Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What is the Deal With Extreme Couponing?

Ok, just caught part of that show on extreme couponers.  I have to say, I don't get it!  What is the point of having a two year stock pile of junk anyway?

It looks to me like these people are just super organized hoarders.  Doesn't most of that stuff expire before they can make use of it?  Doesn't that mean it's just a huge waste?  What I noticed was that most of the "groceries" they are getting aren't real food.  "vitamin" water, candy, salad dressings, enough toilet paper to last 20 years... it's not actually food.

And the time that goes into that! Seriously, it's a full time job finding and organizing the coupons, then planning the trip itself.  I'm all for saving money, but I just can't see myself doing this.

As Shawn and I were discussing this idea, it occurred to us that even if we wanted to, it would be hard to attempt this here.  We don't really have coupons.  There aren't coupon flyers that come with the paper, like the places in the show, and our stores don't have double coupon days.  Oh sure, Superstore has that wall of coupons for some of their brand's items, but that's not really the same thing.

Where do they get the millions of coupons that they are sorting and filing so carefully anyway?  I saw one lady dumpster diving for them, another knocking on her neighbor's doors.  Do they have websites that they get them from?  Do they pay for that?

So, I'm curious, have any of you ever set out to coupon like crazy?  How do you do it? 


  1. I'm with you Mel! But I should tell you that yes, the difference in coupon distribution in the mail and paper between the US (where I assume the show is produced) and Canada is huge! Junk mail in general here (the US) is outrageous! And you can't just put a sign on your mailbox to avoid it being delivered as they manage to get lists and put real names on their flyers, catalogs (from stores I've never heard of!), and coupon bundles so that the mailperson is obligated to deliver. I don't know about where you live but things were TOTALLY different in Quebec.

    And yes, rarely are the coupons for real food, they do expire quickly and anyway, as soon as they do another one is in the mail. So to the extent that we do use a coupon now and then, we just hold off on a given purchase until we see the coupon in the mail (like say a 5$ off your purchase at a given store). As for groceries, most of our grocery store savings are on the 2 for 1 items (or other sale schemes) which change every week and don't require coupons or store membership or anything.

    sorry for the long comment but I thought our experience here might be interesting to you!

  2. I do use coupons but agree that show is insane and there are far too many restrictions in Canada to get away with that. I check Superstore's wall on the way in but get most of my coupons through and various manufacturers websites (such as pampers- who send them automatically when you sign up for their emails). I did once send an email to Chapmans ice cream stating that I'd heard good things about their ice cream an would like to try it - they sent a $5 coupon in the mail. I keep my coupons organized in a mini filer in my purse but despite all that, I'd say I only average $5-$6 dollars savings on an average trip up to a maximum of $20+ dollars in one trip. I try to focus more on knowing what a good price is for an item and trying to wait to purchase it until it's on sale. I did see one of those extreme coupon shows where she got fresh meat and made it free by getting the butcher to divide it into one dollar chunks and them using multiple one dollar coupons - I laughed like crazy but technically it worked :)

  3. Thanks Ladies! And, I love comments and the chance for a good discussion, so don't apologize for long comments!
    It is interesting to me, MC, that there is such a huge difference! I wonder why people are so crazy about coupons in the states, and not as much here? It sounds like the junk mail in Sask is similar to that in Quebec. We get a weekly flyer package, but you can have a sign on your mailbox refusing them. However, it seems impossible to stop those stupid credit card offers, since those are addressed.

    Mainly, I try to focus on waiting until items are on sale for a good price, especially diapers, coffee, margarine and drink mixes. Those items seem to fluctuate a lot! If I get a coupon for an item I would buy anyway, I would use it, but I don't really go out of my way to get coupons. The few websites I have looked into were mostly coupon offers for things I would never buy anyway.

  4. Yeah, we're pretty crazy about our coupons here. : ) My local supermarket doubles coupon up to $1.00 , so a $0.99 coupon is really big savings. Especially if the item is already on sale. I will admit though that it is a little overboard what those ladies do on the show. I did see a couple where they give that food to food banks which is really nice. But, I think the majority of these people get a "high" from it. I could be wrong, but like you said, what's the big deal of having toilet paper for 20 years? I value my closets too much for that. : )


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