You’d think I would love the new show by TLC called Extreme Couponing, right?
I do not.
There, I said it.
It would make sense for me to love it though. I’m a self-admitted Coupon Snob, and I love saving a buck wherever I can. This show, however, isn’t about saving a buck or using coupons. It’s about over-using coupons and getting all you can for free or cheap. Sounds good in theory, but again I will just say it, I’m not a fan.
I also want to say right up front that I have not watched a single episode. Yet. I might at some point, but not right now. I don’t feel the need.
Let me explain a few things…
This show is not realistic.
Hence the name, EXTREME Couponing.
The show is about people who take using coupons to the extreme. It’s not about those of us who use coupons in a more “normal” manner and do just fine with what we save and spend. The folks on this show are buying multiple newspapers each week, buying coupons from eBay or other coupon-clipping services, and then they use these mountains of coupons at stores with very lenient coupon policies.
You might also not realize the TIME it would take to do what the folks on this show do. It doesn’t just happen overnight that your coupon organizer gets full to the brim and your store inserts get marked up with matches for sales. It takes time to find coupons, clip coupons, watch sale ads and figure out the best way to use your coupons to save money. Not to mention actually going to the store. Oh, and don’t forget putting it all away when you get home, and finding a place to put it all. The folks on this show are spending sometimes 4-6 HOURS a day on this. Is it really worth it? I’m not so sure.
I feel I am an average coupon user. Really folks, I am. I do NOT buy coupons. I do NOT buy extra newspapers. I do NOT try to push my store’s coupon policy to the max. I also don’t by more than I need for my family and our small, very small I should stress, stockpiled pantry at home.
But, it isn’t just how unrealistic the whole show is…
This show gives coupon users a bad name.
I really think it does.
For all the fans out there that feel inspired to learn how to use coupons from this show, good for you! I am glad you have been turned on to saving money. But, I see just as many comments, blog posts and Facebook statuses about how horrified people are at the people on the show, and the show itself. I know I am not alone.
They’ve produced this show in a way that depicts people operating with a hoarding mentality, and others who don’t care how many cashiers they piss off at the store when they wheel in 6 carts of food and a stack of coupons.
I stockpile food. I use coupons. Sometimes I use a lot of coupons, but I don’t get all I can for free, just because I can. I don’t want my garage piled so high with toilet paper and cereal that I can’t park my car inside. I don’t want so much food that I can’t properly monitor the expiration dates or possibly eat it all.
Ugh, there are sooooo many things I could rant and rant and rant on about this show, but my point to all this is that the show is really, really skewed and far from reality for those of us that use coupons in appropriate ways.
The show presents very specific situations which are hard to replicate.
Most of us are restricted to shopping at the stores we have available in our city. We’re at the mercy of their coupon policies, their cashiers and their sale ads. Some stores are crazy lenient with their coupon policies, and it is clear that the stores these people shop at fall into that category.
None of the stores in my area would allow the things on that show to happen because they have limits like the number of total coupons you can use at once, limits on the number of each kind of coupon, and more. When you pair the types of stores the people on the show shop at with their stockpiles of coupons that they bought or obtained through other methods…well, that’s a perfect storm of shopping that not everyone can achieve!
Did I mention this show is not realistic? Oh yes, I did. Pardon me.
I fear coupon policies are going to change as a result of this show.
I am not doing anything wrong when I take a coupon that P&G puts in the Sunday paper and stack it with a CVS store coupon to get a deep discount on diapers at CVS when they’re running a special. Companies knows when stores run ads for things, and the stores know when companies are putting out which coupons. They communicate folks. This is their their industry! Nothing is a secret, and they know people are putting deals together in the best way possible to save the most money. That’s fine. That’s cool.
But don’t abuse it folks. You don’t need 600 boxes of cereal, just because you can get it for under a dollar or for free.
Man, do the people on the show donate any of it? That’s the only thing that might make me feel better about it all.
I don’t know. I am conflicted. I feel like I want to welcome any readers to my site that want to learn how to use coupons and save money, but I also want to warn them not to use that show as inspiration.
It’s so unrealistic! (had to say it one more time)
So tell me folks. What do you think about the show? Love it or hate it?
P.S. if you have not seen any of the show, you can watch clips on their website.