Extreme Couponing versus Hardcore Couponing

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MrsPinecone's Cleaning Supplies Stockpile
MrsPinecone’s Cleaning Supplies Stockpile

On April 6th, 2011 a weekly series is going to start airing on the TLC network called Extreme Couponing and this has me a bit worried. The pilot episode aired back in December of last year and created quite a buzz in the couponing communities. Many viewers of the show became interested in couponing and how to save so much money on their groceries.  The problem is that the show Extreme Couponing portrayed some of the coupon shoppers in a bad light. To be honest, the show portrayed some of these people as crazy, obsessive hoarders who have let their coupon shopping and stockpiling habits take over their lives.

Now I don’t know these people personally, and I cannot speak if they have a problem or not. I do know that the media can have a way of editing a bit to take whatever spin the show wants. This is “Reality TV”, and with most reality TV they want a sensationalized angle on it. The owners of Hotcouponworld were asked last year to be on the show as well, and we turned it down because we had the foresight to see that the show wanted to portray extremeness and we just are not that extreme when it comes to couponing. We instead prefer to call it “Hardcore Couponing” not “Extreme Couponing”.

So what is the difference between Extreme Couponing and Hardcore Couponing?

Infographic Extreme Couponing Verses Hardcore Couponing

Time Spent Couponing

Time is money. The average member here at HotCouponWorld spends 14 hours a week couponing. This time encompasses shopping trips, clipping and filing coupons, and planning shopping trips. Of course being an average number means that some people spend more time and some people spend less. When you are new to using coupons you will probably spend more time at it because there is a learning curve as you acquire the skills needed. Some of the couponers featured on the show Extreme Couponing spent an awful lot of time on what is supposed to be fun, money saving hobby. Balance is important.

Hardcore couponers instead know that while there is some time and work involved in couponing, that it should not be an all encompassing thing. Our spouses, children, work, houses, friends, other hobbies and activities deserve our time; in fact they require our time to maintain a healthy mindset and outlook. Spending 40 hours a week or more on couponing is no longer a hobby but a job and unless you treat it like a job other relationships and priorities can fall by the wayside. Life before coupons is my own personal philosophy.

Hoarding or Stockpiling?

Last week I was out to coffee with a friend who knows that I am a “Coupon Queen” and she wanted to learn more about how to save money with coupons. But the first thing out of her mouth was “I want to learn how to coupon without being a hoarder”. And too often, since the Extreme Couponing show aired this has been a common theme. While it is true that part of hardcore couponing is to stockpile there is a different between stockpiling and hoarding.

Stockpiling is when you purchase extra items that you family needs and will use within a reasonable time frame. These are items that you have purchased at a lower price point so that you don’t run out and have to go buy the items that you need and are forced to pay full price. Your stockpile is reasonable for the size and needs of your immediate household and is based on the storage space you have in your home. This is going to vary greatly from household to household. If you are a small family of just two, then your stockpile should be much smaller than the stockpile of a large family of 6.

If you live in a large house with a basement your stockpile may be bigger than someone who lives in a small apartment with little extra storage space. Also the reasons for stockpiling and sales and promotions can be a determining factor is how must to stockpile. Some people stockpile based on their desire to have a 3 month, 6 month, 1 year, 2 year or more stockpile on hand in case of emergency or job loss. Some people have great double coupons and extraordinary sales in their areas so they actually may need to buy fewer items to stockpile because those deals will come along more often. On the other hand those with a stable job and income may decide that they don’t need to stockpile as much. Or if someone lives in an area where the deals are a little harder to come by they may decide to stock up while they can as they are not sure when that deal will come around again.

Hoarding on the other hand is a mental disease where people let what is supposed to be a tool to help you save money take over their lives and homes. If you have stockpile in your home that you cannot use before it expires or goes bad then it is a problem. When your stockpile takes over valuable living space in your home then there may be an issue. There can be a very fine line between hoarding and compulsive shopping and being a smart coupon shopper. If you have a tendency to buy things that you don’t need, want or will use then couponing may not be the right hobby for you.

