TLC’s Extreme Couponing: amazing, hoarding or both?


I taped TLC’s new show Extreme Couponing Wednesday night and was treated to two hours of people paying next to nothing for cartfulls of groceries. It was amazing and kind of sobering at the same time. I’ll go over some of the individual cases in a moment, but the overall takeaway was that every one of these extreme couponers had a huge stockpile of products, like shelves, freezers and cases of stuff that would rival a mini mart (really), and that all of them planned extremely carefully to take advantage of coupon doubling in conjunction with store deals to pay nothing or just pennies for items.

6a00d8341bf67c53ef014e87503302970dThe systems they had for getting items for free were so involved that it would be like doing your taxes three times every week. For many of them it was a full time job and they spent days planning for a grocery trip and then over four or five hours at the store. It often took upwards of two hours for them to checkout. These people were clearly addicted to it, and while I came away thinking I would do a little more planning before my next grocery trip, there’s no way I would spend more than an hour looking for deals ahead of time. Crunching numbers is not my thing.

Here are a few profiles of the people on the show. I found them all pretty relateable and normal-seeming, like I would love for them to take me to the grocery store and give me some tips, except for the last woman below, who wasn’t as organized as the other women and fought with her husband. At one point she took home a cartfull of candy bars just because it was free. (Note: these videos may not play outside the US, sorry about that!)


Jessica has four kids and this lady pulls no punches. She explained that her husband is an underemployed contractor affected by the recession and that whenever she gets a huge haul at the grocery store she feels like she’s gotten a promotion in her job as supermom. Her system and her stockpile were probably the best organized, and along with the lady in Philadelphia she seemed to get the most varied and healthy groceries.


This lady Jaimie put on clown makeup and dressed up before a trip to the grocery store because she said she wanted to look like money, but of course she just ended up looking cheap. She explained that she started couponing when her husband lost his job. This clip builds some drama, but she got out of there spending less than $10 I’m pretty sure.


This family has seven kids and they coupon to save money for their college funds. The mom had stockpiles in every free corner of her home though, including shelves in her bedroom and toilet paper piled up under her kids’ beds.


This retired nurse in Philadelphia does a two hour walk around her neighborhood every day, where people save coupons for her and know her well. I found her pretty awesome. She started couponing as a single mom on welfare and now she’s proud to live debt free. Her grocery bill for over $250 worth of stuff was about $6, and that was less than the cost of the whole chicken she bought without a coupon. Some of these people actually got money back for buying items.


This guy bought over $2,000 worth of stuff, including over a 100 boxes of cereal and a cartfull of deodorant, for less than $200. He donated the cereal to the local food bank, but he also had a drugstore worth of stuff at his house. He explained that he was $17,000 in debt when he got married and has now eliminated his credit card debt through couponing. He needs to donate some of his junk to a homeless shelter.


Here’s a lady who wasn’t as organized as everyone else. She also had another job on the side and would rush to the supermarket late at night just to get a deal. This is a good example of the amount of time and effort it takes to do this effectively.

So Extreme Couponing has inspired me to save some money next time I go shopping, but I also hate clutter in the house and I’m not into spending a lot of time doing spreadsheets. I’ll keep watching this show, but it’s kind of like the way I watch hoarders without the gross out factor – it’s fascinating to see that there are people who actually live like this.

Here’s a link to some tips for novice coupon users.

 

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76 Responses to “TLC’s Extreme Couponing: amazing, hoarding or both?”

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  1. Brittney says:

    The stockpiling is what gets to me. Why do you keep buying things you have nowhere to put?

    That said, my mom is an extreme couponer. She spends about $30 each time she goes to Publix, and she gets at least $200 worth of groceries. She took a class, gets multiple Sunday papers, and prints out coupons online. It’s really easy to get crazy about this stuff once you realize how easy it is… but I’m holding out hope that she’ll never be like these people.

  2. Samigirl says:

    I just went to a coupon class one of my girlfriends taught. It’s amazing! She doesn’t pay for shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant. Like $4 for a pack of pampers, next to nothing for formula. It’s really amazing what she does. She stockpiles a bit, but not nearly as much as the women above. She also made sure to tell us to GIVE BACK. She may have 10 stick of deodorant for herself at home, but she donates to the salvation army as well. If you get it for free, you may as well, right?
    After baby #2 is born, I’m going to be staying at home for a while, so I’m definitely going to need to cut corners. I’m looking forward to using my coupons and paying nothing for all my necessities :)

  3. Quest says:

    There should always be a balance in whatever you do (i.e. stockpiling every corner of the home)…I do applaud the efforts to curb their spending and get away from bad debts.

