Extreme Couponing – Real or fake

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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?


  1. @Melissa Me too but the difference is im in UK so its alot harder we have less coupons i saved 50% on my first shop I have had a few 100% shops but thats only when the coupon is the same amount as the item and when my shop is when its small so 5-7 items

  2. I have watched a marathon of this show recently and a lot sticks in my mind….a) they all seem to have the same psychological disorder (no i’m not being sarcastic) they all exhibit the same following behaviours: obsessive/compulsive needs, controlling natures, addictive personalities, hoarding, and most were “driven” to this by some kind of fear or panic (divorce, job loss, injury, etc)

    b) they are not “saving” $60,000 a year….you only save money you would have spent anyway–you may have received $60k worth of items, but you didn’t “save” that much

    c) the biggest issue I have is with the people who are going to the store to “save” enough money to buy something else (a tattoo) or pay a bill….and then use coupons to spend 69 cents each on 5o bottles of lotion or 27 cents each on 20 bottles of mustard…you are still spending money on crap you don’t need therefore not really saving anything…no one needs 50 bottles of lotion in a life time unless you have some kind of skin disorder

    d) hoarding: it’s one thing to have a stockpile of goods you will use…it’s another to have 300 flea collars because they look nice in your stockpile when you don’t have a cat….why people don’t donate the stuff THEY ADMIT THEY WILL NEVER USE is truly a mental disorder working its best

    e) the parents that let their kids take control of the grocery shopping…now that i’m a mom I get why this is a dream idea, however when you give them so much control that your husband isn’t allowed to buy the food he wants? you’ve lost control of your house….sure let the kid coupon and save your family money, but giving them control over you is wrong, it’s also wrong for the family that blatantly and on tv shamed their other children in favour of the kid saving them money–you have multiple children and you need to treat them all with love and respect….also to the mom that has the son stockpiling baby formula your family will never need–teach him some life lessons by having him donate it before it expires!

  3. where do these people shop,i live in ny and there is no way i can buy 30 plus of the same items.I realy do not belive this is possable. There is something there not telling us.

  4. OK, here’s something I don’t understand. I’m watching the show right now. This lady empties the shelves of G2 drinks, loading up two carts. She say’s “These are on sale this week for $1.00 each, but I have coupons that will make these drinks cost me only .50 cents each.” She continues her shopping. At checkout, her bill comes to over $689, but with all her coupons she only has to pay $7.00. How can that be?? The drinks alone were .50 cents each AFTER the coupons she had for them, and she had 2 grocery carts full of these drinks! Can someone explain this to me?

    • I do not believe this is possible either. I watch the show and have many questions when they claim they buy hundreds of dollars worth of food for a few dollars. Where do they get all the coupons? If they are from the newspaper do they purchase all those papers? if they print them from the computer how much does the ink and paper cost? is this really as cost effective as they claim? Here in Ca we have to pay recycling fees on every bottle of drink, do they not charge this in other states? I also noticed that the shoppers tend to buy certain items in bulk so they have an abundance of say, shampoo or boxes of cereal but what about all the other groceries that a family needs to live a healthy life. I think this is just for entertainment and fixed for Tv.

    • They purchase items that end up paying them…. if a tube of toothpaste is 1.00 and they have a .75 coupon that doubles that would give them .50 credit. Stores do not usually pay you out the overage but it will come off of the total purchase. That is why you see them buy things they may not need but it pays for the items that they do need….

      Does that make since?

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