Did you tune into Extreme Couponing last night? It’s on my DVR so I can watch later. While I am not a huge fan of the TLC show, I believe there is something to be said for rasing awareness of those valuable little pieces of paper.
One thing we all need to remember is that Extreme Couponing is a television show. The folks creating this show have to make it interesting or no one would ever tune in, right? With that said, I do believe that the show is by far misleading to the “realistic” side of how using coupons really works, for those of us who are not-so-extreme.
Let me get my “cons” out of the way.
First, yes, the coupon ladies and gentleman featured on the show really are saving that much money. Savings like this are achieved by buying hundreds of the same super cheap or free product. What I mean is, say there is a box of cereal that costs $2 and they have a coupon making it free and they buy 200 boxes of that cereal, well there’s $400. So yes, they did get $400 with of items for free but it’s not realistic for a family to live on cereal alone.
Another point in question is where does one get ALL those coupons? It has been said that some of the coupons used were gotten or used in a fraudulent manner, which is, ahem, against the law.
To me, by far, the biggest draw-back of the Extreme Couponing craze is the misuse of coupons. This misuse has seemed to caused coupon values to decrease, companies like Procter and Gamble to limit the number of “like” coupons that can be used per shopping visits and many stores to modify their coupon policies to prevent coupon users from clearing their shelves.
Ok, now on the brighter side. I believe that the greatest gain the show Extreme Couponing has given to young and old alike, is a new found awareness of coupons. I always remember my Mom using coupons and feeling slightly embarrassed. That is not the case anymore. No one shold ever be ashamed of saving money. Especially with how bleak our economy has become.
To the new couponers out there who are thinking “wow, how can I get 10 carts full of free groceries”? Well, odds are that’s not going to happen… I know, sorry.
Here is my best advice. Start slow. Follow a few coupon blogs, like Frugal 4 Four, of course 🙂 and get a heads up on the hot deals coming up and any that pop-up through the week. Check out those sale previews and posts and see if there are things you buy or are willing to try. Buy a couple papers on Sunday and start a small stash of coupons (also go here on where to find more coupons). Walgreens and CVS are great places to get free deals almost every week. Pick one or two deals and try it out. Just take your time, you will soon start picking up on what is a good deal and what is not.
Something I hear often is how time consuming coupon shopping is. Well, it doesn’t have to be. I spend about 20 minutes before I shop checking the coupon database for items on my list and clip just those coupons. I also keep a small organizer in my purse for the things I know my family uses just in case I see a great deals while I’m shopping. To me that’s not much time spent to save $20 to $50, on average, on my groceries in a week. In my opinion, using coupons or strategic shopping is the simplest way to make an instant impact on your family’s budget.
So, what do you think about the show Extreme Couponing? Pro or Con?
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