE needs 500 rolls of toliet paper at their disposal...ever.
However, if you use the mentality that you can use coupons to match up with store sales and have a stock of items big enough to last you until the next big sale, then you are golden. If you do like Nathan does (he's was featured in the first special and again in the last episode) and donate items to good causes then that's extremely noble (although his personal stockpile is out of control!)
You can find a happy medium. I think that's somewhat where I am. I do have a coupon binder so I'm a little more hard core than most couponers, but I don't bring home 67 bottles of mustard at one time either (which, btw, I have NO idea why she stocked up at .38 each when I've picked up mustard for free, in the summertime, before.)
Clearing the shelves...not cool!
Buying so many products that it takes over your entire house...not cool!
Spending more time searching for bargains that you don't have a life...not cool!
Being realistic, shopping in resonable portions and saving money...very cool!
I hope you stay cool with me.