Couponing is a Hobby not a Job

I have mentioned a few times in this article that couponing is a hobby and I want to reiterate that point again because this is where the line can get blurred for a lot of folks. Most people have a hobby of some sort be that gardening, collecting stamps, painting, ceramics, model trains, or scrapbooking. However one of the fun aspects of couponing and one that makes it different than most hobbies is that this hobby saves you money. Most hobbies are in fact expensive. But like any hobby there are always those people that take it a little too far. My own father for example was a remote control car hobbyist when I was growing up and he took it a little too far at times. Spending more hours on his quarter scale race cars than he did spending quality time with his family, spending $400 for a set of tires for his little race cars and just generally letting it get out of hand. While I love my father, his obsession with his hobby led to resentment with his children because of the money and time spent on it instead of on his family. It was only when my dad’s prize race car that was on display in a local hobby shop store window got stolen did it all come to a clear realization that he had taken his hobby too far. Couponing when done in an extreme way too can come crashing in on you if you let it. Too many hours spent on the computer researching deals (yes I know that goes against what I should say as a site owner of a site that is set up for researching and discussing deals), clipping and organizing coupons, shopping at every grocery store in a 30 mile radius, filling up rooms that could be used for family use it all is too much. A long time ago there was an episode of Wife Swap that featured a couponer who filled her bathtub with toilet paper and paper towels. This was obviously too much, at least in my eyes. Stockpiling paper goods in a bath tub making the tub unusable for what it was designed for, taking a bath or shower, is over the top.

I will say however that some of the coupon shoppers featured on the show Extreme Couponing are website owners or bloggers and they have taken couponing past the hobby point and have made it their job. Keep this in mind when watching the show, that some of these folks have made couponing a full time career so that they can teach others how to coupon. I too spend a lot of time on the computer working, managing a large couponing community, posting deals and checking out what deals others are posting on the site. But I treat it like a job with dedicated work hours. However, I don’t stockpile just for show and to say “Look at how big my stockpile is”. I have a large family of 6 (2 adults and 4 children at home), a young adult child who no longer lives at home but still “shops” at mom’s stockpile and 6 pets.  I also live in a house with a large garage so my stockpile is reasonable for the house I live in and my families’ size with one wall of shelving in my garage, two freezers and a closet inside my house for health & beauty products. My stockpile does not take up living space in my house. There are not shelves of pasta in my husband’s “man cave” in the basement!

Following the Coupon Rules

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on Coupon Ethics that spoke on some points about couponing within the rules and guidelines set forth by the stores and manufacturers. And I honestly feel that we as part of a larger couponing community need to be mindful about how our actions affect other couponers. What is shocking to me is that the show Extreme Couponers has featured some coupon shoppers that shopped and went against the stores policies all the while the store personnel cheered them on because they were getting free publicity out of being featured on the show. I have heard some rumors even that future shows are going to show a couponer that decodes coupons (decoding is a no-no, that is when you find out what item the coupon will scan for instead of what the coupon says it is for). I hope that these rumors are untrue because decoding coupons is unethical and wrong and it may guide more couponers into this shady practice. There are so many deals to be had using coupons the right way that there really is no need to coupon unethically like that.

Also I have seen recent changes at some stores nationwide in their coupon policies and I secretly feel that these changes have come about because of the Extreme Couponing show. For example Kroger stores in parts of Texas will be stopping their double coupon and triple coupon promotions starting April 13th, 2011. This is sad news in this grocery market and I wonder if other stores will follow suit. It is important to understand and follow the coupon policies set forth by the grocery store you are shopping at. When stores see an influx of abuse and misuse they change their policies.

Remember that there is a balance one must find with any hobby and couponing is just that, a hobby. Thinking about your household’s needs and finding what works for your family and your time is important. You have the power to create that balance in your life by setting limits on how much time you will spend on this hobby, where and what you will stockpile.

41 COMMENTS

  1. Fantastic article Heidi. I love being a hardcore couponer and having a stockpile, but I do not let coupons overtake my life! Its a fun hobby that saves money instead of costing me money. There are hundreds of thousands of couponers out there that save thousands each year by using a few simple tips found right here on Hotcouponworld. So glad that you took the time to show the difference!

