Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Extreme Couponing: Couponers Are Odd

At least according to this article from ABC regarding the new series of Extreme Couponing.

As much as I love to coupon and I love it when I see the 90% savings come through, I'll never be an Extreme Couponer of the level that could ever be on this show.  While I will watch it, I'm drawn to it on two levels:

1. I'm a couponer. So yes it appeals to me in that it's featuring something that I do and enjoy.

2. I like a good train wreck.  The truth of the matter is that I'm drawn to this show in the same way that I'm drawn to Hoarders.  There's something enjoyable about watching other people air their lives and laundry and OCDs.  And, for too many of the couponers they will feature on this show couponing has become an OCD of the same level as the people featured on Hoarders.  For that matter, many of the people they will feature on this show, probably are hoarders.

If you are new to couponing there are some important things to keep in mind as you watch this show.

1. 90% Savings is the exception, it's not the norm.  To achieve that level of savings you are either shopping at drug stores (where I achieve the highest % of savings) and using lots of register rewards and +UPs.  OR, you are buying lots of things you don't need.  To achieve that level of savings you need to purchase things that are on sale with coupons that make them free.  As we saw on the original Extreme Couponing show, that means lots of candy and lots of pasta.  I've done it.  I posted a shopping trip here not two months ago where I used the overage from my pasta (that I didn't need) to reduce the cost of the milk that I did need.  These types of deals don't come along every week.

2. You can only use so much!  There's a fine line between stockpiling and hoarding. Keep that in mind as you shop.  You don't have to get EVERY deal you see.  The deal will come back around and you'll have a chance at it again later.  I promise!

3. This is TV! - There is a reason they call it EXTREME Couponing and that's because they are showing the most extreme examples they can find.  They work with these people and with the stores to create extreme situations.  They aren't going to show you the frustration that couponing can bring when a store imposes limits on coupons that weren't there the day before, or when a cashier just doesn't want to deal with coupons that day so they make up their own rules.

So as you begin your couponing journey, keep these things in mind.  Be happy with the savings that you get and know it's more than you got before you started couponing.  Learn more every day, but there's no need to spend hours and hours every week planning your grocery trips and clipping coupons.  You have to balance the money you are saving against the time and the cost to your life in other ways.

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