Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm jealous of extreme couponers...

I'm feeling a little jealous of you Americans today.

The reason for my sudden attack of the green-eyed monster, you ask?  There's a new reality TV show that I've been watching lately.  I know, I know, I told you all that I'm not a fan of reality TV, and that's definitely the truth!  I hate shows like Big Brother, Survivor, and other monstrosities that only seem to exist to see how far you have to push a person before they become the worst version of themselves.

But I'm a bit more open to those shows like How Clean Is Your House or Escape To The Country.  For some reason, that particular style appeals to my inner voyeur without setting off all those second hand embarrassment alarms.  Give me a glass of wine, a Thai chicken curry, and half an hour of two middle aged British women teaching people how to get lime scale off sink fittings, and I'm as happy as a clam!

I thought I knew about most of those shows, but the other day I found one I'd never seen before.  I was strolling around in YouTube, as I'm known to do, and I stumbled across an American show called Extreme Couponing.  How on earth did I let this gem slip me by?

For those of you who've never seen it before, each episode follows two different "extreme couponers" as they try to buy ridiculously large quantities of groceries without having to spend any money.  It's full of people planning their grocery shop with a military precision that would make an Admiral faint.  Coupons collected, collated and filed into categories an cross referenced by location in the store and expiration date.  Stockpiles of tinned, dried and cleaning goods that would put a 1950's nuclear fallout shelter to shame.

It's absolutely breathtaking!

Take the episode I watched the other night.  In that one, a woman took over $1,800 worth of groceries, and at the end of it the supermarket actually gave her $150!!!  What sort of supermarkets do you guys have over there?  There isn't a shop in this country that would give you money to take stuff out of it!  I want shops that do that!

Unfortunately Australia doesn't do the whole coupons thing, so I'm left watching those shows, growing more and more envious.  Where are my 50 bottles of tomato sauce for five cents each?  Where are my 120 bags of rice that the shop gave me twenty cents a piece to take home because they were discounted to fifty cents and I had a coupon for seventy cents off?  I want to be able to stand at the cash register and watch my grocery bill total go down until it's in the single digits!

Alas, unless I choose to move to another country I'm not likely to be able to do that.

But a girl can still dream.

58 comments:

  1. LAWD, couponing is a full time job so I hear. I will gladly pay the extra 5 cents for my hamburger helper rather than go through the hassle.

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    1. I'm sure I'd get bored of all the planning and hard work within an hour, but it's lovely to dream about it!

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  2. I've heard that shopkeepers hate to see these extreme couponers coming, lol!! I think it only works if you are part of a larger network of couponers who share the booty - that way you don't end up with those 97 bags of croutons :D

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    1. I suppose that makes sense. After all, there's only so many jars of mustard you can really buy before you begin to wonder if it's worth it.

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  3. Yeah, extreme couponing is not possible here in Canada either. There was an item on the news not long ago about a store manager physically attacking and assaulting an extreme couponer on her way out the door. Only in America!

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    1. LOL! That doesn't surprise me. Imagine spending hours and hours scanning all that stuff, only to then have the customer walk out without paying a cent. It must be infuriating for them!

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  4. I tried couponing once. There wasn't any way I could be extreme about it since there aren't any stores in Florida that allow the extremes like on the show - no triple coupon days here! And the problem that I encountered was that the coupons available weren't for things I would ever use. Mostly name brand, overly processed food that I wouldn't feed my dog - and she's eaten some pretty rank things before! So occasionally I find a useful coupon, but I don't stress out about it. Besides often times you can get a store brand for less that the name brand even with a coupon! My favorite grocery store does a lot of buy one/get one and those are awesome!

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    1. I suppose that's true. The shop brand stuff here is usually as good as the name stuff, and always much cheaper. I always buy it.

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  5. Those shows are disgusting! You'll notice that many of the people on them are really fat and/or are eating tons of junk food. I use coupons for pet food, shampoo, toilet paper, and tampons. The rest? Nah. If you cook from scratch, coupons are hard to find.

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    1. That's probably true. The do all seem to buy buying packaged stuff, not fresh.

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  6. The extreme couponers are ridiculous! And they have whole rooms in their houses dedicated to the hoards of stuff they buy! Which leads me to my guilty reality tv show - Hoarders. If you have never watched it, you must. It's absolutely terrifying. But on the bright side, it will make you deep clean your house without complaining.