    I especially liked the guy who gives back to charity.

  4. Brittney says:

    Also: I’m confused. I saw three of these people (and the same clips) on a couponing show in the middle of the night in December. Maybe it was TLC and they’re re-promoting it?

  5. Wendy says:

    There is no way that most of these people aren’t committing coupon fraud. I work in a grocery store and there is no way in hell these people would be allowed to use these many coupons. Especially since manufacturers are cracking down on stores that try to be reimbursed for a lot of the same coupon. Our store has a 4-per variety per person-per day kind of rule. Not to mention there is not a chance in hell we would pay you to use a coupon. If the coupon is more than the item we will only give it to you for free. These women that are getting money back off of coupons are either really lucky that their store hasn’t caught up yet or know they are doing something wrong.

  6. Cakes says:

    Thats insane! Theres no need for all that stuff for one family. Are you really going to need 100 sticks of deoderant? Stockpile is just another way of saying hoarding. Im also a stay at home mom and I get what I need with the coupons out of the Sunday paper. Combine that with a well thought out grocery list and the sales (good ones too!) at Vons and I save about 40 or 50 dollars a trip and I dont need to shove toilet paper under my kids’ bed :)

  7. Lady Jane says:

    This kind of thing is why the rest of the world thinks Americans are nuts. That guy with 150 years worth of deodorant? I am sure it will not be any good in about 5 years time. And all that junk food the 2 fat people on the last clip bought. Disgusting.

  8. Johnny Depp's Girl says:

    I dont have time for any of that. I just take a list, calculator and the coupons I save out of the paper.

  9. Samigirl says:

    @Wendy, you should read coupon policies for other stores. If walgreens puts a coupon for something in their store only, you can stack that with a manufactors coupon. Many instances, that product is free. Catalina coupons can be stacked with manufactors too. It’s a clever way to get stuff for free, but it’s perfectly legal. My first job was a checker at a Brookshires and I know for a fact that if someone uses a 50 cent off coupon, the store gets that 50 cents back. Nothing illegal about it. Time consuming, yes. Annoying for checkers and the people in line? Maybe. Illegal? Absolutely not.

  10. Isabel says:

    I thought it was definitely no coincidence that Extreme Couponing was followed immediately by the hoarding show.

  11. Esmom says:

    I think it’s crazy and excessive despite the money savings. And the potential to end up with junk just isn’t worth all that. Studies show that people who stockpile that stuff actually consume way more than people who buy just what they need.

  12. Jane Q. Doe says:

    For those that spend 2 hours in the checkout line, do they at least call ahead and let the store know? That would be a serious tie-up unless the manager knew to plan for it, I would think.

    Saving money is grand, but having years worth of stuff that will probably go bad before you can use it is still wasteful.

  13. Justaposter says:

    When I first started really using coupons, I found myself buying things I normally wouldn’t eat or use. It took a bit to balance it all out and only really buy things that we eat and will use.

    There are several sites online that can help you get more bang for your coupon buck, and give you some tips.

    Also learning that Walgreens and CVS (maybe Riteaide)and Target take their coupons as well as ones from the Sunday Paper or ones off the internet. Target also has printable coupons on their website (put printable coupons in the search box)

    I have never bought coupons from a clearing house online, but often look.

    The most I have ever saved on one shopping trip at my local grocery store was 70.00! But I am happy if I can save 20-30 dollars per real grocery trip. My best at Target was 35.00 savings for household stuff and cereals.

    Where I live, the stores don’t offer double coupons, and I just don’t have the time to zoom up to my Mom’s house 100 miles away to try that. I would not be comfortable traveling with perishables for that long. But I do check out Aldi’s when I visit, and stock up on dry goods and some produce. If you have an Aldi’s near you, check them out! The family owns Trader Joe’s also. All the products are ‘off brands’ but you can tell which ones are made by the big companies. The packaging is very close.

