I have been watching this Extreme Couponing show for a week or so now and I am both disgusted and inspired all at the same time. Is that even possible?
If you haven't seen this show before, it is a showcase of OCD behavior where people brag about how many boxes of toothpaste and rolls of toilet paper they have gotten for free and subsequently stockpiled in their basements, closets, under children' beds, etc. Many of these folks spend hours a week clipping coupons and working up spreadsheets to determine where the sales are so they can swoop in a wipe a store out of dental floss for pennies on the dollar.
Shopping trips take hours to plan and execute, with carts of groceries being divided up into separate transactions just so multiple coupons can be applied. I can't help but feel sorry for those grocery clerks who are watched like a hawk while ringing up 80 containers of yogurt, then 100 coupons for said yogurt.
On a show I DVR'd and watched during lunch the other day, one woman boasted of her stash of hundreds of packages of diapers--SHE HAS NO CHILDREN! She says that some day she will have kids and then she'll be prepared. Well, first off, good luck finding someone to spawn with. Don't show them your basement stockpile of diapers before the 2nd date, okay? And second of all, I hope you end up liking that particular brand of diapers when the time does come to cover up your little one's bum.
As a new mom, I also thought it was a good idea to buy some large packages of diapers while I was pregnant in preparation for the baby's arrival, only to discover that the kind of diapers I bought didn't fit my daughter's skinny little behind very well. I tried 4 or 5 different brands but kept coming back to Pampers (the diapers they gave us in the hospital coincidentally) because they just worked so much better on Eva than any of the others we tried. Now I am brand loyal, even though I had no intentions on being so and I have over 100 diapers in my closet that I need to donate.
That's another pet peeve I have about some of the people featured on this show. They are literally paying pennies for hundreds of dollars worth of groceries, many of which will take them years to use, if they even get around to using them at all. Yet, I rarely see anyone discussing how they are donating anything to local food banks or shelters. It makes me angry to think of how many families there are out there who can't afford to eat even one meal a day or who have to ration the diapers they have because they can't afford to do otherwise and have no means to spend the equivalent of a full time job couponing to obtain such items so cheaply. I watched an episode where a husband and wife bought about $1200 worth of groceries for about $50 and as they wheeled their carts full of food out of the store, they bypassed a food donation barrel without a second glance.
Wow, I am really getting myself worked up here. Ha ha, anyway, I mentioned early in this post that I am also inspired by this show. I love to use coupons and get deals on things as my husband can attest. Now that we have a daughter, I feel the need to save money even more so than before. I had a coupon organizer that I diligently stashed every relevant coupon I came across into, but it wasn't a very efficient way to keep track of my coupons and I kept missing out on deals.
The folks on this show seem to have developed really good systems for keeping up with their coupons so I decided to revamp mine and dabble in a little couponing myself. By no means do I intend on becoming any more of a hoarder than I already am, and I promise that, should I be successful at this little foray into some level of "extreme couponing," I fully intend on giving away items that we cannot use within a reasonable amount of time. I also refuse to buy things that we as a family don't use or need unless I plan to donate it all right off the bat.
Last night, we stopped by Staples so I could pick up a binder and some plastic protector sheets for my new coupon organizer. In a later post, I'll post some pix and an update on how the new system is working for me but let me just tell you that, on our most recent trip to Target, I made a specific list of the things we needed (most of it for Eva) and gathered up all my relevant coupons, making sure to use both a store coupon and manufacturer coupon on the same items when I could, and we saved nearly $20 on our purchase, just from my savvy coupon use. Not a bad start if you ask me!