Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

Extreme Couponing, Again

I watched Extreme Couponing a few nights ago via my friend’s Slingbox. And I just had to share the moment that made me laugh.

The first woman was shopping at a store that “prices matches” with fliers from other stores. A lot of places do this, and even the shops here in the UK will do it, too. But this woman truly went to the extreme. She had a flier that marked down cereal to less than $2, when her store charges over $5 for the boxes. That’s awesome. But what really made me laugh is the woman drove over 30 miles to get the flier. Uhm, hello? That 30 miles of driving probably cost you more than you’ll save on that box of cereal!

Tim and I worked out that we can go approximately 4 miles for each pound (£) of diesel we put in the car. A 30-mile trip would cost us about £7.50. £1 = around $1.50 currently, so if she could go 4 miles for every $1.50, that means she would have spent over $11 on fuel to pick up this flier. With the price difference being around $4, she had to buy 3 boxes before she even began to break even on the deal. Of course, she probably bought something like 10 or more boxes, I really didn’t pay attention to the number of boxes. BUT, she also didn’t include the $11 in petrol in her savings.

I still think the extreme way of couponing isn’t as glamorous as it looks. Looking at some of the stockpiling you have to wonder how much money do these people spend maintaining their stock? If they have multiple freezers, surely the cost of running them has to be calculated into their total savings? Or the shelving units they purchase to store it all on, the extra rooms they have built onto their homes. What about the wear and tear on their $30k vehicle because it has to sit in the driveway through all weather since the garage is full of their shopping? Or the sheer amount of TIME it takes for them to go through the coupons? Some people on the show boast that they spend 40+ hours/week clipping coupons and looking for deals. Do they calculate into their savings when they purchase coupons on eBay? How about the paper, ink, and electricity they use to print off on-line coupons? What about the time lost with their family because they are too busy searching for coupons and deals? Several episodes back there was someone who drove 100+ miles for something cheap, yet they didn’t calculate their travelling into their savings. One woman boasted that she couponed while on a family vacation because there were different stores than the ones she shopped at at home!

I know that pre-packaged food tends to have long expiration dates, but I also worry that the food will go bad before they use it – Sometimes when my mom or I would clean out the kitchen cabinet (our “stockpile”), we often found things way at the back that had expired without us realizing it. I couldn’t imagine keeping track of expiration dates on some of the huge stockpiles we see on that show. I have a hard enough time keeping track of the food in my small fridge, let alone if I had three refrigerators full of food.

And I’ll say it again… a lot of what they buy is JUNK. Candy, sugar cereals, soda, ramen noodles (sodium), etc. Even tinned vegetables still aren’t as healthy as fresh. And tinned fruit tends to be in sugary syrup. How can you stay healthy and eat that stuff? What do you need 200 bottles of laundry soap for? A bottle probably lasts at least a month or two, so you have enough detergent for how many YEARS of laundry? What happens if you move? Will you pay a moving company to shift your stockpile? What about insurance on it in case your basement floods, your house catches fire, or someone breaks in and steals things? would you even know if someone had stolen something from your stockpile? If you don’t own pets, why do you have 100 packets of cat treats? You’re past the age of having babies, and your own children are in primary school, so why do you have all those jars of baby food, diapers, and wipes? What’s the use in having a 20 years supply of feminine products if you are male and don’t have a female partner or family member to use it? Sometimes, I even wonder if the people actually eat and use the things they buy or if they just like looking at their “collection”, because they seem to do these huge shops weekly!

I’m still quite satisfied to see myself saving £10 off a £50 order. Some weeks I fail at saving money (this week, I’ve only saved about £2). Other weeks, I go for gold and can save over £10. It all evens out for me and I would never purchase something purely based on the fact that it was on special offer or if I had a coupon for it. Everything I purchase gets used within a reasonable amount of time, unless it’s part of our “Winter Kit” (which I’ll explain in a later post)

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