Extreme Couponing on TLC…After The Show

So if you watched Extreme Couponing last night on TLC,  what did you think of it? There was a lot of conversation about it during and after the show, in fact it was trending on Twitter! Today the majority of Google searches coming to my blog are all based on this post I made yesterday about the show. I also received an email from Nathan himself this morning telling me (in response to him letting me know I posted to notify my readers about the show):

Thanks so much Heather!  I saw your comment about shelf clearing and let me tell you that bothered me too!  Anything that we purchased for the show was preordered.  The producers RESTOCKED the shelves and then had us pull it off, asking me to do it dramatically.  I didn’t realize at the time what they were doing, but they wanted it for TV.  Anyways, thanks for the post!!!  It’s much appreciated!

So just as I figured, a lot of the show was set up for dramatic effect. I’m not claiming that these people are not extreme couponers (their stockpiles are insane!), but TLC clearly skewed the show to highlight the craziness and downplay the benefits.

So let me take a moment to clear up a few things:

  1. I know Nathan (Mr Coupon) and Amanda donate from their stockpiles and in fact donate often. This fact, although mentioned, was kind of glossed over.
  2. The participants in the show were clearly  asked to shop BIG. While I don’t doubt that they save that much on a regular basis, you were likely seeing a bigger haul then they would traditionally do at one time.
  3. Most couponers do call the store ahead of time if they have a lot of coupons and want to buy in bulk. They know the feeling of getting to the store and seeing the shelf cleared just like you and I. (and please remember, that you can always ask for a raincheck if something you want that is on sale is out of stock)
  4. You do not have to buy $70 worth of coupons to score big savings at the store. I have bought coupons ONE time. I have built a  nice size stockpile (I never keep more than 6-8 weeks of supplies on hand though) just using 3 newspapers a week (purchased at the store for $2 each) and printing coupons online. Match your coupons up to sales and buy in bulk when the price is low.
  5. There were some ethical questions raised about how the participants were obtaining their coupons (dumpster diving and taking off of porches). Let me be very clear, it is NOT okay to steal and this kind of behavior is not necessary to save big at the grocery store.

I also caution anyone who wants to become an extreme couponer to start small. A haul like the people on this show managed takes a lot of time, planning and strategy. They didn’t start off with 4 carts and a bucket of coupons. They started off small, working coupons into their grocery budget little by little. Over time, the coupons became their primary form of cash, but you do not get there overnight.

The rush I get from couponing is incredible.

The fear when you walk up to the checkout, “Oh I hope this cashier is coupon friendly!” . The nervousness you get as your total goes up and up and up, “What if I didn’t figure out my calculations right? What if none of my coupons work?“. The absolute relief and thrill watching your total drop drop drop down!

It is a high, and it is easy to get carried away!  Thankfully, most who coupon also have very giving spirits (which was totally glossed over and made an afternote of the show), and they do donate…a lot.

Do you want to learn how to coupon and how to shop smart? Sign up for my free e-book here. It’s a 7 day course that walks you through the very first week of learning to use coupons.

Also be sure to visit We Use Coupons, home of Mr Coupon and learn more about extreme couponing and how it can and should be used for good!

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Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google +

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