  2. Awesome and very informative article, Heidi! I sure wish there were a lot more ‘hardcore’ and a lot less ‘extreme’ out there. I agree with you totally that the ‘extremes’ are going to cost us a lot of deals in the future due to changes in policies both at stores and with the manufacturers. Hopefully a lot of people will read this and take it to heart. Thanks so much!

  3. I like you thinking! I now consider the words “Extreme Couponer” offensive or slang. Hardcore or “Super Couponer” sound much better.

  4. I think you made several good points about hoarding…I consider my couponing shopping both a hobby and a part time job. The money I haved saved allows me NOT to have to have a part time job in order to support my Soliders. I have been blessed that so many good deals can be found on products they need. I think that the show will hurt the “normal” couponer because folks will get the idea that everyone who coupons is potentially a nut job. I agree that the show will edit in order to capture audiences and show the extremes of both “good” and “poor” coupon behavior.

  5. Great article! I feel there is a clear difference and when i teach others about using coupons, i hope to impress on them, that life does in fact, come before couponing. I do think the TLC show went too far, and hope that owners of stores understand that the majority of us do it for our families, not to rip people off, or break the law. I also hope that people realize that not all of us are extreme~ i am tired of people asking me if I need to go on the show. No, i do it small scale, and only what my family can use. I am different than them!!!!

  6. Great article! I agree that this show may cost people deals in the future. I know here in the D.C. area that a lot of stores only double coupons 99 cents and under, a lot only double 50 cents and under. I have a hard time believing that these people are saving that kind of money in an honest way. Maybe some are, but I coupon a lot and I’ve never saved that much ever.

  7. I agree. TLC’s programming overwhelmingly has a “sideshow” bent (people with a ton of babies, family with the most kids, people of short stature, people who didn’t know they were pregnant until they gave birth, etc.), and they are not going to be invested in showing the average “hardcore” couponer, nor the real rules that stores have set up for everyone. I’m not even a hardcore couponer (I’m happy to save 30% on things I normally buy and don’t have a huge stockpile), but I can see how these shows are going to skew reality for those who are greedy. It’s already creating bad publicity for all couponers, which will hurt all of us, even occasional or moderate couponers:

  8. I am not defending the show by any means, but there were a few positive points brought out in what I saw last night.

    1. Donating cereal to a church food bank
    2. One woman called the store she shops at to verify their
    coupon policy.
    3. One of the women only used the space she had available
    and stockpiled what they would use in 6 months.

    I do agree that TLC is trying to put a spin on couponing to make these people look like freaks, but I also think the people that are agreeing to be cast on this show are a little more than over the top with how they do things.

  9. Here in KY(OH too) the Kroger stores have already stopped the use of their online coupon being doubled with a mfg. coupon. I spoke with a customer service agent and she told me that it was because of the Extreme Couponing Show on TLC. They know that they are going to be hit big time with this program and the recession. Kroger owns a huge portion of the US market.
    So, although the show was out there to show extremes everyone trying to save a little will be paying for it.
    Sad. I liked the fact that some donated it but I could not wrap my head around leaving my garage full of stuff that would outlive me and my car out on the driveway deteriorating!

  10. Seems impossible that hoarders/stockpilers could consume so much food before the experitation dates! If you can’t use it, how is that saving??? Too much of a good thing….obsession, addiction?

  11. This post will really date me! This is not the first time in history that corps have been reactory in changing their couponing policies, fearing a dip in earnings.

    When Susan Samptur hit the talk show circuit on couponing & refunding, plugging her book & refund publication, tripling disappeared & doubling was a very rare event.

    Coupons suddenly had expiration dates or shorter expiration dates, the later has been a progressive shortening over time of the coupons useful life. This change was made to keep the corps happy, they can plan when to place what on sale & not worry about your coupons.

    Networks focus on ratings & Reality TV is a big draw. With the economy in the state it is in, saving is a topic everyone is intrested in,will tune in & up goes the ratings.

    There are few if any people in corp management that are old enough to remember why they brought back doubling. In the past they watched their marketshare decline. Market Share is very important to them, just like ratings are to networks. When things die down, the series is pulled or its ratings drop-off enough, they will change back & doubling will return.