    I also read online that Walmart is changing their coupon policy, so make sure to check that out. If correct, Walmart will start taking coupons from other stores and CVS bucks and Walgreen bucks. Not sure this has started yet, but worthy of checking out.

    Even if you only use a few coupons, or are lucky enough to have a store that offers in house coupons, they can really help you out. Even if you only save 10.00 per trip, that does add up pretty fast, and with the way prices of everything going up, every little bit helps.

  14. Grandmachee says:

    TOO much work for simply stockpiling. Valid if you are going to donate to a foodbank or shelter or if you only have on hand what your family uses in a month. Other than that, it’s an addiction. One of the ladies actually said she gets a real rush from doing it.
    Not many stores will afford you an hour to get through the check out.

  15. Wendy says:

    @samigirl I’m not saying that all stores don’t allow stacking. I know that some do. But I also know that there are people who are fully aware of coupons that will scan off your order even if you don’t have those items. And yes we do get reimbursed for the coupons we receive but we have been warned by manufacturers that they are becoming more suspicious of stores trying to reimburse a large amount of the same coupons. There have been stores in the past hoarding coupons that weren’t used and trying to get reimbursed for them. Also most catalina coupons are just regular manufacturer coupons. There’s really nothing special about them.

  16. tina says:

    I agree that alot of this is a form of hoarding, theres no way they’re going to use all of the junk they’re buying (62 bottles of mustard, really?) especially in the smaller families. My brothers friend’s mom is going to be on that show, they just taped this week. She has 3 biological children and 8 or 9 adopted special needs children. In that situation and the in the family with 7 kids it makes more sense to do this, I come from a blended family of 10 and when we were growing up we went through tons of cereal and toilet. I really didn’t like the couple who bought 150 or so candy bars…it was ridiculous. I do like the idea of doing this to give to charity though.

  17. Bodhi says:

    I LOVE couponing, but these women are a little nuts for. I can see stocking up on TP, soap, deodorant & diapers, but all that processed food, no thanks! And 2 hours to check out at the store? Most stores wouldn’t allow that. And there has got to e some kind of coupon fraud going on. Stores have been known to break their rules for the people with camera crews. It makes them look great, so why wouldn’t they?

    One of the awesome things about Publix is that they take competitors coupons. I don’t always have time to haul all the way to Target, but I know I can use them at the Publix around the corner!

    for those in the South:

    http://www.southernsavers.com/

    is a great resource. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but its saved me a ton of money in the past year or so.

  18. Victoria says:

    The coupons in our paper include frozen dinners, high sodium snacks, sodas, and otherwise unhealthy foods. If these are the majority of food coupons out there, I’ll save myself the high blood pressure and diabetes and buy healthy foods at full price.

  19. jamie says:

    i’m all about coupons,but why buy crap you don’t need just because it’s cheap?that deodorant will expire long before you use it all

  20. Maria says:

    I don’t understand how they do it. Most coupons cannot be combined with other offers. The best that I have ever done was saving $89 out of a $300 bill.

  21. Mizz Tickles says:

    I feel very sorry for the cashiers who have to deal with these people and the customers in line behind them.

  22. LittleDeadGirl says:

    I think the general idea is usefull. I myself use coupons once in a while and go to specific stores for specific items so I don’t overpay for the same thing. That being said you can go overboar on either side … spend five hours and have so much stuff you can’t use is insane to me. I can’t believe that some of these women couldn’t make more by getting a job (unless they are keeping kids out of daycare and than they are saving money). On the other hand we’ve all kind of gotten lazy about saving money and that’s not good either.

    I also agree with above posters that it depends on size of family. When you do have 10 kids I think couponing is a must and it’s a smart thing to do and I applaud the people who put the hard work into it.

  23. britt says:

    i dont get it ..all of that salad dressing that guy has is going to expire

  24. normades says:

    Geez, what a waste of time! I’d rather pay a little more than waste time/energy/money on products that I don’t really like/use. Just buy what you use and use what you buy.

    @victoria: Exactly.

  25. Oi says:

    I’m not sure if thats hoarding or OCD. That’s nuts.

    Lol at Nathan: he has tampons and pads in the shot when he says ” this is every man’s dream”. Te he. yeah i am juvenile this morning.

  26. judyjudy says:

    What blows me away most is that people actually consider a lot of that garbage “food”.

