The image above is totally snarky, but it brings a up valid question. Do Extreme Couponers go too far, and do they really need all of that stuff?
Lets me start by talking about Extreme Couponing the show on TLC. I think the premise and idea of the show is great and the fact that you can save so much money by using coupons is great, but in all honestly TLC's Extreme Couponing is not really a good example of what most Couponers do and how they conduct themselves, at least not too me.
In all truth I am actually quite disturbed by the show. I am not here to criticize anyone on how they save, how they stockpile, and how they shop; I am here however to give my opinion and advice. I saw an episode of Extreme Couponing once where a lady continuously cleared the shelves at the grocery store. Firstly, Extreme Couponing on TLC is scripted to a point, the store is notified well in advance to properly stock items, have their smiles on, etc. Another point you should know is that in reality, a lot of the coupons these couponers are using at these said stores are NOT valid. For obvious reasons(TV Ratings & $$
like I had to tell you), the participants on Extreme Couponing on TLC are allowed to use multiple coupons even when they clearly state limitations (Such as a limit of 4 like coupons in 1 transaction). I wouldn't doubt that some of these coupons are expired as well. Now back to the Shelf Clearing Couponer. I do not know the woman shown in the show but I do know that most couponers are not like this lady. I myself would NEVER go to a store and clear an entire shelf of one product and then refuse someone 1 of the products if they saw them in my cart and asked. I can not say the same for every couponer but in my experience most of us just have manners. That doesn't mean that i've gone to the store only to find several items I planned to purchase not in stock, shelves bare; was it a shelf clearing couponer? Maybe so, but I highly doubt that.
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I myself have at least 30 of certain products that myself and my family use on a regular basis. Think toothpaste, deodorant, razors, body wash, etc. I personally do not need 97 bags of Croutons like the funny image above suggests, and to be perfectly honest I do not believe any Extreme Couponer really does either.
Here's my way of thinking: Take a product you use often in your home, lets say Soda for this example. I bought a 12 pack of soda yesterday and the cans are "best by" 12/15/12. My family can go through an entire 12 pack of soda in less than 2 days, no lie. We average about 3 12 packs per week. I would say that it is reasonable if we can find 12 packs of soda on a great sale at what I deem Stockpiling prices (more than 75% off); I think it's reasonable to have up to 30 (Enough for about 3 months) 12 packs on hand.
Now take Deodorant for another example. Anyone who has 50 + sticks of deodorant stockpiled isn't really doing themselves any good, unless of course you're sharing with SEVERAL people. By the time you get to the 20th stick if you are only stockpiling for yourself or your family it will probably fall apart from sitting so long.. not saving you very much in the end huh? The only legitimate reason I can think of for purchasing hundreds of items (as some actually do) is for shelters and to benefit such places like food pantries, etc. I honestly can not congratulate someone who stockpiles 300 bottles of dish soap for their family – it doesn't make sense. So long as you're reasonable about what you will actually use it's not so bad. Plus, often times Extreme Couponers fall in the trap of buying more than they actually need simply because they have a coupon for it. Buy what you need, purchase in quantities of 3 or 4 at a time if the price is right – that's my philosophy.
I think there's a preconceived notion, especially among those who do not use coupons that everyone who is doing extreme couponing is stocking up for the end of the world, or maybe that they are in fact mental. I like to think that instead that many of you are just smart & savvy shoppers who are turning around and giving back to your community and enjoying your life a little more by saving so much money. I know that with the money I have saved from coupons alone that I have been able to enjoy much more things that I didn't have the money for before. I have also been blessed to have the opportunity to help others who are less fortunate out with all of my blessings and savings I have had since I started using coupons and living more frugal. Plus, as an added bonus, I hardly ever need to shop for certain things I use daily!
So to close, i'll ask again: Do Extreme Couponers go too far? I think societies view of Couponers says yes, but in reality I don't think that is the case for most of us. I think that the Extreme Couponing TV Show has played a part in why people have their negative views on how most couponers act and it's a shame. While I don't save hundreds per shopping trip, I easily save over 70% off my entire bill after using coupons, utilizing sales, and sometimes price matching a sale from another store. Saving Money, Using Coupons, and being more Frugal doesn't mean you are cheap, and in my opinion certainly doesn't make you mental.. just smart and open minded. Too many people are afraid to use coupons in fear of looking cheap or poor that they're missing out on some serious savings. I challenge you to use some coupons on your next shopping trip if you are not currently a "Couponer" and see how much you can actually save. If you are currently an "Extreme Couponer" then keep doing what you are doing and enjoy the benefits – just remember to share your blessings every once in awhile! There are so many people struggling out there and even a smile can go a long way
What type of couponer are you? Do you stockpile, how often do you shop, how much do you save? Share in the comments below!
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