Top 10 Reasons For Extreme Couponing

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If you begin any subject matter with the adjective “extreme”, then a particular kind of thought is probably going to form in your mind – and probably not nice thoughts. Add the extreme tag to the fairly mundane and generally ignored practice of couponing and a smirk, if not a full blown out laugh, might be your first response.

Extreme couponing?! Really?!

Yep, and let me tell you; these folks don’t mess around. Extreme couponers have taken coupon use to a whole new, unprecedented level. So much so, that there is even a television show (titled Extreme Couponing, of course) that chronicles these folks. With couponing on the public radar, here are the top 10 reasons people engage in the ‘sport’ of extreme couponing:

10. Why Not?

As on lady put it, “Why wouldn’t I do it?” It’s hard to argue with her. Once folks learn about the benefits – particularly the immense savings – that come with extreme couponing, it becomes difficult to at least not investigate the matter a little more thoroughly. Who wouldn’t want to walk out of a store with several hundred or thousands of dollars of groceries for only a few bucks? That alone makes the endeavor worthwhile. Throw in the other benefits on this list, and you would think someone would be insane NOT to be involved in extreme couponing. Unfortunately, extreme couponing takes a lot to time and effort, and most of us are lazy. It takes considerable dedication to make it work- and extreme couponing does work folks; it’s the real deal.

9. It’s Fun

Simple and yet the truth – extreme couponing is fun! Most extreme couponers realize all the benefits that result in couponing. Yet, their primary reason for engaging in this activity is simple and to the point – they just enjoy doing it. For many, it gives them a purpose in life – after all, saving the family a generally significant expense is a worthwhile endeavor. There is a satisfaction that comes with being useful and productive. There is also the joy that comes with being successful after putting in hours (and hours) of work to achieve a goal. It takes quite a bit of organizational skill to pull off extreme couponing. It’s so much more than just clipping out coupons from the paper. There is a whole process that has to be mastered to make it work. If you’re passionate about what you are doing, then you probably realize a joy as well.

8. Hoarding

You know, they have a show dedicated to folks who hoard as well. Well, if you have that particular addiction, then extreme couponing is right up your alley. Virtually every extreme couponer has a stockpile of merchandise on hand in their homes. Its par for the course considering the number of products that accumulate to realize the best savings. But really, why does the single woman in her late 40s really need several hundred bundles of pampers and baby formula if she has no children? For some extreme couponers, it’s all about the accumulation of stuff. They just like to see their stockpile grow, and grow and grow…you get the idea. Some of these folks have stockpiles that are valued at $15,000 – $20,000! That is a lot of soap and beef chunks!

7. Social Activity

Apparently, there are a lot of extreme couponers. Who knew? As a community, there is a good deal of networking between folks who have a passion for couponing. The internet helps a lot with this. There are tons of websites, support groups, informational blogs that support the extreme couponing community.  And then there is family. What is surprising is that extreme couponing tends to be a family affair – one that brings family members together in a wholly unexpected way. The kids tend to help mom cut out the coupons and catalog them, the husband goes to the supermarket with wife to help haul all the merchandise (what other time do you know of a husband going anywhere near a supermarket with his wife!). Then, of course, once the friends and extended family begin to learn of the benefits of extreme couponing, well…they want to come around to learn the tricks of the trade. Simply, extreme couponing opens up a whole can of socializing. Who knew?

6. Addiction

Where there is a challenge there is also addiction. As one extreme couponer put it, “couponing is my life.” Ok… That said, these folks put a lot of time into making this endeavor a successful one. The average extreme couponer will spend several hours a week searching for coupons, cataloging them, looking for stores with the best coupon redemption deals, etc. Not to mention the shopping trip itself. These folks will spend 5 to 7 hours in the store, including up to 2 hours just for check-out! You have to be dedicated to do this. But for some, this is what they do everyday – all day. Some spend hours actually going through their neighbors garbage at night (a lady actually spoke about this) in order to collect the coupon inserts from thrown away newspapers. Others speak about the adrenaline rush that they get when they walk out of the store after a successful trip. These folks have a stockpile of goods to draw from for weeks (or months) without having to shop; yet, they are back at the store every week. I suppose this would be the extreme, extreme couponer!

