Extreme Couponing: When Do We Go Too Far?
Some of you may be aware that there is a new reality show starting Wednesday night on TLC called Extreme Couponing. I thought it would be a lesson in how to stockpile food however some of the clips were of a shopper buying 1100 boxes of cereal in one trip. Or of someone stockpiling enough toilet paper to last them 40 years. Or how about buying extra insurance for your stockpile? Huh?!?
So, I’m going to ask you, when is enough enough? Do we really need that much toilet paper or cereal?
I know some of you, and me included, buy things that make us money even if we do not use them or need them. Those items we promptly put into our food bank pile. But, why do we need to buy enough to last us a lifetime? What is the point, and why do we need to go that far?
There are different levels of couponers. There are those that clip from the Sunday paper and march in with their 2 or 3 coupons and use them to buy products at full price. There are those that have a coupon envelope and use about 10 coupons a week without paying attention to the sales. There are those, me included, that buy about 4 – 6 newspapers a week and match their coupons with the sales to get the best price. And, then there are those that get over 500 coupons a week, spend upwards of 20 hours a week planning their deals and have a stockpile that would last them a year or two. I’m going to use personal experience to help shed some light as to why, I think, we don’t need to be that extreme.
I have a family of 5, with 3 young adult children. So, 5 adults in one house. My grocery bill, before couponing, was $275 a week. Now my grocery bill averages $50 a week. I used to spend $14,300 a year on groceries and health and beauty aid products. I now spend $2600 a year. That is a savings of $11,700 a year or $975 a month. My stockpile consists of a filled pantry the size of a regular, double door clothing closet. I have a chest freezer filled and a toilet paper stockpile of about 4 – 8 packs. I also have a linen closet with 3 shelves filled with health and beauty aid products. So, yes, I have a nice stockpile but my stockpile looks like it belongs in a dollhouse compared to the stockpiles depicted on the show. And, I have so much extra, that I give products away to my family members and food banks. Plus, I take a couple of weeks off from shopping about every 6 weeks or so.
So, I ask you, why do we need to do couponing to the extreme of turning our entire garage into a stockpile? I have way more then I need and I have enough to donate. Plus I’m only spending $2600 a year.
Now, I know we all have different family situations and one persons stockpile would not be near enough for anothers. But when is enough enough? Do we really need enough toilet paper to last us 40 years? Do we need to buy 1100 boxes of cereal in one trip, even if some are being donated?
You may enjoy reading an article I wrote in the beginning of the year called, So Many Deals, So Little Time. There really are so many deals and we just don’t need to take advantage of all of them to save money. There needs to be a happy medium.
I would love to hear your thoughts. When does Extreme couponing cross the line?