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    1. I'm like that with How Clean Is Your House. I always watch a few episodes before I clean, it motivates me like nobody's business.

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    1. LOL! I'm pretty sure my mother would love to clip coupons.

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  8. i love how they stockpile things like makeup, cleaning products, toiletries, etc, but the food available with coupons is mostly crap. it's also a full time job finding and organizing the coupons and driving from store to store on certain days while harassing the employees of those stores in order to make it work. no thanks. i'll stick with groupon and just get things i can and will actually use.

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    1. I suppose it's the dream that's appealing, the idea of shopping and not having to pay.

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  9. I wish I could go shopping and walk out without spending any money, but alas, I don't have the skill to pull something like that off. I can't even imagine dedicating most of a day to a shopping trip like they do in the show, especially with my two little boys in tow. I'd end up getting my groceries for free while paying hundreds of dollars for the merchandise my kids broke while chasing each other through the aisles!

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    1. LOL! I can see how that would definitely be a case of false economy :D

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  10. I watched and thought, "You are spending 40 hours to pay to hoarde useless shit!" It's not really a bargain when you ONLY buy stuff because you had a coupon. And have you seen what those people feed their kids? Processed crap. I had to stop watching because they are way too proud of themselves for essentially becoming hoarders who don't have any time to spend with their family.

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    1. LOL! Maybe they should combine this show and Hoarders! Make it a double feature!

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  11. I love that show! I don't have the time or the energy to do it myself, because I think it's a full-time job . . . but it's be nice to buy $500 worth of groceries for $5.00!!

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    1. I don't think I'd even care what I came home with, just the fact that I got all that stuff for so little, it'd thrill me no end.

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  12. I hate coupons with a passion!

    Vinager will remove lime scale.

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    1. LOL! I'll remember that for when I'm cleaning the bathroom :D

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  13. Coupons are nice, sure, but I worry about some of the people who feature on that show. Yeah, you can save buckets of money, but you also are not living a healthy life - it's just straight OCD freakout all the time!

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  14. I rarely use coupons because of that exact reason: you have to buy five of something to get one free, or some kind of combination of that formula. It is a pain to cut out all those coupons and half the time they don't have the product. I actually kind of hate coupons.

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    1. LOL! It does seem like lots of work. Those women on the show are scarily organised.

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  15. I love watching that show, mostly for ideas... and YES, in America we get some pretty great deals. For example, my local supermarket has had a promotion for months now where you get a 5% off coupon for every $300 you spend. You can use the coupon alone, or combined with others before December 20th... up to 50% off at once.

    Guess who is going to save 50% on his holiday grocery shopping?

    Now, I am a BIG coupon clipper and I always shop for the best deals - but I will never be like the folks on that show, for two reasons.

    1.) As stated above, extreme coupon is a full time job - in fact, it is an obsession and you would likely need to give up any social life...

    2.) I cannot bring myself to horde 200 bottles of ketchup, or anything else for that matter!

    The grass isn't always greener. Trust me.

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    1. It's probably a good thing we don't have it here. I'm sure I'd turn into one of those terrifying people with a linen cupboard full of toothpaste.

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  16. I watched the How Clean Is your House one time and the blond gal with the pile-high hairdo ran her fingernail through the brown goo on the inside of the toilet and I was done with her. Her Next show? How clean is My Fingernail.

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    1. LOL! They're a riot, aren't the! I always watch it before I clean. For some reason it motivates me to scrub things.

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  17. The little bit of the show I watched made the Extreme Couponer look like an organized hoarder. It's like watching someone build a ship in a bottle. Clever, but what are you really going to do with it...

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  18. In general, I'm not a fan of that show. It annoys me to see people hoarding all of that stuff. However, I do enjoy seeing people do the extremem coupon thing in order to get food and toiletries to donate to homeless shelters and food pantries.
    I do use coupons, but not as much as I used to. I just don't have the time, and there aren't any for the fresh food.

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    1. Some of the stories are very motivational, with them donating to charities. I like to think I'd do that, but the truth is I'd probably just become a freak with toilet paper stashed under all the beds.

