Extreme Couponing & Why I Don’t Do It

A recent post by Alex at Late Enough reminded me of how I came home the other evening to find my sweet husband watching Extreme Couponing on TLC with morbid fascination. I had heard a lot about this show on Twitter, but never seen it in real life. He was kind of excited about the idea.

When I was younger and single, and even our first few years of married life, I have had my times of being really good with coupons. I remember one time I texted Christian about how I saved $12 on one shopping trip!

There are a few reasons I don’t “extreme” coupon.

  1. Now I have 2 children under the age of 2 with me every time I go grocery shopping. This turns every shopping trip into a game of “How Fast Can We Get In And Out Of The Store Before Someone Explodes”, not conducive to comparing prices on anything.
  2. They only make coupons for crap. Have you ever examined the kind of products that produce coupons? Let me give you a clue: they are not typically organic. You get a lot of coupons for Pillsbury, who notoriously includes trans fats in everything they make, as well as foods that contain more than a day’s allowance of sugar, fat, or sodium. Never any coupons for fresh produce, of course. When it comes to cleaning products, they don’t usually put coupons for Mrs. Meyer’s or Method in your Sunday paper. Even coupons for Seventh Generation are rare. But you can buy products chock-full of Clorox bleach and phthalates with coupons! You can stock up on that stuff, baby.
    (Do not even get me started on how wrong it is that the products that are the worst for our health are the cheapest, targeting the poorest parts of our population with the highest amount of dangerous chemical contaminants.)
  3. Storage, and the crap that goes into preserving things for storage. To get the big discounts, you have to buy around 1 million of the same item. Even if I could find coupons for organic items or produce – where am I going to store all this before it goes bad? The reason you can buy a ton of cheap, fake food is because it is full of preservatives. Organic items and produce don’t store well, because God made food to decay. But Twinkies never die.  You can hoard your trans fat-filled food for an indefinite period of time, so that you will have a ton of trans fats to live off of when the apocalypse comes. I live in a rental home, rental homes being notorious for having no storage space at all. When the apocalypse comes, we are going to be the first ones down, it’s true. But at least we won’t be sick from all the trans fats.

I have found other ways to save money without extreme couponing. Using just 2 coupons (for organic yogurt and organic cereal and organic pasta sauce) and shopping the sale items at Tom Thumb just this week, I saved $22 total on our grocery bill.  We also participate in an organic CSA co-op that gives us a crate of organic fruits and vegetables every other week, for cheaper than we could buy those items separately in the store.

There are definitely ways to save a little more money and still shop responsibly. But you won’t catch me Extreme Couponing any time soon.

    7 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing & Why I Don’t Do It

    1. Theecochic says:

       AMEN!!!  The only coupons we end up using are the $5 off $50 we get in the mail from Publix.  I don’t have the time and I don’t need what’s on sale.

    2. abullock26 says:

      Agreed.  I saw one lady that had an entire shelf of diapers that she had gotten for free, but she didn’t even have a child.  Thanks for your thoughts.   

    3. Heather Schmidt says:

      I wholeheartedly agree, too.  Gotta love watching those people load their baskets with crap. I don’t care how great a coupon is, I’m not bringing home 15 bags of candy.  (Unless I hide it from my kids and eat it all myself- just kidding.)  I would never buy most of what I see on that show.  And don’t they think about the expiration dates on the toiletry items they are buying?

    4. Molly says:

      I agree. 

      I like coupons, but I only use them on products I’d buy anyway.  Besides, I can’t even coupon that well because  1) there is no store in my town that will double coupons and 2) food costs a lot to ship here, so even on sale the price doesn’t drop enough for a coupon to cover it.

      As far as the show goes I can’t make sense of the huge home stockpiles.  The only one that made any sense
      was a dude couponing for charity.  He focused on things the charities in
      his areas could use: bacon for a charity that cooks breakfast, clothing
      and toiletries for the homeless, etc.

    5. aprweber says:

      I just saw the Anderson Cooper episode about Extreme Couponing and immediately thought the same thing you mentioned here.   That lady is feeding her 9 kids all products with GMO soy and corn, preservatives, artificial colors and perfumes, bleached white flour, and high fructose corn syrup.   Good luck paying the bills when those kids start having health problems from eating total crap.

      I don’t think I would eat any of the products she was putting in her cart or use any of the sundries on my hair or skin.

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