  27. Justaposter says:

    Bodhi thanks for the link!

    Victoria I agree. It really is hard to find ‘healthy’ stuff sometimes. But I usually do save a lot on staples and toiletries.

    If I was lucky enough to get all of those free candy bars, I would keep some, and donate the rest to the school. We really could use them for fundraisers.

  28. dovesgate says:

    When you have $150 a month to feed your family of 6, of course you’re going to take home a bunch of candy bars simply because they are free. $150 a month is $1.61 per meal. There’s just no way you’re going to feed 6 mouths on that unless you’re bringing home freebies.

    I don’t have any desire to stockpile in my house the way these people do, but I do see the point of it. I also see the point of stocking up on what we normally use because frankly, if hubs or I were to lose our jobs, we’d have a really hard time making ends meet.

  29. jc126 says:

    Nathan’s a reseller, I’ve read elsewhere; he took his info down when his show aired. Jaime commits coupon fraud and has put this online – videos where she uses coupons for one Procter & Gamble product, but buys another.
    What good is a hoard of garbage food?
    If I were really, really dedicated to lowering my food bill and/or needed to feed a lot of people, I’d devote efforts to serious gardening instead of getting coupons for crap. I’d plant a big garden, then do tons of freezing and canning.

  30. TXCinderella says:

    I must be the exception here, but I would actually like to start learning to do this. I work a full time job and am a single Mom, so I don’t have hours to devote to the extreme couponing, but why not put more money into your pocket? I don’t see anything wrong with this.

  31. TXCinderella says:

    If I had an excess of stuff, I would pass it on to my family members or donate to a homeless shelter or food bank.

  32. Heatheradair says:

    A few others have touched on this, but when I watched the show, what bugged me the most was how much pre-packaged, processed food these people were taking home to their families. 77 bottles of yellow mustard but no vegetables in sight? An entire house full of macaroni and gatorade but still another trip to the store for more?

    12 packs of hot dogs and a bunch of bacon? Yeah, it’s affordable, but what’s the cost? I hate the idea of raising a house full of kids on food with a shelf life of 20 years that’s all pre-packaged….

    (I know, we’re only getting part of the picture, I’m sure they buy produce, I’m sure their kids’ teeth aren’t rotting out of their heads, but it’s not a very balanced way to shop….)

  33. Chickie Baby says:

    Love this show, especially the moms who are being practical about feeding their family on a fixed food budget. They offer up good ideas and great advice for getting the best deals. Plus, they seem to have their homes and lives very organized and well-managed. It’s impressive.

    However, the gal who bought 100 Butterfingers (and something like 50+ boxes of pasta) is admittedly a grocery-shopaholic and, I’m sorry, but doesn’t look like she needs to be eating either of those things. Buying things just BECAUSE you can get them practically free isn’t smart–it’s wasteful. And when it takes up so much space in your house that you have to take over your hubbies’ man cave for your loot is just idiotic. Smart shoppers don’t buy for the thrill of the kill. She just aggravated me for 20 minutes.

    It’s easy to use coupons for crap food, but difficult when you tend to shop the perimeter of the store for healthy stuff but can’t find coupons for 90% of it.

  34. TeeTee says:

    I love the idea, especially in this economy but I don’t have the time for it.

    I do however hone in on one thing, like boneless chicken breast or frozen veggies and try to get a deal on one of them..but to buy 25 boxes of cocoa or to stockpile cases of toilet paper, that’s not me.

    I agree most of the coupns are for unhealthy food choices that are laden w/sodium and sugar.

    I’m happy when I am saving 25.00 bucks

  35. Susan says:

    Well, I must be missing something because I can never seem to find coupons for food items that I eat.

    Most of the coupons I find are for heavily processed foods that I would rather not consume. Plus, many of the coupons for the stuff I do buy always require me to purchase bulk amounts and I end up spending more money than I normally would want to. Where are the savings in doing this?

  36. anti says:

    they need to be employed at a food pantry.

  37. Alice says:

    They aren’t buying anything good. The clown paint woman bought like 50 bottles of mustard and the woman who was throwing a party bought 32 bottles of Maalox. They’re never going to use all of that before it goes bad. Even though they’re trying to save money, when they buy that much, all they’re doing is wasting money.