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  19. Great show! I wish I had the time and patience. :)

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    1. I just wish I had the opportunity. Alas, it's not to be.

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  20. I've seen that. I can't believe anyone is willing to spend that amount of time. I really don't need 400 cans of tomato soup. I think you're bound to end up with lots of smelly food in the house because no normal family can eat that much before it spoils.

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    1. That's true. I suppose most of them donate an awful lot of stuff to charities.

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  21. I use coupons, but have never walked out paying $25 for $500 worth of groceries. I'm not sure how those ppl do that! I sure wish I knew their secret. Lately when I am in the express lane of 12 items or less and the person behind me sighs loudly when they see I have a coupons, I normally get to the check out person and say, I am not sure if I am writing a check or paying with the card. That- gets eye rolls all the time! Great post!

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  22. I once watched that show, but I ended up feeling confused and dumb...

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. It does seem like you need a double degree in economics and business doesn't it.

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  23. I love the same sort of reality TV as you. When we were travelling there was a great show from the US that we loved (but that I've never seen here) which was people buying the contents of storage units at auction. They would open the storage unit door, people could peer in for a few minutes but not touch, then they would auction off the entire contents in one lot. I always loved seeing what they had actually bought.

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    1. I think I've seen that one! I saw one episode where they found a hovercraft in a unit they'd bought. A freaking hovercraft!!!

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  24. I was one of those girls a few years back-it consumes your life and we're still trying to use all the deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, lotions, etc. that I got for free.

    Some days I hear about someone getting a good deal (esp. around Christmas!) but I remember how now I have more sanity and my crazy binders and zillions of LA TImes no longer consume my life. Now writing does:)

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    1. LOL! That's probably true. I'm already maxed out as far as obsessions go, I don't think I really have the time to commit to another timesink.

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  25. Ask yourself do you really need 50 squeeze bottles of mustard?

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    1. Only if me and five hundred of my closest friends are having hotdogs ;P

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  26. Very interesting... I really like it... Thank you so much...

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  27. Much like most reality shows, I'm skeptical about the level of "real" in it. I'm pretty sure that as soon as this show premiered, supermarkets everywhere realized, hey, we should maybe close these coupon loopholes that these old biddies with Aspergers are using to bilk us out of free groceries. If Storage Wars isn't real, I don't know what is.

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    1. LOL! I do love the fact that on the show the cashiers are so polite, but you just know if there weren't cameras there they'd be cursing a blue streak!

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  28. I live in the States and I have NO IDEA where these grocery stores are. Every time I bring in coupons to my local super market, there are signs next to every product VOIDING any coupons I may have.

    One thing that made me feel better is that most of what these people buy is crap. I am poor and couponless but at least I'm healthy?

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    1. LOL! I'm sure its one of those grass-is-always-greener situations, but I'd just love to give it a go.

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  29. My boyfriend told me the other night that we could never live in the US, because he knows I would accidentally become an extreme couponer. He is probably right.

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  30. I'm an extreme couponer and I love it! The people you see on the shows don't represent everyone who does it! I consider it a personal challenge to see how much I can buy for the least amount of money! For example, yesterday I purchased $190.00 worth of paper towels, toilet paper, razors, shampo & conditioner, dishwashing detergent and Kleenex. I paid $6 out of pocket and got back $28 loyalty dollars to spend at the store next time. I have several thousands of dollars worth of household products. I belong to several couponing clubs and every week we discuss the local sales and the hypothetical couponing scenarios we are hoping to accomplish. Then we get back together and have our weekly brag of how well we did. Most of us donate large amounts to local homeless shelters, churches and care package to our servicemen overseas. Not only do we save thousands on products everyone goes through very quickly, we also get a sizeable tax deduction for our donations! It truly is like having a job!

    I am also not fat or unhealthy! I buy local fresh food from our farmer's market and find coupons and sales for organic food all time! Couponing is such a rush and you feel great doing something so helpful for your family and community! I highly recommend it as a hobby!

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  31. Rain Clair I totally agree. I am not fat or unhealthy. Couponing allows you to save money on items so that you can have money to buy the healthy foods. People who are not great at math will never understand couponing. Extreme couponing on some items that will never perish helps you beat inflation. You will always use toilet paper, soaps, paper towels, etc. those items will always be in your life. So why not stockpile?

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