Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Extreme Couponing Season Comes to a Close


Well. The Season of Extreme Couponing has come to a close.
Not to fret, however, as the show will be returning with a new season in September, 2011.

What a whirlwind season this has been! Let's face it, the show came with it's moments of controversy!

Even in passing, it seems to spark controversial conversations. What I've found is that there are hard-lined opinion on coupons, the products that coupons provide savings for, the lack of organic, or healthy product coupons, and of course, the need to stockpile-or not.
There are many misconceptions about what an extreme couponer is...and what their motivations are.

I feel that the show lacked in the area of education.
I also feel that they did not clearly make the point that not all stores offer the same coupon policies.
I feel, too, that they exploited the participants to a degree. With the show "Hoarders" being advertised and following many of the Extreme Couponing episodes, the misconception is that all couponers and stockpilers are indeed hoarding.

Personally, in my household, it is very difficult to keep a stockpile of food items. That may be a direct result of my not using meal planning techniques to use my food items in such a way that I could stockpile items. Simply put, we eat what we buy.
I think it's great that others have been able to achieve this level of stockpiling.

Right now, our goal is to stockpile non-perishables, heath and beauty, laundry type items. In doing so, it frees up our budget to purchase food items.  I think once we achieve a good stockpile of these items, we will take what lessons we've learned in this arena and incorporate them into a food stockpile.

Slowly building is the key. Ask any couponer, extreme or not, who stockpiles, they will tell you that their stockpile didn't appear over night!

Yes, the show has raised awareness of couponing....I'll give it that.

In fact, even though I have been couponing for over 20 years and have been organizing via the binder method for over four years, I find myself being asked if I am "One of THOSE couponers" when I am at the store.
A running joke at my local Wal Mart seems to be if I will have "extreme savings" this week. Or If I will beat my last total!

I don't mind the scrutiny; I LOVE the savings!

I even chuckle a bit when I am shopping at a store and I am approached by other customers who ask where an item can be found.
1. Because they actually think that I work there. (My binder, spreadsheet, and unwavering focus on aisle shelves are to blame!)
2. Because I actually know where to send them!

What Extreme Couponing has done in my home town has caused my store's cashiers to become more aware of the proper use of a coupon.

The stores have also become acutely aware that they need to be sure that their shelves are stocked with items for which a coupon is currently available.

In the 20 years I've been at this, I find that I am able to find product more readily available than I have in the past.

My hope is that all watching the show will take 10% of what they see on the show as helpful information and let the other 90% be the entertainment that TLC intended it to be.
Look past the shelving of products, the piles, stacks, and milk crates of coupon inserts, and cartons of pre-ordered product.
When you do, you soon realize that even with a minimal amount of coupons, you can significantly reduce your out of pocket and save your family some REAL money.
At the end of the day, that's what it's really about!

I, personally, enjoyed the season. I have my favorites and my not so favorites. I'm ready to see what next season will bring us.
I hope that TLC has been listening to the viewers and will incorporate some education into the new shows.

Until then, we are going to continue to post on this blog the savings that we find each week. After all, you don't have to have a stockpile room, a binder full of coupons, or a camera crew following you around your store to save a boat load of money!

Until Next Time: