I know, you didn’t ask for them, and opinions are….well, you know what they are like, but I am going to give them to you anyway.
Have you seen the TLC show “Extreme Couponing“? I, for one, am addicted to it. When the first one-hour special came out I thought, “Man, they should make more shows like this! I love it!” It’s something to watch and cheer with the person as they get that total lower and lower.
Now, some people have watched this show, bought a few newspapers with inserts and then got disappointed when they didn’t save 98% on their grocery bill. I know, it can be disappointing.
So, here are my thoughts on the program, and just some things to think about IF you watch it or if you don’t and you just want to coupon because your best-friend’s boyfriend’s sister saves thousands of dollars every time she shops.
Things to keep in mind:
- The television show is just that, a TV show. They amp up the drama, they only follow the people when they get those really GREAT deals. They pick these people based on the amount they will be saving on a certain trip. They don’t just pick regular couponers.
- Many times, I’ve seen these ladies (and men) clear out shelves. That’s okay for them, but it’s not something that every couponer does.
- These people also get coupons from all over the place in larger quantities (most of them, not all of them) than you would get from just a regular newspaper or two. This doesn’t make it wrong, or anything, but just keep that in mind when they’ve got 100 coupons for certain items, and you pick up a paper and there aren’t 100 coupons in it.
- It takes time to get the amount of things in a stockpile that these people have. It’s not something that just happens when you make your first trip. You have to have done it for years in some cases.
- Most of the time, the cashiers that work in the stores are not as nice or as cordial as you see on the television show. Be prepared for that when you start your couponing. I’ve dealt with cashiers that were actually rude to me because I was saving $80 on a $100 grocery bill with savings and coupons. I’ve dealt with cashiers that were enthusiastic about the amount I was saving and were excited about the amount I was paying for the groceries. I’ve dealt with cashiers that accused me of theft and called the manager in who had to take over and apologize, as well as give me 20% off because of the treatment I received.
- A lot of the time, saving a good amount of money IS possible. You can feasibly save up to 100% on your grocery deals, so don’t discount the show based on you not thinking that you could save that much. The show IS real. These are REAL people.
- Not all stores double coupons. One of my friends got really upset because she went to a store expecting them to double coupons like in the show, and she couldn’t understand it. I had to explain to her that not every store doubles, nor do they have to. None of the stores in my area double except during some special times, which sucks, but I deal with it by buying things that are already on sale.
- These people put a lot of time in their couponing. In some ways, it’s their job, or second job or third job. This isn’t something that you can just spend a few hours a week doing, unless you are planning on just using coupons to save a few dollars, which is also fine. Cutting the coupons alone can take hours.
- Expect something to go wrong. The show does a pretty good job of showing the couponers they are following having some minor problems (coupons not working, doubling, etc.) and you should be prepared for that. Almost every time I’ve used coupons, I’ve had some sort of problem – from the computer not accepting my internet coupon to cashiers telling me that their coupon policy had changed – and sometimes the deal goes off without a problem at all. Those times are not always the norm, and if a shopping trip does go well then you feel amazing afterwards.
- Always carry a copy of the stores coupon policy with you or call before and write down the name of the person you spoke with. This way, if the cashier tells you the policy is different and you know it’s not, you can show them the policy or ask to speak to the person you spoke with on the phone. Most cashiers will take your coupons without telling you that you are wrong about the coupons, it’s always nice to have those things on hand.