Extreme Couponing is a subject that comes up at almost every one of my coupon classes……
Let’s just get the idea of “Reality TV” out in the open, shall we? From “Real” Housewives, to Teen Mom and even competition shows, “Reality” is hardly real.
Reality is a documentary. Reality is not conversation topics fed to the people in the show via text while filming, 14 hours of tape crunched into 15 minutes of shopping agony, staged competitions for signing/dancing/cooking or even a talk show that puts two or more ex-girlfriends in the same room with the one baby-daddy at the same time. Reality is what someone else in the same situation could reasonably expect to see as a result of the situation. Everything else is a staged circumstance with real people. Period.
So, let’s look at Extreme Couponing specifically.
Sorry folks, it’s not real. Though some of the deals are real, there are many more that use fake coupons and are all but impossible to replicate for the rest of us. Even the first episode of the third season has already been picked apart for fraud.
And many of those stores bend the rules for the camera crews. What are the chances of you walking into your local Kmart store (who is now a sponsor of the show) and getting to make 23 separate transactions to avoid the five double coupon limit they restrict you to with your rewards card? In previous seasons, we’ve seen stores by pass computer systems and allow double coupons for the show when they don’t ever double otherwise.
OH MY GAWD! *eyeroll* – Really? A coupon trip valued at over $1000 and having to pay not even $1.00 (after questionable coupons/practices) is “Life or death”. COME ON. “I think I’m going to be sick” “I’m so nervous” and “I REFUSE to pay a penny” are not only over dramatized but ridiculous as well as unrealistic. I’ll believe it when I see the lady pass out. Not to mention many of these people admit to buying coupons and use rewards money/points/coupons that they have earned from actually spending money prior to the taping of the show. $43+ dollars in Shop Your Way Rewards do not just magically appear on your card. However, none of that is figured in the final total. That would be reality.
Let’s talk about the
stockpiling hoarding. Things have expiration dates, and though some of those dates are suggestions, things still go bad. And removing your dining room table to make room for your stockpile? I don’t know these people, but that seems like a basic breakdown in priorities to me. I have a stockpile. I also strongly suggest a reasonable stockpile (2-3 months worth in most cases, to last until the next sale comes around) and having some stockpile organization in place.
In the end, what is reality for saving?
Doing what’s right for you, within the rules/law. “It doesn’t really hurt anyone” is not an excuse. It hurts everyone. From the cashier you talk into taking the coupon on the wrong item who might get in trouble, to the store that doesn’t get reimbursed, to the next person in line who gets scrutinized when doing everything right because someone before them pulled a fast one on the store, to the companies that start refusing to put out coupons because of a few bad shoppers. It hurts someone, and it could be you.
Knowing your store policies. And following them, even when they change or when they vary from store to store.
Getting creative and back to basics. Creative meal organization and menu planning from the ad go a long way towards big savings. Cooking in bulk, freezing food and trying new ways to stretch your food supply will all add up over time.
So, that’s my piece. What do you have to say?