10 Negative Results of Extreme Couponing

10 Negative Results of Extreme Couponing

10 Negative Results of Extreme Couponing


by MoneySavingQueen.com


Posted on September 19, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 19 at 3:00 PM

Before we start this off, let me say this, almost all of these negative things existed before the TLC show Extreme Couponing ever aired. However, the show has certainly increased them dramatically. And still, nearly everyday, I am asked how to be an 'extreme couponer.' The term now makes me shudder and sends me into full defense mode trying to explain that I am in fact a normal person and not extreme...at least not with couponing. I'm sure most of you will agree with me.

In saying that, as the second season of Extreme Couponing is gearing up and getting ready to air, I thought I would post 10 Negative Results of Extreme Couponing in hopes of getting the word out about ethical couponing in the real world.

{10 Negative Results of Extreme Couponing}

1. Newspaper Theft:  People are being arrested left and right as they are finding the urge to steal newspapers off store shelves, driveways and even opening papers in stores, taking the coupons and walking off. Not only is this theft but it is also hurtful to real couponers who would like to purchase a paper with coupons or newspaper subscribers looking for their newspaper on a Sunday morning. This is no different to me, than walking into a store and taking money from the register. Theft is theft.

2. Hoarding: Not sure I have to say much about this. People are buying items in massive amounts, stocking up for the end of the world is my guess. We advocate Extreme Giving, meaning, stock up for your family within reason and give back to those in need. We do not advocate 1000 boxes of cereal shoved under your bed...unless you want mice.

3. Shelf Clearing: Similar to #2 but more of the practice of finding a good deal then buying every single one you can get your hands on for the purpose of stocking up. Remember the 63 bottles of mustard that one 'extreme couponer' wiped off the shelf? Well, unless you plan on eating and drinking mustard for the rest of your life, I'm sure two or three bottles is plenty. Also, clearing shelves takes the deal away from other people who might need it too and it just ain't cool.

4.False Reality: It seems the show has many people thinking that walking out with $2k worth of groceries for $1 is the norm. While the savings are great as a couponer, the fact remains that you still have to abide by your store's coupon policy, pay grocery sales tax and be a normal human being.

5. Time Consuming: Most of the couponers featured talked about the amount of time they spent couponing, many spent 40 hours or more per week. Granted, if you needed the amount of product they were able to walk away with then the savings might be worth the time.

But, since most of us work and cannot actually stock up to that degree, we have to make couponing work in real life. I work more than full time each week and I can't spend another 40 hours cutting coupons, however, since I do know how to shop strategically, it really does not take me more than 1 hour per week. And, I save hundreds of dollars a month!

6. The Homemade Grocery Store: We saw amazing stockpiles, taking up entire garages, bedrooms and closets. While that certainly would keep your family going for quite sometime, most of us cannot have our own grocery stores inside our home. I have a pantry plus a few extra cabinets for storage and I keep paper goods in the garage. It's a real-life stockpile.

As it diminishes, I refill it. Stockpiling is key to saving money, hoarding however is key to gathering bugs. As a smart shopper, it is important to balance stockpiling vs. hoarding and find out what is right for your family and your needs.

7. Double Coupons: While there is no doubt that double coupons help you save tremendously, it does leave those who do not have access to double coupons feeling a little out of the loop. No worries, the key is in the strategy. By combining store sales with coupons and using your store policy to the max, you can save just as much if not more than by using double coupons. In this part of the country, double coupons are so restricted that many times, I don't use them at all. *GASP*

8. Store Policy Changes: Stores are changing policies right and left thanks to the extreme crazies. People are gathering up their families and pushing tons and tons of carts into area stores expecting beyond realistic results. In one of our local stores, during a double coupon event, the store was packed full of people stocking up carts and planning on paying nothing at the checkout.

When they did get to the register, they found out the store only took 3 like coupons per transactions therefore, carts full of items were left all over the store. Seriously. That then led to an immediate change in their coupon policy, they've added restrictions and harsher guidelines to prevent such an event from taking place again. And who can blame them?

9. Coupon Wording Restrictions: We're also seeing more and more coupons with size restrictions, limit 4 per transactions or even lesser values due to the madness of the show. Clearly manufacturers are worried they will lose money so the only reasonable thing to do is to add restrictions to the coupons. I'm not sure even they know how to handle the mass of coupon usage that came to be because of the show. People using coupons is a great thing, people using them the wrong way is not so great.

10. The Feeling of Crazy: "Oh, you're one of 'those.'" Yep, I get that too. After the show has aired, those of us who use coupons in the real world have been lumped in to the category of crazy. It was wild to see how many people posted on my facebook page about how embarrassed they were about carrying their binder in the store or using coupons all together. While it is unfortunate that we might be looked at in a different light, we must also do our best to prove what real money saving and couponing actually is.

The bottom line is that real couponing, changed my life and helped my family eat so there is no show that is going to make me feel embarrassed about that or feel like I can't carry a coupon. If anyone should be embarrassed, it's the people with the 10 carts of food not the mom with two kids trying to save a few dollars. If carrying my coupon binder makes me look crazy, then crazy I must be.

 Here's the thing, 'Extreme Couponing' is about as real life as Jersey Shore. It's all TV which means it has to be 10x's bigger and better than what the real world looks like or we would never watch it. If there was no drama on Jon & Kate, then the show would have been canceled because no one would have watched.

I did watch the preview for this season the other day and was pleasantly surprised to see a disclaimer at the start of the show. However, that is all that I am watching. I coupon in the real world for my family and my job is to show you how to save money in the real world too. We saw a tremendous amount of new people on the site when the last season aired, which is awesome but it also means we have to teach folks that much more about real strategic shopping.

If you are new to couponing, please visit our Get Started: Couponing 101 page. I do have a book available, The Power of Coupons: 13 Ways to Save and I offer events as well. I love saving money, mega money too but I'm not crazy, just a mama with a pile of coupons.