  38. samihami says:

    I love couponing, but those people are nuts. I might stock up a little on something that I know won’t spoil (toilet paper, laundry soap, etc), but I would never let it take over my house-or my life. Plus, I am brand-loyal with certain items and I just will not switch simply because I have a coupon. I like what I like. So, I know I’ll never get $1000 worth of groceries for $5.

    That being said, I have been getting coupons online and have been more diligent about clipping coupons from the paper. Yesterday was my personal best; I bought about $240 worth of groceries and between coupons and sale items only paid about $150. I thought that was pretty good!

  39. guilty pleasures says:

    Yikes! When I was a single mom I just watched for the BOGO items and bought a month or so worth.
    I can’t imagine EVER having fed my kids that crap food, I actually love my kids.
    Food is one of the most important things in the budget, along with shelter. I drove the same car for 16 years in order to give my kids organic chicken and milk…
    This is just a weird, excessive symptom of consumerism gone mad…
    Remember Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae? Is this not related?
    And the old adage springs to mind, ‘they will ruin it for the rest of us.’

  40. ClaireTheBear says:

    Stockpiling items like mustard is a little ridiculous, but it is entirely possible to use coupons and still have a healthy diet. I coupon and I usually save 50 – 75% off the original price. I almost never spend more than $50 for a weekly grocery trip. I use coupons on items like whole-grain pasta, canned tomatoes (for recipes), frozen veggies, whole-grain cereals, et cetera. You can often find coupons that say things like “$1 off fresh fruit w/ purchase of 2 Kellogg’s cereals.” That helps to offset the price of all the fresh fruit and veggies that you purchase. I will confess that I am a sucker for dairy (yogurt, cheese, etc) and much of my couponing is devoted to that area of the grocery. My point is, you can still coupon and eat healthy; folks who insist that all you can buy are highly processed, unhealthy foods are not seeing the alternative examples.

  41. OriginalGracie says:

    Why don’t they donate their extra food and goods to a homeless shelter or a food bank?

    That way you could help your family save money, and then help others too which would make it a wonderful situation instead of slightly creepy hoarding.

  42. Hakura says:

    I understand the reasons to do so (& am incredibly impressed by the people who figured this out)… but in these cases, it’s become an obsession… They have to put so much time & effort into preparing…

    They shouldn’t be buying SO much more than they need. I mean, donating to charity is wonderful, but they still have a garage full of deodorant & Doritos. They could build the wall of China with soda cans…

  43. KsGirl says:

    TXCinderella, I’m with you. I watched the show last night and was fascinated. Don’t think I’ve ever used a coupon in my life at the grocery store (too lazy to do the clipping, basically) but I totally buy the ‘rush’ some of them talked about. That must feel like a score to get so much for so little.

    Also agree with the poster who mentioned people who work for food banks need to get in on this.

    Amused by the level of judgement in a lot of these comments, too. We rip on Paltrow for being like that, and most people are just as bad. I’ll have you all know I trek 25 miles, twice a day, shoeless, through frozen tundra so I can afford organic produce for my daughter. Ahem.

  44. Lindsay says:

    I swear I saw this a couple months ago…. It was on just before “My strange addicition”. hmmmmm

  45. I get a kick out of grocery shopping with my dad – I’ll get a juice or something and before I put it in the cart he’ll go, “Oo! Oo! Wait! I have a coupon for that!” Then he’ll put on his reading glasses and look through his little binder for his deal. >>> It’s hilarious – a 6’3, 280lb man stopping in the middle of the aisle to find a coupon in his (I kid you not) pink knitted coupon binder. (“I got it at the Goodwill!”)

    Teasing aside, we grew up on food bank donations and food stamps. Couponing has been a way of life in my family for years – which is probably why I have an aversion to it as an adult. I still shop for deals and stockpile brands I like, but I can’t bring myself to buy products I don’t love (or shop at places I hate – WALMART) simply because “they’re on sale!” I’m very particular.

    Still, I kill it at checkout. I have a shopping buddy, and we go on our weekly shopping trip, I’m rarely more than $20 over her bottom line – and I’m shopping for two. (And primarily buying fresh fruits and veggies.)

  46. Katija says:

    @KsGirl

    I completely agree, and your comment cracked me up.

