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Extreme Tesco

In the US, a new show on TLC has been raising eyebrows everywhere called Extreme Couponing. I’ll link to one of the blurbs for an episode below, but you can very easily search for Extreme Couponing on YouTube and pull up loads more clips, including personal videos by some of the people on the show where they give extensive “tours” of their stockpiles. If I linked to every single YouTube video I’ve watched, it would be a very long list. The show isn’t available in the UK (or if it is, it’s not on the channels I get), so I have to watch the segments on YouTube.


Link: http://youtu.be/FORB0P3hSiI

The show has been also raising eyebrows all over the blogosphere, too (yes, those are all separate links). Lots of legitimate couponing sites (again, google for more) have been blasting the show’s policies, including the people on the show using coupons for the wrong items in order to lower their bill.

The idea behind the show is to save as much money as you can on your grocery bill, by ANY means possible, even if it means buying coupons online for $70 or dumpster diving for discarded coupon inserts.

I love saving money as much as anyone else, but there’s a reason the show is called “extreme”!

In the UK, couponing isn’t a big deal. Every once in a while there might be a coupon for something in a magazine or through the post, but there are no Sunday inserts — most of the grocery stores don’t even put out weekly fliers. But every time you walk around one of the shops with your grocery list, you’re bound to find at least half of the items on your list on special offer, and if you are really pressed for funds, you can purchase things off of the ultra-value line, where cans of soup cost 17p. I get a little thrill when our total is shown as £58 and then the cashier scans our clubcard and the total gets reduced to £35.

A few weeks back, Tim and I went to Tesco armed with £9.50 in clubcard vouchers and whatever loose change we had in our pockets (well, and our debit cards). We set ourselves a goal of spending as close to £10 as we could.

Here’s a copy of our receipt:

As you can see, we spent £1.49 out of pocket.

I consider this an awesome shopping trip, but was it extreme? No, probably not. For one, we didn’t deliberately buy things just to get them “for free”, and in fact we added the Red Leicester cheese and the Lighter Cheese (on an offer 2/£3) just so we would definitely spend more than our vouchers.

But take a look at some of the other things we purchased:

Wholemeal Bread 47p
Tinned Pineapple 43p
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (Generic Nutella) 86p
2L Sparkling Water 16p

All of the above items came from Tesco’s “value” range. The jar of chocolate hazelnut was larger than the largest jar of Nutella and the Nutella was over £3. Fortunately, we had tried the Tesco brand before, and actually like it. I can’t tell a difference at all between it and Nutella. And it’s less than £1. Sparkling water? Sure, I could have gone for one of the brands, but in my opinion, water is water. I’m going to pour it into a glass and top it off with some fruit squash, so does it really matter? The same with the pineapple – it’s an ingredient in another recipe. The value tin came in syrup instead of juice, but I’ll rinse off the pineapple before I use it. The bread probably wasn’t the greatest. It’s really thin slices of bread, but it doesn’t taste bad.

Granted, on a regular shopping trip, we probably would have picked up Nutella, Buxton brand water, and Kingsmill bread, but we were deliberately trying to see what we could get for approximately £10 and I wanted to try out some of the Tesco value line products.

What I learned? The value products really aren’t bad. And if it means I spend only £20 on weekly groceries, I’ll take it.

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8 Comments so far

  1. melanie June 9th, 2011 13:31

    We watched that show last night. Really what does one do with 85 bottles of hot sauce, free or not. The only one I loved was the lady who got 400 boxes of cat food (free after coupon) for her local animal shelter and who donated over 1000 pounds of food to her local food bank. That is extreme I can get behind. Maybe the food bank needs to create a position for an extreme couponer.

  2. Rebecca June 9th, 2011 17:23

    I feel the same way Melanie! Watching some of the clips here, I just shake my head about it all. I wonder how much of it gets wasted because it expires! And 150 toothbrushes? Seriously? even with replacing a toothbrush every 3 months, that’s still a lot of toothbrushes. My version of “stocking up” is if something is on BOGO or 2 for!

  3. Berol June 9th, 2011 22:18

    Hello! (I’m miss_evil_penguin from craftster), genius idea to try out the coupons! 🙂 I must watch that show on youtube, i love things like that! I once watched a wife swap episode that was based in the USA and one of the families were ‘sweepers’ who do those sweepstake things all day every day! Very entertaining! 🙂 xx

  4. Rebecca June 9th, 2011 22:34

    If you search for it, there are plenty of official clips from the station (TLC) as well as people who uploaded bits. Wife Swap always cracked me up….it shouldn’t be called Wife Swap, it’s more like “Mum Swap”!

  5. Fiona September 29th, 2011 11:01

    Hey Dandygrrrl from Lj just wanted to say I really enjoyed your blog.

  6. Rebecca September 29th, 2011 12:47

    Thanks!

  7. Andrew October 10th, 2016 10:59

    Pretty cool you went to tescos, god i would love to be you 😉

  8. additional reading January 27th, 2019 3:59

    Mind if I link this article on Facebook? It’s very topical 😀

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