    My initial reaction to the program was to fire off an email to TLC to pass on to have the Extreme Coupon Mom with the stockpile stuffed everywhere my number, she needs an Extreme
    Makeover of her stockpile gone wild-new adrenaline rush would be thrown in for free!

    Reality of this Reality Program grabbed me by the throat at 9am during a local weekly group coaching session that turned into a discussion & reinforcement of ethics, bounderies & extremes. My conference sessions all were altered for the day & I have juggled all presentations that start in the future to address the extremes at the beginning. I also will be better prepared to answer the question often asked, What is the difference between the Coupon Class for $10 at the Holiday Inn & what you offer?

    I reside in Elkhart, IN, thanks to Pres. Obama most everyone knows where that is. I do not teach coupon classes. I am a Life Coach for Women in the areas of Saving on a Shoestring (more than groceries),Food Addiction & Domestication Overload. Yes I am a hardcore couponer not an Extremer. My stockpile is sufficient without encroaching on any bedrooms, living/parking spaces or spare tubs/showers. Wife, mothers of 5, grandmother of 2 and pet owner.

  12. When I saw the the show back in December of last year I was horrified. And it is getting out of hand all over. All our stores that used to double or triple coupons not will not even think about it anymore. I have had several people ask me about how to coupon like on TLC “Extreme Couponing” and I tell them how I see it, Ridiculous and fraudulent on the stores and the people using the coupons. Each manufacture specifies how to use there coupons, yet for some people, getting away with more than just a few items, clear shelves off and leaving anything for other customers, and they cannot see the damage they are creating. Because in their minds, they HAVE to have it all. It’s an illness and an addict of Hoarding. Most of these people could never eat that much food in a month let alone a year. They need to be seeing a counselor and start going to a 12 step program like any other addict.
    I am a very faithful couponer, and I follow the rules. A stockpile doesn’t mean to take away valued area of a home, but to organize an area that can meet your families needs in case of an emergency. I get all the updated Coupon Policies and live with the adjustments. We are on a fixed income and every little bit helps. And not only myself and my hubby but we donate to our local food bank as well as a Church Center in Mexico with over 50 homeless people. I do not look for Praise when helping those in need. I look for coupons that will help me stretch my budget so I can help.

  13. As a Super Couponer myself, I applaud Heidi for a well written article reponding to the popular TLC coupon show. I don’t really see the whole interests as “reality shows” aren’t true reality but FAKE, FALSE, & titering on the obsence. I have heard major rumblings of both the store(s) & low paid actors (acting as coupon shoppers) taking part in absurd coupon usuage & acceptance by the grocery stores. Believe me, in REAL LIFE this would not happen. Using incorrect coupons for items is fraud, not true couponing. So some lady just bought, i mean stole $1700.00 worth of merchandise because she turned over some incorrect cpns. I’ve heard thru the grapevine that TLC is doing their due dilengence now over their tv actors…about time. I wrote TLC/Discovery Channel & told them they should investigate. This show is not realistic, & protrays bad behavior. I am a great coupon shopper & want the opportunity to get great deals, have a reasonable stockpile (does not overtake my household), and only buy what we need. Please, I beg all couponers to use a code of ethics!

  14. Everything in moderation is the best way to be when it comes to anything in life. Use couponing to help your family during these hard times…don’t let it take over your life and know when too much of a good thing is.
    It is ridiculous, in my humble opinion, to buy 80 of anything at one time, especially toothpaste or other items that a couple tubes will last you for at least a month or two in an average family. Know there is a limit to taking too much of a good thing to the extreme! 🙂
    Your article was very good and appreciate it.

  15. I have been watching Extreme Couponing on TLC. I found it very interesting but there was no way I would be able to do all that these ladies and men do. I do use coupons as much as possible and I try to pair Target coupons with my own but my local grocery stores do not double coupons. What is a person going to do with all those bags of potato chips? They would get stale before my hubby and I could eat all of them.

  16. I applaud you for taking a stand! I totally agree with you. There is a big difference between shopping responsibly using coupons for things you need and will use and what these people are doing.

    Breaking the rules in the guise of helping (in respect to the guy who bought 1000 boxes of cereal) is still breaking the rules. I have been donating to my local food pantry for years and I have never had to break the rules to do it. I just use my coupons and good sales so I can can stretch my meager budget and still afford to help those even less fortunate than myself.

    I think that this show is completely irresponsible and promotes bad and unethical behavior. I had some people approach me in the store the other day wanting to learn how to be like these people. I explained how I shop and also told them that the show is not reality.

    Anything in extremes is bad and this show is going to ruin couponing for everyone, not just those involved in breaking the rules.

    • Thanks Colleen for your comment. What it boils down to is there are tons of great deals to be had without breaking the rules. Using coupons is fun and saving money on groceries is one of the few areas of a households budget that can be brought down IF you are willing to take the time to learn and IF you are willing to take the time to put in the work involved. Donating extras is great, but in my opinion you give from your heart not for the “show of it all”.

      Naomi – Each person has to stockpile based on their own personal needs. I cannot comment if the many bags of potato chips would be eaten before they went stale. Chips is just not something I like to stockpile for my family. A couple of bags (4 or 5) is good for our family of 6, and even then it is something I limit because if they are around, they will get eaten. I am not a salty snack lover anyways (bring on the sweets for me!), but my husband will eat a bag of chips in one sitting. Its not good for him so I limit how many I buy. Our stores here also do not do what I would call “real doubles”, Albertsons here puts out three clippable double coupons every few weeks and you are allowed to double three coupons at a time per transaction and the policy for the Northwest region says a limit of three back-to-back transactions. So doubling 9 coupons at a time and the doubles run only for three days when they do them, it is just not worth my time to run to the store over and over. If I did one trip a day for the three days and three transactions each trip I would save an extra $27. And that is usually good enough for me. But I still come under budget each month (my grocery budget is $400 a month and I usually spend around $250-$300). I get plenty of great deals and save on average 70% or more. The kicker is, fresh produce. I spend $50 a week alone on fresh produce so that is $200 a month of my budget right there. Produce prices up here in Wyoming are high. But that is OK. I get free HBA stuff and lots of other free and cheap items and that lets me afford the more expensive produce. It is all about keeping it in balance for you and your household.

  17. Thank you for this article. It was very well written and reminded me of a few things. I almost felt bad for not having a large stockpile( I have a few canned things and like 8 boxes of splenda). We live in England currently and space is one thing that I do not have much of to spare but at the same time deals are very hard to come by. I went ahead and set aside 1 shelf in my guest room for when those sales happen. We have case sales here occasionally.I do wish I had more then one store to use but I am grateful to have the one and at least they let us use expired coupons. I hope they feature some ladies on the show who see couponing as a hobby and do follow all the rules and guidelines set by a store. I want to see the average person on that show and not the crazy fanatic one so to speak lol.

    I am glad to consider my couponing a fun hobby and do hope that people realize that it does take spending a lil time on your hobby to save money. Its unrealistic to expect to go to the store spend $300 and pay only $20 or less. You might be able to do it but then you have to ask did you really need the stuff you bought.

    Thanks again for a fantastic and well written article.

    • bryansilvia – Thanks for the thanks on the article! It is true that not everyone has lots of space for a large stockpile. I am lucky I guess in that I have extra space in a garage although we do like to actually park our car in there from time to time too, so I don’t take up the whole garage. Just one wall for shelving and part of another wall for my two freezers. I am assuming that since you are in England and can use expired coupons that your family is military, and if so I would imaging that PCSing with a large stockpile is hard. We are ex-military family too and I know that they limit what you can pack as far as liquids go. Enjoy the hobby and remember that any savings is still savings!

  18. Excellent article. I have used coupons for a long time, but just for .50 here $2.00 there, kind of thing. I watched. “Extreme Couponing” and was AMAZED at how much money these people were saving. I admired there couponing skills, however clearly most of them have an addiction. Most of them are hoarders.

    Watching that show is what brought me to this site, (doing some research). However being a coupon newbie, I am so glad that I came here and read that saving that kind of money is unrealistic and most of them were being unethical.

    I did wonder, I mean, I started looking at the sales ads and the coupon inserts and read the restrictions and limits and wondered how the heck they were able to get away with all that they had? It didnt add up. Now I know why.

    I am also concerned that because of the show, that coupons will have so many restrictions, the savings wont be worth the work involved. And that makes me sad for all the people who are doing this ethically.