    I like coupons, and I like buying 2-3 of an item if it’s a good deal. Truth be told, a lot of people are judging these people and calling them wasteful, but honestly, I find someone who just grabs the first item they need without stopping to check if there is a more cost-efficient similar item or a coupon because “their time is more valuable” far more wasteful and obnoxious. I have friends who make the exact same as me but have no disposable income because these little wasteful decisions add up.

  47. Marianne says:

    I mean I sign up for coupons or samples, but I don’t have that kind of time to really plan out a whole grocery trip like they do. Most of the coupons I get are like $1.00 off and here in Canada, you can’t double up on the coupons. One coupon per item. And some places (not all) are touchy if you want to use a coupon on a sale item.

    I more of like an occasional coupon user. If I’m gonna get a good deal for it, I’ll use it.

  48. hellen says:

    Yes, this is OCD behavior – when you get a rush out of buying a cartload of mustard or deordorant, that is NOT smart consumer behavior. That is compulsive acquisitiveness and hoarding.

    I usually save about $25 (approx. 25%) on my weekly grocery bill with coupons. The Safeway “$10 off a $50 purchase” coupon (weekly) is a good place to start.

  49. Lucinda Amerman says:

    I just read something this morning about the woman who had over $1000 dollars in groceries. Many of the extreme couponing sites are accusing her of fraud:

    http://www.jillcataldo.com/node/16258

    Worth reading.

  50. Ally says:

    I think coupons are only useful if you’re using them for things you needed to buy anyway.

    Otherwise, if you’re buying because you have a coupon, you’ve been scammed into visiting the store (where you’ll probably buy other things you hadn’t meant to).

    The packaged food thing is frightening, too. Westerners are consuming twice the recommended amount of salt, from toddler age onward. It’s dehydrating, makes you eat more than you need to, and leads to hypertension and heart problems.

    Just buy some fruit & veg, already! I can never believe how cheap bananas are, for instance!

  51. anotherrandom says:

    I can’t get into extreme couponing, plus I really don’t see it working down here where they don’t double anything. I use coupons occasionally. Some months are better than others and I’ve noticed manufacturers are making it harder than they were a few yrs ago. I used to get $1 off something a few yrs ago that now I have to buy two items to get that same dollar off. That’s what gets me. I’m not gonna buy two packages of shredded cheese to save one measly dollar (when they’re individually $3.29) if the second package is just gonna get moldy before I can use it. That would cost me $5.58 when I could have just spent the $3.29 and saved myself the $2.29. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to me. Though I’ve scored great deals on razors and toothpaste in the past.

  52. GradStudentEatingHotPockets says:

    First, I wish I could stockpile hotpockets. They hardly go on sale…but I should look for some coupons online. Luckily ramen is only 3 cents per package. haha

    Second, it’s pretty admirable when people get themselves out of debt by buckling down and spending less.

    Third, if you don’t have room for it in your house….you probably don’t need it. And you probably don’t need a bajillion bottles of mustard…maybe a bajillion boxes of hotpockets but NOT mustard.

  53. GradStudentEatingHotPockets says:

    @Ally
    Does it count when you eat a can of chef boyardee? Each serving has one serving of veggies!!!!! mmmm

  54. DeeDee says:

    Here is my issue with some of these people: They accumulate more stuff than their whole family could ever use. So what happens? It probably ends up in the garbage.

    In Canada we don’t have the ability to double up on coupons, etc. In moderation, it would be great, especially on things like diapers and formula. But 150 sticks of deodorant? Like someone said in a earlier post, you could never use that much, and it will expire.

    Such waste. And so sad because there are so many Americans who could really use it.

  55. orion70 says:

    Well, I know whose house I’m hitting when the zombie apocalypse comes !

    In all seriousness, WTH. Saving money is fantastic, but when are these people spending time with their families or having lives when they spend hours and hours at the grocery store and all their time at home on the net or clipping coupons? That doesn’t make you a “supermom”, or an equal relationship partner either.

    The checkers must HATE to see these people coming, as must some of their fellow shoppers, both at the check out line, and when they’re attempting to maneuver 9 carts through the aisles all at the same time.

