Extreme Couponing on TLC

The couponing world has been going full speed since “Extreme Couponing” came on TLC.  It has just been picked up for another 12 episodes so I wanted to address it on the blog.

The number one question I keep getting asked “Can you teach me to do that?”  Sure if there was a store anywhere in your area that would let you do it.  Coupons work the same if you buy one of an item or 1,000!  Couponing takes some time and there is some learning involved but it is not that complicated.  If you can use a calculator and read a blog, you can save money with coupons!

Just as I was in the middle of formulating what I was going to write another blogger wrote pretty much what I would have said. 

So I am just going to let her say it.  I had the privilege of getting to hang out with her some in Chicago, so I know her heart and that what she says here she really means.

So if you want my opinion on Extreme Couponing, check it out here!

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  1. Laura says

    There have been some great follow up interviews with Nathan to talk about his shopping experience. One of them was my friend Jasmine. She got the “real scoop” on Nathan’s trip to the store. He actually pre-ordered everything that he bought multiples of and the show producers made the store put them on the shelves for dramatic affect.

    Check out Jasmine’s interview here: http://dealiciousfinds.com/ramblings/extreme-couponing-candid-qa-interview-nathan-engels/.

    It’s very interesting!

  2. Kate says

    While I am all for couponing, living frugally, and in general trying to get my groceries for less, I really want to know why people do so much to circumvent the system?

    I really get frustrated going to the store on the first day of a sale only to see shoppers scooping up dozens or more of the same item and then splitting them up into separate purchases and using multiple cards to get around the store’s limit policy. I wanted to purchase just two and there aren’t any left.

    Also, I find it really hard to believe that the 1,000 boxes of cereal were really “free”. Unless he found 1,000 of the coupons, he had to pay for them somehow. If he used a clipping service, let’s say the coupons had a “handling” fee of only .08. That would make the boxes of cereal $80, not free. Granted, still a major savings, but definitely not free.

    Lastly, we have a nice stock pile at our home, but looking at the homes of the people depicted on the show is very unrealistic and scary. All those bottles of salad dressing? They do expire at some point, often pretty quickly. So does toothpaste. While I can see stocking up for say, maybe a year’s worth of toothbrushes, it seems a little goofy to rack up racks and racks of them.

    When does it go from “stock pile” to “hoarding”? Maybe they’re trying to compete with A&E “Hoarders”?

  3. Mary says

    If you go to Joanies site, she states where that trip took months of planning and was NOT the typical trip.

  4. Laura says

    As far as I know the commissary does not limit the number of coupons you can use or penalize you for using multiples (I have only been a few times since I am not military). But I think you could easily come out of there with a 60 – 70 % savings off of their prices, which are already so much lower than normal grocery stores!!

  5. Laura says

    Yep, Nathan did donate almost everything that he got. The problem is that they wouldn’t show that on the air. They showed the Total but he donated pretty much ALL of what he bought (he did do his actual grocery shopping that week so he kept that). Last year he and his wife donated over $45,000 worth of products to three non-profits in their community.

    Maybe one day they will do an Extreme Coupon/Giving Show. That would be amazing television!

  6. Cheryl says

    I have only seen part of one episode and one of the guys did the extreme couponing to donate to the food ministry at his church. He made a game of trying to see how much stuff he could get for as low a price as possible then GAVE IT ALL AWAY to those in need. Kuddos to him! What an inspiration!

  7. says

    Thanks so much. You are so sweet to refer people on over.

    Marie – I wasn’t trying to make it about any particular shopper, but just pointing out that this isn’t reality for couponers. I actually did put in that Joanie must have been in a state that didn’t have sales tax, and it’s interesting to note that Joanie herself has mentioned later that Safeway has changed store policy since doing her trip. They do not allow her to stack the coupons the way she did, so again, not singling out any shopper (I’m sure she is lovely), but just pointing out this isn’t reality. Her shopping trip could not take place now with out breaking store coupon policies.
    I am always open to clarifying, and updating info if I do post any wrong info, but in this case, I stand by my information. :)

  8. Brianna says

    I think couponing is an awesome way to provide for your family. Stockpiling is great. The downside to couponing is that people purchase items that they don’t use or need. Which in my eyes is a waste of time, gas, and money. Just because it costs little doesn’t mean that it is necessary to go into your grocery cart. I thought that all of the deals that were shown on Extreme Couponing where great, but when is it too much. Forty years worth of toilet paper??? 150 years worth of stuff in your home??? It’s great if you are donating to a church, victim’s group, or shelter. But if you are hoarding those items in case of a wartime or just to say look what I can do, then there is an underlying issue and that’s just a person’s way of fulfilling a void in their life. Andrea I do agree with you about trying to coupon shop in Hampton Roads. I live here too and sometimes the deals aren’t that great.

  9. Marie says

    The blogger didn’t have accurate information. The shopper on the show named Joanie,doesn’t have sales tax on the items that she bought in her state. Also, she didn’t break any store policies. Here in Hampton Roads is a totally different story. We do have sales tax and many strict store policies.

  10. kathy says

    I read a post by you on 1/8 and told my sister we need to go to Harris Teeter. So with coupons in hand(a few) we went. While we were there I know there were 10 ladies that live by what you declare. Note books worth of coupons. So I grabbed a sales ad with my grocery list. We had steaks, 3 laundry deter, 3 fabric softner, cookies for my husband and alot more. A cart full a lot BOGO. I saved 127.00 in coupons(a lady gave me 5)and 49.00 in Harris Teeter savings. We were thrilled. I want to thank you.

  11. Danielle says

    I totally agree with the blogger, Jennifer. I only viewed the show online and saw it was very misleading & sad. These extreme couponers are hoarders, who needs all that toilet paper??? They should give part of the loot to a food pantry or womens abuse shelter. I enjoy couponing and saving money like the next person, but I really enjoy being able to use the money I save to help someone else. I have increased my giving due to the dollars I save, not to stockpile my pantry for 10 years.

  12. Andrea says

    SO WELL PUT. Although this show is inspiring, there are so many strict store policies regarding coupons in Hampton Roads, it’s really not realistic to expect to reduce a grocery bill of $2000+ to anywhere near what these folks end up paying. I won’t lie, it does make me want to consider moving to an area with stores like these- so long as their cost of living was also low. :)

  13. Rachel says

    I could not have said it better myself.
    Couponing used to be a quite/private thing that we would do to stretch the budget; now it is like a sport.
    It is very competitive and the stores and manufacture are aware and the are switching policy, so stay tuned.
    I heard they are also going the be making security changes to coupons to prevent fraud and expired coupons. We all know expired coupon will scan but don’t do it because the store you are using it at takes the loss.
    There is coupon etiquette, I’m not talking about being courteous to the cashier that goes without mention. I’m talking about peely stealer,tear-pad grabbers,and blinky takers. Take 2 and keep moving.
    Thanks for letting me vent Laura. :)