    So thank you for bringing clarity, wisdom and truth to my new adventure. I look forward to saving money and having the things my family needs on hand, without making my kids sleep over toilet paper 😉

  19. I really enjoyed this article. My Kroger in Michigan has stopped doubling coupons too. They stopped in Mid-March right after the show premiered. When I saw that I immediately thought that it was because of this show and was kind of disappointed. They also aren’t allowing their Kroger digital coupons to be used in conjunction with manufacturer’s coupons.

    • Meghan – It appears that more and more stores are changing their coupon policies lately. Is it due to the Extreme Couponing show? I guess we can only guess, however I have heard that the show has been a buzz among some of the retailers. My hypothesis is that the new policy changes are directly related to the crazy couponers on the show and the influx of people that are going to give couponing a try.

  20. This is a great article. A friend of mine was talking about this extreme show last week, so I took a look at it, figuring she was blowing it out of proportion. I was horrified.

    I started couponing in 2001. My family was hit with some pretty rough times financially, and i was able to make a small food budget go a long long way thanks to couponing. I was good at it. A couple years later, we weren’t so bad off with money anymore, and I stopped couponing. Well, here I am again. Maybe I should have kept up with it, and I probably would have had 3-4 months or so worth of groceries and household stuff when we got hit with the layoffs, but I didn’t, and that’s ok, because I can do it again.
    Seeing what people are “hoarding” on this tv show though. That’ just beyond belief. They need therapy…or a good dose of shame.
    Excellent article Heidi, thank you for sticking up for the normal folks against this ridiculous television spectacle.

    • Cordelia0704 – Thanks for leaving your comment. I have been right in the same boat where couponing literally was only way I was able to afford to feed my family. You can do it again, build your stockpile up and help you out during these lean times. I will never say that it is easy. It takes work. But if you are willing to do the work then you at least know you won’t go hungry couponing. The community here at HCW is here to help and support and teach.

      The TV show…well I am kind of amazed at what some folks will do just to get their 15 minutes of fame.

  21. That show was nuts and so are the people. Now I suppose Kroger in Ohio will change the double couponing and little folks here will be hurt by all the coupon hype..Most of the time I find the store brands to be better and have a better price.

  22. Thanks for putting this into perspective!!! It made me feel really bad that I couldn’t get the totals that these people were getting!!! Mind boggling!!

  23. oh my i sure hope my kroger store has not stopped doubling coupons as im heading there sunday with a bunch of coupons,it will be my first time using so many coupons at once,

  24. Wow, I am so glad I discovered this website and read your article. I have been wanting to start using coupons diligently and have been unsure where to begin. Then last week my DH “insists” I watch this show Extreme Couponing. Oh My!! I thought how in the world do they do that? I also thought that if I have to go to that extreme, forget it! I was about to forget the idea of serious couponing, but this website and your article has put things back into reasonable focus for me. Thank you.

  25. i’m confused as to the amouts these extreme couponers actually pay. don’t they pay taxes? and can you really get the store to pay you if you have a coupon thats worth more than than the store’s sale price?

  26. i saw the episode last december and from what i remembered, it was part of a series on obsessive behavior. i think the show following the extreme couponing episode was a young man who was addictive to pizza and needed intervention by a therapist and nutritionist. when you take all this into consideration, the shows i saw on this channel depicted behaviors that are imbalanced and “extreme,” regardless of the activities portrayed.

    in reference to the show about extreme couponing, i thought it was very odd that the cashiers, customers, and store managers were so accommodating in the show. it was weird since it didn’t match up with my every day experiences with couponing. more often than not, i run into cashiers, store managers, and other customers criticizing me for keeping up the lines, or violating policies that i simply have not done (e.g. a store manager telling me that my EB did not print for a shampoo deal was in part due to my already purchasing the deal for the week, or that i have extra cards; the reality was, i did not purchase that weekly deal yet, and i was only using my own card). as a result of the stricter policies in couponing nowadays, i make sure to ask for the store managers or to double check with the forums for changes in policies, so that i can still save some money.

    i am glad that HCW addresses this show and how it negatively portrays couponing. i don’t watch tv very much but if these shows are on the air then people, without actual knowledge of what couponing is about, will go away with a skewed impression of couponing. i know i did, and i do couponing!

