I know several of our readers are pro-couponing and couldn’t meet their needs without them. Personally I look for coupons and try to use them occasional. I really got into CVS extra care bucks for a while to help me stock up on diapers before my first son was born. But I think there is a line between healthy couponing and crazy…
With the return of TLC’s Extreme Couponing series, I think it is time for me to vent my frustrations with the extreme couponing craze.
1.) Everything has an expiration date: The thing that bugs me the most is all of the waste. Is it even possible to use 70 containers of mustard in a lifetime? When I was on hospital bed rest, I remember an episode where a man claimed to have enough deodorant to last a lifetime. All of these items have expiration dates! Just because it is not a food item does not mean you need to have hundreds even if they are free! A few years ago I had the opportunity to go help with Hurricane Katrina clean up. Seeing suburban houses, just like the one I grew up in, and all of their contents destroyed really changed my outlook on what was necessary to keep. I can’t imagine if one of these homes that we went to help clean out had been the home of an extreme couponer.
2.) When your coupon deals are taking over your house, you need an intervention, not a high five: Most of the people on this show are really hoarders. Many of us know from personal experience that snagging a awesome deal can give you a high. However, when your prizes start filling up entire rooms in your house to the point that you’ve got a stock room set up in your bedroom, there is a problem. I can’t imagine a utility shelf full of paper towels and hand soap is going to help set the mood, unless your spouse is into role playing grocery store.
I was particularly concerned with the woman who was obsessed with making sure she looked good when she shopped, God forbid anyone think she was poor! She may have looked good buying $2000 worth of grocery’s for $100, but I think it revealed that she needs some professional counseling.
3.) Couponing is time consuming and costly: I think coupons are a great and wonderful thing, however it is important to remember that there is a strategy behind companies offering coupons for their products. Believe it or not, they do NOT want to give you a bunch of stuff for free. When I have tried to coupon I find that I am usually a.) spending money on a newspaper that I otherwise wouldn’t read for coupons, b.) gushing through a ton of printer ink which is about the same cost as unicorn blood to print coupons from the internet, c.) buying a bunch of stuff that I don’t really have the money for right now because it’s on sale and neglecting things I really need, and finally d.) coming home with a bunch of stuff that I either shouldn’t be eating or don’t really need. (i.e. 70+ containers of mustard) They neglect to show that several of these people either buy their coupons online from other people or they buy several newspapers.
4.)Is it really saving money if you are buying stuff you wouldn’t normally buy?: Even if it’s next to nothing? For example a lot of coupons are for things like mac and cheese, sugary kid cereals and snacks… I rarely find coupons for things that I buy regularly that put a huge pinch on my wallet like diet soda. For a while I was on an organic kick, trying to eat a whole heck of a lot better than is convenient for my lifestyle. I really had a hard time finding coupons for things like Greek Yogurt and whole wheat panko bread crumbs.
5.) Imagine how they could make a difference in the lives of others: How awesome it would be if someone was an extreme couponer and donated at least half of what they hoard to a food bank or some place serving people in need? One episode aired a man who purchased hundreds of boxes of cereal for free and then donated them to the local food bank. Why stop there though? A lot of the food banks could really benefit from having people donate things beside huge cans of generic brand beans and vegetables. Do they not deserve to have nice toilet paper and paper towels too?
I have nothing personal against people who want to stick it to the man by getting carts full of stuff for next to nothing, but please I beg you to remember the people that have nothing. I’d love to hear your thoughts…