5. The Challenge

It isn’t off the mark to refer to extreme couponing as a ‘sport’. These folks take their couponing activities very serious. It literally becomes a challenge to many to maximize their savings with each trip to the store, or to increase the overall value of their stockpile, etc. Saving 70% on $1,000 worth of groceries may sound good to the average person (and it is), but the extreme couponer will want to up this to 80%, then 90%. Others will want to test the limit of how much they can purchase on any single trip, while only paying a minimal amount of cash (if any at all). One extreme couponer who was recently profiled, amassed a checkout bill of $3,159.30 and only paid out of her pocket $43.73. The question for her now is can she do better? The challenge of the extreme couponing continues to propel these die hard enthusiasts to the next level.

4. Better Quality Products

This is one of the more interesting aspects that extreme couponers mention. A lot of folks know what it’s like to have to shop on a shoe string budget. With money being tight, a lot of will opt for generic products in favor of name brand ones. In fact, a whole service industry has sprung up with the idea of catering to this segment of the market (bulk item retailers and such). Interestingly enough, many retailers offer coupons for name brand items to entice people away from generic items. Extreme couponers, taking full advantage of this, can purchase name brand items (and a lot of them) with each shopping excursion, and pay less than what they would for generic items. And with good reason too –have you tried generic toilet paper lately? Nuff said…

3. Re-Sale

stockpile-garage-sale

Where there is giving there is also profit. There is money to be made with extreme couponing that goes beyond the aspect of saving on grocery bills. As we have already noted, an extreme couponer accumulates excess products that they cannot reasonably use. Some of this goes into their private stockpiles until it can be used (some products, like soap and can goods, have a shelf life of years). Some products are donated to charity. And some products are re-sold. This is actually a pretty good deal for both the extreme couponer as well as the buyer. An extreme couponer can resell their items for, say, half of the sticker price. Since they paid very little, if anything for the item being resold, any more money made (much less half of what it actually sells for) is a winning proposition. And the buyer is only paying half price for an item that they would have to pay twice as much for at the supermarket – again, a winning proposition. I don’t know about the legality of doing this, but hey; America is the land of commerce!

2. Charity

One of the quirks of extreme couponing is that in order to realize the best savings, you have to pick up multiple items of the same product. So, for example, you might end up with 50 boxes of toothpaste, 25 bottles of liquid soap, etc. I know – that sounds ridiculous; but remember – an extreme couponer will walk out of the store with this stuff and will have paid very little, if anything at all. Nevertheless, they tend to have more products then they will actually use in a reasonable amount of time. In fact, the serious extreme couponer will generally have a product stockpile (literally a stockpile – like a mini Wal-Mart) in their homes, most of which will be valued at thousands of dollars. As a result, they have plenty of surplus goods to donate to local charities and food banks. One lady, who was actually featured on the Extreme Couponing show on the cable channel TLC, commented that she had donated about $100,000 worth of products to her local food bank over the course of years of extreme couponing. While the amounts vary, depending on how successful an extreme couponer is, the majority seem to have a giving spirit.

1. Save Money

Shop Related Products

The whole purpose of a coupon is to save money – at least from the consumer’s point of view. But let’s be honest – how many of us take the time to mess with the things? Who cares if I can get 40 cents off of my toothpaste? For most of us, the saving involved in using coupons amounts to a few dollars at best. Not for the extreme couponer. Amazingly, these folks (if they are worth their salt) will save anywhere between 90% – 100% + on their purchases. It’s 100%+ because some of these folks will leave the store with the store owning THEM money. And you need to understand a very important point here – an extreme couponer’s shopping trip is not your ordinary trip to the store for the week’s groceries. Oh no! These folks will run up a tab that amounts to several hundred to several thousands of dollars. Just one example illustrates this point: Ms. K.C, an extreme couponer for several years. Her most recent excursion to the grocery store amounted to a bill of $1,313.03; yet, once her coupons were tallied, the store owed Ms. K.C $0.31. These folks save money. A lot of it!


