Extreme Couponing – Real or fake

06/27/2012 4:02 pm · 6 comments

by Sarah A Thrifty Mom

Extreme Couponing Real or FakeIs the TV show Extreme Couponing real or is it fake? In the few seasons of the show on TLC Extreme Couponing there has been a lot of hoopla over the show. Both for the betterment of couponing its self and for the bad reputation it is giving to couponers trying to get by on a tight budget trying to save money. So what is it? Real or Fake?

Well in my view Extreme Couponing – the TV show – is just that a TV show, made for entertainment. There are so many different parts of that show that we could talk about for hours and hours. From coupons that wont scan right, to unknown coupons that are not given out to the general public, to hoarding, to obsessiveness, to kicking your husband out of his office down to the dark basement – you name it.

One of the many things that it has done is that it has increased peoples desire to try and save money and become debt free. With that it has increased our emails asking for help, guidance, and more. Just yesterday the A Thrifty Mom team received an email from a guy in Canada. Like the other emails we get, he describes his dire financial postion. Quite often some one has lost a job, or are facing a foreclosure. With the email we received last night, he goes even further with an idea of his:

I have come across your blog and your mindset is exactly what I am looking for.
You see, I am the father of 2 daughters (3 yo and 6 weeks old) and I have been recently laid off.
My wife and I are in great need of saving somewhere and that somewhere could be in groceries.
We are looking to extreme couponing but unfortunately, it is impossible up here in Canada to do so since the restrictions are majors.
I have been watching the show on TLC, Extreme Couponing and I would like to partner up with an expert from the USA to extreme coupon together, I would come down to the States and shop and bring it back to Canada. It would help us out tremendously! Can you point me in the right direction of someone you know that could help us?


Unfortunately that is just it – a reality show, and now a days the reality shows are just for entertainment. Real extreme couponing is not about 300 bottles of aspirin or 200 toothbrushes or “stockpiles” that push your family out of normal living spaces. A healthy couponer starts small. Builds a “healthy stockpile” that can sustain a family with out going to waste. If you are at a coupon friendly store that brought out thousands of boxes of cereal for a sale and you know that over the life of the cereal your family can and will eat 50 boxes – then buy fifty boxes. And if you have more coupons to use and your store still has hundreds or thousands of boxes still left – then use your coupons to help the local food bank. But remember that others who use coupons and even others who don’t use coupons still need to buy their portion too. Need some help figuring all of this out? Our Couponing 101 will help everyone from the new couponer – to extreme couponing? Another helpful tip is to review our Weekly Budget Review.

What are some of the episodes that stand out to you? Good – Bad – or just what you remember?

Leave a Comment: 6 comments

Filed Under: Coupons, Extreme Couponing, Q and A

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Guestman like.author.displayName 1 Like

I don't believe it is possible to buy $1000 worth of items at a grocery store and pay $8.70 or something like that. Yes a person can save 50, 60, even 70% on their groceries, toiletries, and other such articles. However I believe that the ridiculous "extreme" savings shown on TV are fake or unattainable by the general public.

Nikki Holman
Nikki Holman like.author.displayName 1 Like

I think the tv show extreme couponing can be a good and bad thing. To regular couponers that have been doing it for years, it is a little shocking that those stores let those people get away with breaking rules and using coupons that aren't valid and things like that, but to others who have never couponed before and are just starting out, they see these people saving 85-100% of their shopping trip bill and they get this crazy idea in their head that its completely normal if you put a few hours in every week to organize coupons and look at store ads for the week and then just go clear the shelves like its no big deal. In all reality, these people are being brainwashed. They have no idea how many hours it takes to aquire those coupons, sort and organize them, and THEN match them up to the ads in their local stores. I live in Washington State, and i have yet to find a store in the ENTIRE state that will double coupons on a regular basis. I know there is an Albertsons about 50 miles from me that twice a month will double up to three coupons per customer per DAY, and kmart will do it every once and a while but its really not worth it if you are looking for extreme savings because at kmart their policy is you have to have their club card, and spend 20 dollars after you have doubled your coupons and you are only allowed to double 3 a day. I wish they threw in some realistic couponers on a few episodes of the show, just so the general non-couponing public would get a reality check and see that things are not always as they seem. If every grocery store doubled coupons like they do on the show, those stores would be broke so fast. One of the main things i am upset about is how this show has impacted grocery and drug stores in my state. I'm not sure about other states, but here they have tightened up their coupon policy pretty much every where you go. Strategies i used to use before while couponing is no longer permitted because since the show started airing and people clued in, they were losing too much money, which in turn makes me have to spend more than i want to. I really don't want to sound like i am complaining about all of this, i just merely want people to see the truth about couponing and let them know that Extreme Couponing on TLC is SEVERELY unrealistic and the people on that show that neglect time with their families and make them suffer by stuffing their closets and play areas with stuff they will never use is stupid and they will end up regretting it later on i can guarantee it.

