Apr 4, 2012
i know i'm a little behind the curve by just now getting around to watching 'extreme couponing,' but i found myself glued to the tv for a few episodes the other afternoon. i knew about people who barely pay for their groceries thanks to diligent coupon clipping, but i guess it hadn't sunk in just how much you can save. most of my knowledge of couponing came from an episode of '2 broke girls,' so i didn't exactly have the full picture. watching 'extreme couponing,' at first i thought, "wow... i have to start doing this! it's almost too good to be true!" then after an hour or so of shots of burgeoning stock piles it turned into "ok, yes, she only spent a penny on this grocery haul, but why did she just buy 10 sticks of deodorant when they just showed a stock pile of 30 in her basement? who seriously needs 20 bottles of body wash on hand at all times? you say that you never let any of your items go to waste, but your entire house is a pantry, and you work full time. do you really expect me to believe that nothing has gone unused past its expiration date?"
am i really throwing my money away if i don't devote my free time to coupons?
times are legitimately hard for a lot of people, but, the more extreme couponing i saw, the more i realized that it's just another form of consumerism. it's about how little money you spent for the maximum amount of basic stuff rather than how much money you spent for the most luxurious stuff. extreme couponing is something beyond saving money. as an outsider looking in, extreme couponing seems to be about control (calculating and re-calculating totals before heading to the checkout, meticulously organized coupon books and stock piles, etc.) and surrounding yourself with products to make you feel safe. some women even confessed feelings of love for their stock piles. come on, ladies! it's stuff! your 10,000 bottles of vitamin water cannot love you back! most of these women seem to have started couponing after a traumatic event: divorce, losing a job, or near-failure of a self-owned business. coupons are not therapy. they will absolutely save you money, but you don't need to be preparing for armageddon. there are ways to feel better without giving yourself over to consumerism.
becoming obsessed with saving money is still an obsession with shopping.
if you find yourself agitated or sweaty going through the checkout line, there is something wrong. let's go for a happy medium: clip coupons, use the ones you get at the checkout, or only buy what you need when you need it, and don't worry about waiting for a sale. do what works for you.
another example of coupons gone wrong:
extreme couponing is 'good.' buying what you need and only what you need is 'real.' choose real.
so what are my takeaways from an afternoon with 'extreme couponing'? first of all, the right coupons will save you money, especially if you pair them up with in-store sales. i think it's worth grabbing a paper from my apartment lobby every sunday and taking 10 minutes to check the coupons and the sale ads, so i will try to make this part of my weekend routine. however, i will definitely NOT be taking all of the papers so that i can get 20 of each coupon. i am not going to purchase things that i would never buy just because there's a coupon for it, and i am only going to clip coupons for things i actually use. a free lipgloss i never use is really not a bargain. it's clutter.
what are your thoughts on coupons? are my conclusions too hasty? chime in below.