  56. tango says:

    I as a general rule really appreciate couponers. I coupon myself and I expect I’d be even more into it if my local grocery stores double and triple couponed so I could end up really saving big bucks. The thing is, the people in this show usually accumlate more than they’ll ever need in a lifetime or could reasonably use the next few years. I bet most of the dry goods pass their expiration date before they’re used so basically it’s wasted food. Since the majority of the time they’re getting the items for free, it’d be great if they could donate all the excess to churches, shelters or food pantries. They’d get to indulge their hobby or passion and still get satisfaction from helping those in need. But since they don’t and stockpile all the items they buy, then it’s crossed the line into hoarding. But I guess there are those with 300 pairs of shoes, so why not someone with 300 deodorants or 1000 rolls of paper towels just because it was a good deal.

  57. moptop says:

    There is not one thing in those people’s buggies that I would want. Unless there are coupons for fruit and vegetables, which I have never seen, I do not care for processed foods, free or not. Yuck.

  58. icantbelievethis says:

    What ticks me off about these people is that they ‘buy’ so much just b/c they can but then others can’t use the same coupon. Do you really need 60-70 bottles mustard? Or 100 boxes of cereal? And when you clear out the shelf what happens when a single mom of 4 comes along and could really be helped by getting a couple of boxes of cereal on sale?

    I get using coupons in moderation, but no one needs to have toilet paper stacked under their kids beds or 70 bottles of mustard. And I don’t see the benefit of couponing in bulk quantities for things you don’t need, unless you plan to give the things to friends/family/shelter. I don’t see how people have time to do lists and shop for things they don’t actually need.

  59. Hakura says:

    @Lucinda Amerman“I just read something this morning about the woman who had over $1000 dollars in groceries. Many of the extreme couponing sites are accusing her of fraud:”

    Wow… I’m really shocked that the show didn’t look into the people’s methods before putting them on the show. Now people who don’t know much about couponing are going to think it’s okay to use coupons for items other than what they’re listed for.

    The stores were losing a lot of money, so many of her items ended up free. If the store ends up having to pay more, so do the rest of us.

  60. Hautie says:

    “It’s hilarious – a 6′3, 280lb man stopping in the middle of the aisle to find a coupon in his (I kid you not) pink knitted coupon binder. (”I got it at the Goodwill!”)”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    That is the funniest thing I read all week.

    I love name brand cleaning products. (Lysol) Even my detergent and fabric softner have to be name brands. I will not purchase off brands.

    Ohhh and I want my Charmin too!

    So I watch for those certain coupon’s that come in the Sunday paper like a hawk. Just waiting on PG&E to run their coupon booklets.

    Then I stalk the Kroger weekly sale ad looking for them to go on sale.

    So I can look like a crazy hoarder. haha!

    And here is my harp.

    About buying fresh fruit.

    I love a certain Apple. (Honey Crisp Apples) Can someone explain to me, how any Apple is worth 1.99 pound. One apple can weigh nearly a pound! And it is hard to justified spending 12.00 for 6/7 apples.

  61. Louise says:

    I really don’t see the point in what these people do. It’s great they are saving so much money but they are wasting so much product. I would think they would try to sell the stuff online or at least give it away to homeless shelters. I wouldn’t want to give up so much of my home on stuff I don’t need.

  62. ctkat1 says:

    This is an EXTREME version of value shopping- what these women are doing is not possible for most of us, nor is it desirable. I’ll confess that I have never, ever used coupons, shopped sales, gone to cheaper stores, etc.

    Watching this show made me sad for the general waste of the hoarding and the processed foods that they stockpiled, but the idea of using coupons and stocking up on sale items is a good one. I was inspired to get a grocery customer card and actually pay attention to the sale stickers. I noticed that Luna bars were buy 2, get 1 free so I stocked up when normally I would have bought 4 for the week and been done- resulting in getting 3 free bars. I also noticed that on the back of my receipt there was an $8 coupon for an oil change at the place I normally go so I put that in my car to use next month! I am going to start paying more attention to shopping the sales.

  63. Mashmash says:

    Maybe I missed the explanation for this somewhere, but why did so many of these shoppers *need* to buy a huge number of things? Using Jamie as example – she had a deal for mustard, but really? 62 bottles of mustard when your husband [who was there] said he doesnt eat mustard?

    This is why the “best” [if I can use that word] shopper was definitely the nurse in Philly. She clearly stated that she was not one of those shoppers who buys things just because she can. She only buys the things she actually consumes and uses and doesnt buy too many of the item [she I think, was the only one who didnt have a stock pill of sh*t].

