June 21, 2011

Extreme Couponing = Hoarding?

The show, Extreme Couponing on TLC is another "shock and awe" program along the lines of 19 Kids and Counting and Toddlers & Tiaras. It profiles people and families who live to clip coupons and save as much money as they can on their grocery trips.

It is fascinating to see what people can get for free with some store and online research, good math skills and a lot of quick scissor work. Many of the people on the show spend 40-70 hours a week doing their coupon work and amass huge stockpiles of food, beauty and home products. Much of it they donate to their local food bank or shelter. I'm all for never paying full price, but these people will not get anything unless it is free. In addition, they will get anything that could potentially be free, even if they don't need it.

Their desire for more and more stuff seems to take over their lives. One woman who was profiled lives to shop and get things for free, and her overflow of items is taking over her house and has even started making their way into her husband's "man cave". One shopping trip took at least half a day with over two hours spent checking out at several registers.

Another person on the show was able to get their $1,000 bill down to $50. But what did they get? Dozens of bottles of sugary soda, hundreds of boxes of pre-made noodles, candy bars and a huge container full of deodorant. Personally, for $50, I would rather have some fresh produce, some great cheese, bread and wine and some excellent organic meat...and I would be able to fit it into my refrigerator.


CC said...

I think it equals hoarding. In the past I would sometimes get a coupon and carry it around for a few weeks before admitting to myself it is not something I want or need. "Free" or "big discount" can be so seductive. The only coupons I like at all are the store ones that the cashier automatically does for me on things I am buying anyway.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I've wondered this too. I use coupons as much as I can on things we use often. When I first started really using coupons I wanted to use all of them, but over time I've realized most coupons apply to, just as you said, stuff we don't really need and aren't the best things to have in our home anyway. We can make our own laundry detergent and cleaning supplies for even less than what a super sale price with coupon would be on name brand products. Plus the ingredients are natural not all kinds of weird chemicals.