Monday, 2 May 2011

Extreme Couponing

I was going to tell you my exciting news today but I decided to hold off until tomorrow, just to be sure, and write about a show I watched this evening. Did anybody else see 'Extreme Couponing' on Real Time? Over half an hour you meet two different women who use money off coupons for their food shopping and have as a result built up massive stockpiles of provisions. These women clip coupons from newspapers for hours each day and take advantage of the supermarkets' policies of matching manufacturers' coupons to reduce their bills by up to 98%. They are incredibly dedicated, usually have big families and can count on the support of their husbands to help them with the numerous trollies and transactions it takes to save the biggest amount of money. One couple spent over an hour going through the checkout and five hours in the supermarket in total. I can just see THAT being tolerated in Asda.

Watch in awe.....

This girl is 24 and has no children. In the show she ends up with $562 worth of provisions for $26 - they are having a party and needed to 'stock up'. Huh? Apart from the fact that we don't get coupons like that here, most British homes just wouldn't have the room to store those amounts of food. Would we want to? Would you be an extreme couponer if you had the time, coupons and storage space or does it strike you as just a little bit....obscene? I mean, everybody has a right to spend their time and money exactly as they wish, that's a given but all I can think is, why would you want to have all that food and stuff? If it costs you so little why not use your time and energy once a month to coupon on behalf of a homeless charity? This girl does consider that extreme couponing is her talent after all....

Another thing that struck me was that, foodwise all the things that were being couponed seemed to be highly processed - a lot of hot dogs, sugary breakfast cereals, cheese slices, crisps, snacks and ready-made sauces. Nobody seemed to be buying fresh fruit or vegetables, even though one lady was buying what she needed for her monthly menu plan. They all had tens of tins of soup and canned vegetables plus hundreds of rolls of loo roll, bottles of shampoo, cleaning products by the score and boxes and boxes of wash powder. I was mesmerised - it's so very alien to our experience of shopping in the UK, even for the very frugal. Though to be fair, other shoppers were standing around in amazement when these mammoth transactions were taking place so I'm not imagining for a second it's commonplace on this scale in the US either.

I personally am rubbish with coupons. We get so few here anyway really and when I do see one that covers something I actually would use I usually get to the checkout and don't have the coupon with me. Or I get something, take it to the checkout, offer my coupon and find it isn't accepted in the store (in Sainsbury's with a copy of She magazine where the coupon was only usable in Smith's springs to mind. Believe me, I flounced).

So watch the video then book your seat for next Sunday at 9pm, Discovery Real Time (cable channel, not sure if it's Freeview too). It's an eye-opener for sure. Then tell me, could you do it? Would you?

PS -  Regarding needing a compliant husband for extreme couponing, Big Man happened to see the boyfriend in the above video....Snort. 'Bloody daft lad'...
I rest my case.


  1. how bizaare. I garee with you, surely they don't need all that. If they've got th time to be doing it and don't need the stuff they should pass it onto a homeless charity x

  2. I saw the show on Sunday and it was on Tuesday night too I think. Like you said all the food is so processed, nothing fresh at all - no fruit, no vegetables. Not a healthy way to live and to want to turn you home into a supermarket is mad!
    Years ago I lived in a community of about 600 in Chicago and they couponed like crazy to keep costs down but I don't think they did as well as the ladies on the show.


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