  27. so true and can not be said enough it only takes a few to ruin it for everyone- as my family ha grown so has my stockpile but when only what is “useable” is what people need to see- ok last week i bought over 21 boxes of cereral- mind you i have six kids ok and they can eat two boxs at a siting- so w0ith it being on sale 1.68 and a coupon for 1.50 off when you buy three ok so i bought and have it looks like alot but will not last until it goes on sale again- they are going to start making it hard for people to use coupons- i started over 10 years ago in cali and the store doubled all up to a dollar including that- got alot but lets hope people see it is to save monies and not ruin it for all the ones who need it to live- but on a good note a women in line was trying to coupon for the first time- her total before 647 after coupons 320- not too bad for first time but was not all items on sale that she was using her coupons for but she saw my binder and asked for my number and we are going to get together to show how to save more- cant wait
    but i watch the show and sometimes it is ok but most of the time the ones with the biggest stockpile are w out kidsw- as our family grow so did our stockpile- but the one couple who gave it all to the shelter way to go
    thanks for listening

  28. Thank you so much for this article. I admit, Extreme Couponing got me interested in stepping up my efforts, but I have been appalled by stockpiles that look like examples of mental illness. My couponing efforts are a way to feed a family of 7(Six adults and 1 child) on fixed incomes. I simply want to shop less and maximize my spending. I look for buy one get on free offers and such. I have a large walk-in pantry, an extra bedroom closet, a wall in my garage and a small chest freezer. My husband and I pla to invest in an additional freezer. Making life easier and saving some money are my goals. It took me 40 years of renting to buy this house. I’m not giving up my living space for a stockpile. Thanks again!

  29. Hello Heidi: I have never seen the Extreme couponing program.But I have seen bits and pieces of videos. I don’t have cable tv. : )
    I have always used coupons for groceries, but not to the extent that I am now. I am trying to pay off credit card debt and found that by lowering my grocery bill, I can put more on paying off those credit cards.
    I recently saw a t-shirt for sale that says “I’m not a hoarder, I’m a Collector”…. As the TLC show becomes more popular, I expect we will be seeing one of the extreme couponers wearing it…
    Glad I found your site. It’s been immensely helpful. Thank you.

  30. Yes, the Extreme Couponing will probably have some stores going into a bit of a tizzy for a while and eventually those that enforce the harshest coupon restrictions will find themselves losing money to other stores that are more lenient and things will work their way back to normal. Also, despite the economy, I foresee the attempt at “extreme couponing” will lose momentum. Most people I know who have dabbled at couponing, do just that, dabble. They don’t want to take the time to sit down and clip them and then match up the ads.

    I agree that we should all follow the rules and be courteous in our shopping. We also need to stop being so darn judgmental of everyone else. One woman pointed out she bought over 21 boxes of cereal at one time, but that her family can go through 2 boxes at a sitting. To many who saw her purchase it, it may have seemed “extreme” but it was what her family needed. No one knows what someone else is doing with their “obscene” stockpiles. You don’t know how many family members or neighbors “shop” those stockpiles. You don’t know what gets done with it so it is, quite frankly, no one else’s business. Others might see things you do as “obscene” that you feel are necessary, as well.

    The judging that goes on here is what’s obscene to me.

    • You are right Sherry, it is a good reminder to being less judgmental. I say here at HotCouponWorld all the time that you need to base your stockpiling needs based on your family size, available unused space to store it, length of time you want to have a stockpile for (3 months, 6 months, 1 year, etc). What is a reasonable stockpile for me and my large family may not make sense to those with a smaller family. I think most commentary of how much people on the show have stockpiled is when they buy just for buying sake (70+ jars of mustard then turn around and point out that they don’t like mustard) or an entire room of toothpaste that even if you brushed your teeth 7 times a day every day for the rest of your life you would never use that much toothpaste. That is a little too much. Especially when it is done just for show and not how that person normally would shop.

  31. I really need to save some money I live in Kentucky and need someone to tell me how to do this. Our money has been cut in half when two kids. I also want to build a stockpile to give to churches. Please help me

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