Monday, January 3, 2011

Extreme Couponing

I'm just now having a chance to sit down and watch Extreme Couponing on TLC (I tivoed it).  Since I'm watching it late, I've had a chance to read a lot of the post-show comments from others and so I'll include my thoughts based on those in my comments below.

Amanda - the comments I've read about her on the show have been rather harsh in my opinion. Based on the GMA preview I was right there with them but having watched the actual show I think many of them are quite harsh.  She was obviously frustrated from her shopping trip and some of the comments that have been latched onto like "I hope I don't see you for a long long time" weren't really out of line.  Keep in mind that for this show (and shows like this) the producers tell the participants to be as "Extreme" as they can be. The goal is to showcase the most extreme cases.  Would any normal person buy all that in one trip? NO! Would Amanda buy all that in one trip under normal circumstances? I doubt even she would.

Another common negative comment related to Amanda is that she should donate some of her stockpile. I agree. I have read a post from her since the show that she did donate MOST of what she purchased on the show after the fact.  That said, I think she still has plenty of room to donate more (based on her stockpile).

That said, what makes her really extreme (and crosses the lines) in my book are
a) the size of her stockpile - she had 2 rooms already and was moving into her husband's "man cave".
b) They have an insurance policy on their stockpile (see my comments below about the cost of "saving money".)

Read comments from Amanda at (look for her as Manders)

Joannie - the biggest question about her has been that she took her kid AND pregnant friend dumpster diving.  It's worth pointing out that those were newspaper recycle bins.  Ok, I admit it, ever since I read about this the first time I've been considering it. But, I doubt I'd do it.  It may take a little longer to build a stockpile when you don't have 40 coupons for an item, but it can be done.  That said, I find it more worth my time to go to Ebay and buy 20-30 of a particular coupon I know I will use in mass (usually for less than $1 for the entire batch).

Joyce -  again the amount of time and energy she puts into couponing?  However, the fact that she only buys what she needs and will use is a big plus and something I don't see often enough.  The problem is there's not enough drama in that, so they spent very little time on her.

Nathan - 150 years worth of deodorant? Really? Why is everyone stuck on Amanda's 40 years worth of toilet paper but not his deodorant stockpile?  See more interviews with Mr. Coupon, Nathan Engles on FrugalTV.

Final Thoughts.....

  • It does become a game, but the only competition you are in is with yourself (with your own best trip).
  • It is a bit addicting.  Once you see the savings pile up, you hate to pass up a deal (especially when it's on something you know you will use).  It takes a lot of discipline to not end up with Amanda's stockpile.
  • How much is your "saving" costing you? When you figure in all the time you spend couponing and in stores shopping is your couponing making you money or costing you money?

    You should be able to determine how much money you are saving via coupons and sales each week.  Take that amount and divide it by the number of hours you spend couponing each week and you now know how much you are making from couponing.  If you are spending 70 hours a week couponing, you need to be saving $615.80 just to make the equivalent of minimum wage ($290 for the first 40hrs+ $325.80 for the 30hrs that would qualify as overtime.)  And that total should be calculated on only things you need and will use in a reasonable amount of time.  If you currently have a 20 year stockpile on most items, it's probably time to go get a job and actually start making some money.
If you missed the show when it aired last week, you can catch it again tomorrow night (Wednesday 1/4) at 10pm EST or again at Midnight EST on Thursday, on TLC.

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