Monday, April 18, 2011

Cut it Out!

So while watching a marathon of jail shows on TLC, I saw an ad for their new show Extreme Couponing and I audibly gasped. And the people around me audibly laughed at me.

In case you’re new here, I am obsessed with coupons. I actually have a bit of love affair with coupons.

This show couldn’t have come at a better time for me, because we just got back from a trip to San Francisco.

Did I mention San Francisco is expensive? I mean, I totally expected that. Now they have some new initiative to provide healthcare for all its citizens and the food bills were taxed at 13%. Um, that’s almost two tips if you’re keeping track. I’m not going to get into this because that’s not what this is about. I’ll leave it at this: I think it’s total B.S. and while San Francisco was lovely, I have no plans to go back.

Anyway, so we spent a lot of money and we did not get what we wanted back from taxes, so the combination meant a seriously frugal future. In my life, that always involves coupons.

This show? Hilarious. Seriously, off-the-charts insane people. People who have turned “couponing” (it hurts every bone in my body to use this as a verb…also? It’s coop-oning, not cue-poning. Do not argue with me on this point) into their life’s work. Literally devoting 70 hours a week and half their house to coupons.

I love coupons. But perhaps I am not IN LOVE with coupons, if that were the prevailing definition.

So I did learn a few things that I will do, and a few things I could/would NEVER do.

Brand Loyalty.

This is a problem area for me. I like Charmin toilet paper. I like Bounty paper towels. Whether it’s because these are what I grew up with or because I’ve somehow been brainwashed by the marketing machine, these are what I like.

The Extreme Couponers in this show had barrels full of Right Guard deodorant, a bunch of different types of paper towels and shampoos and hand soaps. They buy what is on sale when it’s on sale, and when it’s a good deal. Now I’m not likely to go out and buy baking soda toothpaste or asbestos tampons, but I could be slightly more flexible than I am.


These folks have entire rooms dedicated to their coupon items. I don’t think my husband would be cool with me taking over his mancave or our basement with buckets of Mitchum deodorant and Mountain Dew. At the moment, the only space I have dedicated to stocking up on sale items is a medium size basket in our bathroom. We have several shelves in our laundry room, as well as almost an entire bathroom closet in our downstairs bathroom. I’m eyeing those as storage areas for coupon and Costco items so I can keep a little more on hand.

Sodium Ahoy!

One thing that really bothered me about the show was the amount of total CRAP these people bought. My roommate actually had to walk out of the room because she couldn’t take one couple who bought 50 Butterfingers. I mean, there’s no deal there when you factor in the cost of insurance when you get Diabetes.

I also saw another couple buy approximately 20 bottles of Mountain Dew. Not cool, people. Granted, they’re not going to provide a bunch of coupons for fresh produce, but one woman did buy a whole turkey and a whole chicken that she used in multiple healthy recipes. She also calls companies that produce healthier foods and asks them for coupons. I guess the bottom line for me is the high of saving $100 wouldn’t make me feel ok about buying that many Butterfinger bars. And I haven’t seen too many coupons for liposuction out there.

So overall, I’m learning a lot, actually. In the next month or so I plan to: start really comparing grocery stores and determining if items I have a coupon for are on sale there so I get a better discount; opening my mind to new brands; holding some meal planning for coupons to make sure our meals for the week are the best deals, while still being healthy.

What do you think? Have you seen the show? If you were a non-couponer on my last post, have you come around?


Bonnie@TheFragileXFiles said...

OMG, I have seen the show, and I have been horrified and inspired at the same time. Did you see the woman who bought like 60 bottles of Calcium tablets, because between the coupon she had and the sale they were having, they actually ended up having to pay her $1 per bottle? Ok, making a buck per bottle, cool....but what on earth is she going to do with all those bottles of Calcium tablets? I hope she donated them somewhere. The show didn't say. And that's another thing -- if you have enough toilet paper in your house to last you 3 years, perhaps it's time to start donating some of that stuff.

And yes, the incredibly unhealthy crap they are buying makes me ill. Produce is expensive and you can get coupons for that as well, but you couldn't buy 600 pounds of apples and store them all that well, could you? Everything they buy has to be full of preservatives or this would never work.

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

too bad you don't live in the south. There is a website called Southern Savers that matches up coupons to sales. We have place called Publix (maybe you've heard of it?) and they have bogo items all the can use two coupons on the bogo sale, although you're technically only paying for one. It takes a lot of effort and time to coupon, though, either of which I don't have.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I've never seen the show, but I'm with you. I'll wait for coupons for my Charmin!

Anonymous said...

I haven't coupon-ed in awhile, but that's because I can't really coupon where we shop and the things we usually buy at "The Big Grocery Store" are produce like ginger and jalapenos...go figure. They're already like $1.00/lb. And I have never seen anyone roll out with more than a quarter pound of ginger...hahahahahaha.

I'm SUPER astonished by the Butterfingers thing though. Like, is that a two month stash? Or something to hoard?

Sparkling said...

I havent' seen the show but I've heard about it. I am a fan of coupons. Like the kind that come in the Sunday paper or on a product. I used to try to get them on sites online, but I ran into this problem: the only companies that give coupons are those that provide with a life of crap!! I agree, the majority of those things are so full of sodium and so unhealthy it's outrageous.

I have two more points. First, if you have this much room in your house, room to stuff all this stuff you bought, maybe you could save money by DOWNSIZING and getting a smaller house. Then you would have more money so you wouldn't have to coupon (I too can't believe it's now a verb). Also, I heard that one woman didn't have the multiple rooms for storage, so she had stuff stored willy nilly all over the house. Is this safe? Fire hazards? Inappropriate products in toddler's closets?

And 2. What about the expiration dates? Will you really use them all before they go bad? Which leads me to this: doesn't having more make you consume more? I know it does in my house. If you see 20 bottles of Mountain Dew, I think you are likely to drink more because you know it's there and you can. No conserving or delayed gratification because, IT'S THERE.

And finally, isn't this really just glorified hoarding? Like tenaciouslyyours says. Anyone who has a whole room devoted to food, whether it's organized or not, has a serious mental issue.

I should probably just write my own post about this and not steal up all your space!!

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

@ Bonnie: I have read that a few donated their items. In the cas of getting $1 back, I get it. But if you're paying for stuff you can't possibly use per @Sparkling's point, you're being wasteful.

And Sparkling, you go ahead and use my space anytime. You're right on, sister!

Dianna@KennedyAdventures said...

I'm a non couponer, but I think I'm getting ready to get back into it slowly. I want to make a stockpile of things we will actually USE.

Stopping by from #commenthour

Ginger said...

I do cut coupons but not that extreme. I am totally jealous of their savings but I don't have the time. I agree on the buying junk part. Like seriously, that woman totally did not need that many butterfingers. Or the dude with all the toothbrushes?

Married In Chicago said...

the show is crazy! its the stock piling that just doesn't make sense to me. That is when it crosses the line from saving money to being more obsessive.

Hungrigyrl said...

I have heard so much about that show! Never watched it though. I will use a coupon if I have one for something that I know I will use, but don't go out of my way to clip coupons. Not opposed to them, just lazy. I should use them more, after all, they are FREE MONEY right?? Have a great weekend! and p.s. the Bay Area is very expensive! Imagine living here...That is why my blog is titled "These Are Lean Times!" LOL

Anonymous said...

omg this is the funniest post.. I had to comment before I even finished reading it!