    Also, I hate seeing what these people were buying. Some bought “real” food, some bought healthy food, but holy crap the majority of items bought were so terrible.

    I especially thought that about Jessica who bought instant mashed potatoes. Not to say that she doesnt have other things to do or anything, but she said she is a full time home maker and making actual mashed potatoes takes 20 mins.

  64. Hakura says:

    @MashMash“Also, I hate seeing what these people were buying. Some bought “real” food, some bought healthy food, but holy crap the majority of items bought were so terrible.”

    You do have a point. Though I’m sure I’d probably be embarrassed to have the world see what sort of things I buy on a regular basis. (Always growing up at the extreme end of ‘underweight’ since I was 6, I eat for ‘taste’ more than anything else. Granted I don’t have ‘meals’, I just graze all day.) My mom was never strict about that (My brother’s Cystic Fibrosis actually called for him to eat more fatty/salty foods, to keep his weight consistant. So that’s pretty much what I ate too.)

    xD Letting people watch you shop means you’re setting yourself up for people to judge you (especially those with children.)

  65. sanddcastles says:

    I really don’t understand this couponing. I live in Canada, so we don’t get all these coupons. I am naturally thrifty, especially now since my husband is laid off, but I don’t really get coupons. I watch the flyers and stock up on meat etc. when it is on sale, and can generally save about $60-$75, on a $300.00 grocery bill. How can I find these coupons, to add to my savings or is it just in the States?

  66. harfang says:

    The lady with seven kids is awesome, no question. Also though, I saw another ep of this show, in which a guy gave EVERYTHING to the food shelf; it was about $5k worth and he paid less than $100. The couponing took up all his spare time, it was obviously his life; but many people are getting meals because of him. (It was a little sad for me though, because I could see that he was closeted and couponing is his replacement life partner. I have a cousin like that whose life partner is his dog.) So those two examples show that this can be a great way to use the twisted, messed-up service-economy system for postive ends.

  67. Lynn says:

    Yeah! Let’s celebrate the selfishness! No wonder Americans are laughed at by the rest of the world. If people were doing this, keeping just what they need and donating the rest to food banks, homeless shelters, etc., then I would be the first to applaud them. But to continually buy and hoard is selfishness beyond belief and it disgusts me more than I can say. And no, I’m not a bleeding heart liberal. I’m a human being who was taught to care about other human beings and help those who are unable to help themselves. Simple.

  68. Jenah says:

    I have watched Extreme Couponing on TLC and have figured out the “trick”. The people that go shopping on the show buy 100 of the same three items. It is not like they buy actual groceries for the week. The reason they have to stockpile is because not every item that you would need goes on sale in the same week. So they buy 100 of 3 different items each week and buy the end of 6 mos they have enough variety to sustain them. Join a farm share and get some healthy food too!!!

  69. Leo says:

    One thing many commenters here fail to realize is that many people who coupon (myself included) sell their excess items at garage sales (small timers like me) or go so far as to have regular booth at a weekend flea market. In many cases the “150 year supply of deodorant” will be turned into cash.
    I usually have three garage sales a year and price my items at 1/2 of retail. I have many people who come back to every sale and some even knock on my door to ask when the next one is or try to buy stuff between sales.
    How much profit do you make selling Crest for $1 per tube when you get it for free?

  70. Ryan says:

    This whole thing is rediculous. You aren’t saving money if you aren’t using the product you bought. They have so much already, hoarding it in every area of their house, then they go back for more! They need to quit hogging all the food and other supplies. We like food too. If I was that unlucky cashier, I’d refuse to serve them. If they really are so poor ($150 a month for food for a huge family) they should be on food stamps or something, not buying a ton of candy or mustard.

  71. Anita says:

    I get saving money and having small stockpiles, but these people go above and beyond. It’s neat, organized hoarding. The twin sisters who hoarded diapers and neither had children! As anyone with a baby knows, babies grow and diaper sizes change. They had hundreds of diaper packages. The man with 2,000 tubes to toothpaste on pallets? Are you kidding me? My family of four uses maybe six tubes a year!!! Insane hoarding for the thrill. If I had that kind of time and energy, I would be the shelter queen helping people that lost jobs, etc and needed the items.