TLC’s “Extreme Coupon” Myths: How Coupons Really Work

If you’re a reality TV junkie like me, you’ve probably seen the TLC show “Extreme Couponing“. In the program, dedicated coupons get great deals and get items for 100% total discount. Some shoppers even use the system, so they are basically paid to remove items from the store, receiving credits, points, and coupons that exceed the value of the items they purchased.

Sounds like some pretty amazing deals, right?

Unfortunately, what “Extreme Couponing” does not show is exactly how these buyers buy such offers. It also shows the subjects involved in serious ethical issues, all with the aim of building their “hiding place”. Sure, shoppers sometimes buy items for the upcoming church dinner, homeless shelters, and stationed troops, but that’s not the norm.

After watching several episodes, I started to wonder if “Extreme Couponing” even comes close to representing “reality”.

Aspects behind extreme coupons

I admit that I don’t like coupons. Sure, I’ll redeem a $ 10 coupon on a $ 40 department store purchase every now and then, but if not, I turn to the buy and sell comparison to save some money. But the coupons depicted in “Extreme Couponing” tackle the task with fierce intensity. Is it possible to buy like this all the time? Some of his techniques are not only unrealistic, they are completely wrong.

Before you grab your coupon binder and a ton of newspaper inserts, make sure you get all the facts about hardcore coupons and what they could mean for your buying habits.

Heavy workload

The TV show still shows coupons sitting and slicing coupons into piles, and even going house to house collecting flyers and coupon sheets. Of course, an episode is only 30 minutes long. But to get the kind of deals that coupons get on a show, you have to spend hours every day looking for extreme coupons – collect, cut, scour the web for deals, and shop. How much you would save with coupons compare to how much you would earn in a full-time job, or even part-time?

Coupons are seriously dedicated to their craft, which means you can’t expect to get the same deals unless you’re willing to put in the time. Some people find it better to spend their time earning money rather than saving money for groceries.

Smoke and mirrors: bogus offers

Extreme coupons always seem to know where to buy the cheapest price, and some of the best deals happen when a store duplicates the coupons. For example, in one episode, a woman wanted to buy a bagged salad that cost $ 1. He had a coupon for $ 0.50 and the store luckily doubled it, allowing him to get the salad for free. You could do the same, right?

Well not exactly. Many stores featured on the show came under fire when it was discovered that coupons were doubled for the show alone. When other coupons went to claim the same treatment, store owners pointed out that the show was held for promotional purposes only and that no duplicate coupons were allowed.

Store managers have the right to change store policies as they see fit, but you might be surprised when trying to get a deal that doesn’t work. Remember that stores that appear on TV may only have promotions during filming; you probably won’t get the same deal.

Frequent battles in stores

In the “Extreme Couponing” program, shoppers always interact with cheerful cashiers who are more than happy to scan hundreds of cut coupons, clapping even when the final total is only a few cents on the dollar. It is important to remember that these cashiers were trained for this televised operation. When there is a problem, the manager is called, who then easily modifies the system to accept more coupons and larger discounts.

The mere mortal buying coupons certainly shouldn’t expect the same. Unless you are shopping with a film crew following you, you may encounter a variety of obstacles. Each store has different policies on how many coupons are allowed for each item or transaction, and you can be rejected when trying to redeem too many.

Also, you can get an attitude of cashiers or managers who don’t like your shopping method. At “Extreme Couponing” it is common to buy whole pallets or cartons of free or cheap products. However, if you are planning a large shopping trip in which you plan to purchase a large quantity of the same item, or if you plan to save more than 50% of your total bill through coupons, it is best to call in advance. Introduce yourself, explain which coupons you want to use and how many products you want. This way the store knows you are entering, which they will surely appreciate. Plus, you can get inside information on what’s acceptable for the trade-in, and the store can even order more products so you don’t empty your entire inventory.

Hidden costs

Extreme coupons display your store receipts as a badge of honor in the living room, online, and at home. Almost all die-hard bargain buyers can easily tell you about their best score; more specifically, how much was purchased and how much was saved. While this is definitely exciting, coupons don’t always tell you the hidden costs of saving all that money.

Many hardcore bargain shoppers purchase additional copies of the newspaper to make sure they have multiples of each coupon, and the cost of newspapers can increase over time. If your Sunday newspaper costs $ 2.50 a copy and you buy four of them for coupon purposes, they add up to $ 40 per month for the newspaper alone. It definitely cuts your savings, doesn’t it?

Next, you need to factor in your gas costs. Most coupons are happily purchased by driving to multiple stores in a day, but if you drive a heavy gasoline user it will eat into your fuel budget, maybe up to $ 50 per month.

Finally, if you print your coupons at home, you will likely be using at least one ink cartridge per month, which costs around $ 30. Add it all up and saving money could cost you $ 120 per month, or $ 1,440 per year!

It’s worth doing the math. Make sure that you are saving on the things you will actually use and that your savings are greater than the cost of the coupons; otherwise, you could end up doing a lot of work for nothing.

Unused and unhealthy products

Seasoned coupons may tell you that it’s possible to get great deals on healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, baking staples, and dairy, but that’s definitely not the norm. Most of the time, the best deals are on processed foods, condiments, and toiletries. It’s great if you’re looking for a bunch of new toothbrushes for your family, but you might end up spending money on unhealthy foods and things you don’t need and won’t use. Think about it: getting a bottle of ketchup for $ 0.50 is a good deal, but if this deal gets you to buy 30 bottles, you just spent $ 15 on more ketchup that you can’t use before the due date. ‘expiry. It’s not smart.

People with “extreme coupons” can buy hundreds of the same product for their “stash” or split it up for various reasons. But unless you can use the product before the expiration date and it’s something healthy for your family, leave it on the shelf.

Ethical issues

There really is no problem using the manufacturer’s coupons in the store. Most offer the store a full refund, along with additional funds for handling, shipping, and processing. But when “Extreme Couponers” shows a customer cleaning a store’s entire supply of yogurt, pain relievers, or toilet paper, the question arises: it might be legal, but is it correct. ? When manufacturers create coupons or stores run promotions, they hope to attract more customers, not just give one person a free product. Coupons are made for the casual shopper, not the extreme type.

I have to admit that I blamed the over-enthusiastic and reckless coupons for causing me inconvenience. When an entire shelf of a product I need is out of stock, or if I stand in line for an hour while a coupon checks the price and matches the ad, my blood starts to boil.

There is an ethical difference between grateful coupons and extreme coupons. Grateful and Caring coupons use your coupons to get the best discounts without affecting other shoppers, while extreme coupons do what they can to stretch your money no matter how it affects others. This may be a controversial opinion, but I appreciate when coupons show a little restraint at the grocery store by buying during the slower hours or leaving the product on the shelves despite being able to buy everything thanks to a significant discount.

Last word

You cannot believe everything you see on TV. The “Extreme Couponing” program opens up a world of savings for budget-conscious shoppers, but it doesn’t necessarily show the whole picture. To be a real extreme coupon, you need a lot of time, a big investment and a very thick skin. For some, it’s a way of life, but extreme coupons are definitely not for everyone. Proceed carefully so that you don’t completely lose your mind, time or money.

What do you think of “extreme coupons”?

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