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14 Comments

  1. As a former retail worker, I wanted to murder everyone who came through a checkout line with more than 4 or 5 coupons. You hold the entire operation up, and nearly every person who does this gets confrontational whenever you deny them because of an out of date or otherwise non-applicable coupon.

    • Lee Standberry on

      I believe it.What I gather these extreme couponers end up spending several hours at the checkout counter. I would definitely imagine that holds business up. Not to mention the trial for the cashier.

    • You are correct.

      My sister is an extreme couponer, but she’s also an extreme hoarder (in denial of course). She hoards pets (around 30-40 cats and dogs currently), food (three deep freezers, a large pantry, and the walls are lined with several bookshelves crammed with food), electronics (she has a couple rooms in her house lined with about 100 old computers, not to mention more stockpiles of electronic parts and broken gadgets, plus she has to have a new phone, tablet, GPS, or other device every two months), children’s toys (she does have kids, but to dedicate an entire room to be filled floor to ceiling with old broken baby toys seems excessive – plus they’re covered in cat pee), software (she can’t stop buying more updates, templates, skins, and other senseless crap to use with her 3D rendering programs which she uses to make pictures of aliens and space ships.

      I’ve gone with her on trips to the grocery store, and many of them ended with her stomping, huffing, and yelling at the cashier, supervisor, and manager about not accepting one of her coupons. She also BUYS the coupons online, pays for shipping, ends up with coupons for items she doesn’t need and doesn’t normally buy, but buys the items anyway because of the coupon. Sometimes she rushes out to buy these unneeded items when the coupons are about to expire, from the nearest store (a publix) that has these items at double the price they would cost at walmart, and overspends on an unnecessary item just because the coupon was there. Buying coupons online is a part of her online shopping addiction, and feeds into her hoarding habits.

      I’ve never met an extreme couponer who wasn’t like my sister, so my judgment is that these women are housewives or lonely crones who live in a world so small and isolated that they think they can fill this void in their lives with hordes of crap. Some are probably open enough to snap out of it if someone cares enough, but some, like my sister, are blindly stubborn about it, so what can you do? They just don’t realize how stupid they look. On the contrary, they think everyone ELSE looks stupid compared to them.

  2. I saw an episode of that show and don’t remember any explanation of how they got around the “limit one per customer” notice I always see on coupons.

  3. Extreme couponing only works in a state that allows stores to double or triple coupons. I live in Massachusetts and the state forbids grocery stores to double or triple coupons.

  4. I read an article saying the show is fake because the stores allow the extreme couponers get away with things regular costumers wouldn’t be allowed to get away with in order to be seen on the show

  5. Sounds good, but most of the stores in most states don’t allow you to buy 20 bottles of anything for free in one trip. Also, the mfr’s are now limiting how many coupons you can use per trip. My store, they double the FIRST coupon only for an item. so it’s great to get 2.00 off something, but you have to go back and back and back… who has time for that???

  6. Thanks for the information, to my mind, couponing can really help us to save money.I have heard some negative opinions about it and all I can say that some people are just lazy to save money. Of course, it takes time, it not just saving money, but a lot of other great advantages also!This article explains step by step why couponing is good and advantageous thing.All I can say that’s don’t be so lazy!People are lazy to earn money, they are lazy to save money, what’s next?I think couponing gives us really great opportunities to have some fun,to be socially active, to help other people giving them food and other goods that we bought with a great sale and other.Really, why not?

  7. Ive worked on a few episodes of extreme couponers and its real. Takes about two hours to check out and usually the customer will call the store ahead of time to tell them they are coming. The store will ask what they are getting so they can get things ready.

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