I started getting the Sunday paper and clipping coupons. I started visiting websites that would show you what coupons to use when. Tricks to save the most money. My first trip I saved $45 dollars, and spent around $80. Not bad. The second week of my couponing adventures is when reality started setting in. There were items that I wanted to get, but couldn't because all of the extreme
I came home and after a little questioning on the internet, I realized I wasn't alone in my frustration of not finding any of an item that was on sale. The popularity of this show on TLC is starting to ruin it for us that don't coupon just to get a stockpile of 32 years worth of tampons, and more bbq sauce than an average town could use in a lifetime. 57 bags of croutons? Really? How many different ways can you possibly use a crouton? Buying diapers simply because you *might* have a kid one day? Could you please leave a few of an item on the shelf so that others may partake in the enjoyment of saving a buck or two?
I asked the cashier at the register just how many people have started extreme couponing in the past few weeks. She shook her head and said "you wouldn't believe the people that come in and get four carts overflowing with only 6 different items". It led me to wonder why there aren't limits set to how many of an item you can buy, or why these extreme couponers aren't calling the store ahead of time to let them know they intend on purchasing every.single. roll of toilet paper in the joint. I'm sure the store could arrange to get an extra truckload in for them.
I've also asked around to my friends that are couponing about just how much they're saving on things they actually use. One rule I've set with couponing is to not purchase anything I wouldn't normally purchase. Most coupons are for junky food that I normally don't bring into my home. On occasion I will buy snacks I wouldn't normally buy, just because they end up being the same price as things I would get, but generally speaking I have only been able to save around $30 - $40 per week. I'm not complaining about that, because that's a large amount of money I've basically been throwing away all of the weeks I didn't clip coupons.
I think that this show just sets a tone that the normal average family could save like they do, but unless the normal average family has an extra bedroom to turn into a small grocery store, and are willing to stop eating meat (meat rarely, if ever, has coupons) fresh fruits and fresh veggies (same as the meat), then this wouldn't work. And to the people committing coupon fraud and even flaunting it on the show....you're stealing. Plain and simple, stealing. Not saving - STEALING! And now the grocery stores across the country are starting to change their coupon policies which negatively effects those of us that are just trying to get what we need, not what we can stuff under our kids beds or in our attics.
I will continue to coupon probably for the rest of my life now, but I'd never spend 60 hours a week on it. And on some level, I feel like the people depicted on this show are no different than the people depicted on the other TLC show about hoarders. I believe its some form of mental illness. Not one person I've ever talked to would consider keeping that much stuff in their house, no matter how cheap or free it was. And I sure haven't met anyone who'd consider dumpster diving for coupons acceptable!
Couponing is a great way to save some cash, and it can definitely be done, but just be realistic and don't expect to save 98% off your grocery bill.