Rainey R
Rainey R like.author.displayName 1 Like

When I watch the show and they show the coupons that they are using, its like the actual company gave them a stack of coupons for free merchandise, its not coupons that we get out of the paper its the ones that companies mail you. So I will have to check the end of the show and see if its sponsored by companies. I think it must be since when you look at the "stock piles" in the show they turn the boxes of most products around but some they do show and on the store part they only show a few brands and they are not blured out.

Melissa like.author.displayName 1 Like

Extreme Couponing is actually what started my interest in couponing. After watching the show a couple times, I started doing research and following blogs (like AThriftyMom :). THat being said, even when watching the show, I knew there savings weren't realistic and I had no interest in buying 100 sports drinks, but being able to save any amount of money is wonderful Now a year later while my grocery budget hasn't technically decreased, I've added a husband and baby to the equation, and still spend the same amount of money as when I was single. So I guess the show isn't all bad...

Amanda like.author.displayName 1 Like

It gives real and honest couponers a bad name. I've seen products on that show that I know they used the wrong coupons for and got free products, and in some cases overage. I think this show will put the end to some manufactures putting out coupons ( and it has in some cases already), leaving the honest guy hurting again.

Terri Malone
Terri Malone like.author.displayName 1 Like

I've only watched a couple of times its interesting but very fake and who needs 200 items of anything

Nancy H
Nancy H like.author.displayName 1 Like

I watch the show purely for entertainment now. Thanks to blogs like this site and others, I've become pretty good at couponing and slowly building up a good stockpile. When I watch the show, I see how unrealistic it is. And how it is so obvious they want to add drama. One episode that comes to mind was the lady that needed to save a certain amount of money to make a payment. I can't remember it it was for rent or car repair or what it was, but she mostly bought sports drinks and a lot of junk. How is saving money on those items going to help pay a bill? It made no sense. I also hate the shelf clearers. If you are going to get 100+ of something, at least pre-order it!

Christy Anderson
Christy Anderson like.author.displayName 1 Like

Well said! I think a lot of people watch the show and think they will end up with a total of cents...and it very rarely happens. Plus people try to go about it alone and don't understand all the wording and rules about coupons and that ends up hurting everyone because stores are getting stricter.

LMJJ like.author.displayName 1 Like

I saw one where the lady would cancel social plans or plans with her husband to run grab a deal - that isn't saving money, it's a sickness. I also wonder how much expired stuff is in some of those stashes. The people who share with charity or are feeding a large family for cheap are inspiring, the others are just annoying.

LaurelB like.author.displayName 1 Like

Nothing specific, but the first season was the best. I still watch, its entertainment. However, it is because of the show, that I now coupon seriously. Before I used a coupon here and there. Now it's 90% of the time. My family was not in desperate financial need, but who doesn't want to save money. I just wanted to try and save money on groceries so we have money for fun stuff. I can remember my first "true" coupon experience. It was body wash for 6 cents a bottle! That shopping trip really hooked me. After watching the show, the couponers I liked I looked for on the internet, and followed, subscribed, etc. Before couponing, my pantry was okay, I bought on sales and filled it when I could. Now, my pantry is amazing, along with all my bathrooms being fully stocked, with extras in the spare bedroom closet. I like knowing that if there is a financial crisis in our lives, that food and toiletries will not be a worry. So in my mind, the tv show can be a good thing.

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