A little rant on coupons

I’ve watched Extreme Couponing a couple of times now, and had expected to feel like a Loser Coupon User because I only save $7-15 or so per shopping trip.  However, I now feel like a well-balanced, sane coupon user.

I didn’t realize that the key to saving so much on your shopping trips was to:

  • Spend 20-60+ hours a week organizing your coupons and planning your shopping trips.
  • Spend all your remaining time thinking and dreaming about coupons.
  • Buying DOZENS OF THINGS YOU DON’T NEED and then…
  • Stockpiling those things you don’t need, to the point of even adding rooms to your house to hold all those thousands of tubes of toothpaste.
  • SPENDING TONS OF MONEY to save money.  With all the online coupon databases (all of which cost a subscription price), buying extra coupon inserts, building extra rooms on your house, and just the TIME spent… It just doesn’t seem like much of a savings.


I mean, sure…  I can frequently buy things that I don’t want or need and pay ten cents for them by using a coupon, but… why??  Maybe I could do that then use those items to donate.  But, if I’m not going to buy X item for my family because it’s so full of crap and poisonous additives, I’m not going to buy it for a different family, either, even if it only costs ten cents.  And, really… does anyone NEED 36 bottles of Maalox, even if they cost pennies on the dollar?  And thousands of diapers when you don’t have a baby???

Also… the vast majority of the extreme couponers who have been profiled are SINGLE.  Hm.  Wonder why??

Sounds more like hoarding to me than actual saving.  Like, bordering on mental instability.  Ack.

I’ll save my ten bucks, thankyouverymuch.

Although, I didn’t realize that the shoppers are considering discounts with shopper’s cards as part of the deal.  With that thrown into my meager coupon savings, I typically save 40-60% on my grocery items…  That’s pretty good, I think, even if it’s not 97% or whatever.

AND!  One last thing:  Where is the produce???  None of these shoppers ever buy fresh fruits and veggies.  No coupons for celery, that’s why!  Occasionally, you can get coupons for branded produce, like Cuties and Dulcinea melons, but in general, if you are living 100% on coupon-only food, you’re eating a lot of crap.  And toothpaste.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on April 18, 2011, in Budget, Groceries, Shopping. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I’ve heard a lot of crazy things regarding that show. Back when I got Sunday paper, I would save coupons for things I ate or used regularly and then watch the ads for a good sale and use them. I limited myself to specials at only the 3 closes grocery stores. It became easier when Wal-Mart instituted the price-match (then I only needed to go to one store, except that I found there were a lot of brands they didn’t have that the other chains did). Once it really paid off, and I paid $105 for $215 worth of groceries. But given my very small apartment, I really didn’t have enough space to do the stock up thing. And then I no longer had the money to get the paper. So now I just use the store coupon cards and buy on sale.

    Of course, it’s just me. I think shopping for your family, with all your special needs to consider, would qualify as a full-time job itself!

    • Yeah, Dee Dee. My criteria for choosing which coupons to cut is this, “Would I ever buy it IF it was on sale AND I had this coupon?” If the answer is, “No,” then I just don’t buy it.

      BTW, we signed up for “easy pay” for the Republic and we pay about $5.50/month for both the Sunday and Wednesday paper. I was wrong in the post. If you want to do coupons (no pressure!), you could call the Republic and ask for the best deal for just the Sun & Weds paper. Might be worth it.

  2. Very well said! 🙂

  3. Amen sister! Couldn’t agree more. I have a friend who does this and their house is so full of stuff its unbelievable. Funny that she’s able to tell me how much she saved on x,y,or z but she can not *or will not* tell me what she spends on this stuff a month. I think she spends a whole lot of money on stuff not needed or ever even used. A lot of stuff is wasted. I too believe it *can* be a mental disorder related to hoarding. I’ve received countless calls saying “hey_____is on sale. I can get it for _____. Want me to grab you some?” No thanks I usually say since I’m like you; if I would never buy it anyway why would I now want it when it is cheaper. Such enormous waste!

  4. Very well said, Karen ! Brad is also in total agreement. I can recall buying things I would never use just because I had a coupon. Sure I saved $$ but did I really? I mean I just spent money on something I didn’t need and saved $1.00 doing it….not too smart.

  5. I saw the show Extreme Couponing last week for the first time. We do not seem to have the same options in Canada as the show indicates. We get some coupons and flyers showing store sales but never does the store offer to match or double the coupons!
    You are right, if they stayed along the outside of the isles where the majority of the healthier choices of fresh fruit and vegetables are there would be no need to stockpile. I saw the one where she bought 37 bottles of mustard! Such large amounts of time required.

    • Linda, some of the options the shoppers have, I don’t seem to have available to me, either. I do shop at a store that does double coupons (up to $1) and a few times doubles stuff up to $2 total savings per item, without going over the price.

      Some things, I semi-stockpile — I’ll buy one or maybe two extra of something if I know I will use it soon. But, 37 bottles of mustard?? Although… mustard might be a good thing to donate. Some of them do donate — I saw one where a guy (I think his name is Nathan) donated enough items for ONE THOUSAND care packages for military troops. However, this is the same guy who recently added a WHOLE ROOM to his house JUST TO STORE TOOTHPASTE. That’s right. A whole room devoted to toothpaste. The care packages are awesome, and actually inspired me — maybe I could stockpile a BIT for something like that (or, my library has a program where you can exchange a can of food for a deduction in your fines — THAT would be really useful). So, maybe the show will change the way I coupon, just a bit. But… I just can’t imagine building a whole room for toothpaste. And bragging about it. 😮

  6. I hardly ever use coupons for the very reason you mention in your last paragraph. There are never coupons for the things I buy! No coupons for oatmeal in bulk or sacks of potatoes. We make all our food from scratch. And, I don’t see coupons for flour, yeast, organic sugar, etc. The few boxed or premade things we buy are at Trader Joes and they don’t have coupons for their stuff.

    For non-food related things….we cloth diaper, cloth napkins, don’t use paper towels, make our own laundry soap and all-purpose cleaner, etc. So, no need of coupons here either.

    That show totally creeps me out (and I’ve only seen clips). I think it’s a mental/spiritual disorder for a lot of them.

  7. I watched the episode of that show with the mustard lady—I think her name was Jaime? Anyway, she was clearing the shelves of a particular type of mustard, and her husband kept saying he wanted to leave a few on there, and she said, “No, no, make it an even 60!” And he did, mumbling, “I don’t even EAT mustard.”

    And the hoarding. My gosh, the hoarding. One lady had groceries and household goods in every single room of the house, including her kids’ bedrooms. Her son had about a hundred rolls of toilet paper under his bed, and they were visible. I bet that makes him popular when his friends come over.

    My husband pointed out, as many have realized, that they’re actually spending money rather than saving–by buying stuff and stockpiling it but NOT using it; I mean, after a certain point, you shouldn’t need to buy toilet paper or shampoo or toothpaste for a while, right? Also, they’re making their homes smaller and more crowded (or adding on to them, thus spending more money).

    The best way to save money is to only buy what you need. End of story. I think for these people, if it weren’t couponing they were addicted to, it would be gambling. They seem to get the same high at the checkout as gamblers do near the slot machines.

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