I Think I Would Have A Bird: Extreme Couponing

Extreme Couponing

Extreme Couponing… Picture from TLC,

Just for kicks, Daniel and I starting to watch Extreme Couponing on Netflix last night. As many of you already know, I don’t subscribe to real television services out of choice. However, we thoroughly love Netflix for choice and price point.

I don’t think much about coupons and I am certainly not a person that goes out of my way to review flyers or websites for grocery stores. Truth is, we have two small grocery stores in my town. There’s not a lot of choice. In fact, we rarely shop in our local grocery store and go to the next town for our groceries. Why? It’s the same brand of grocery store in the next town and it’s several times bigger with more selection.

One thing that prompted this article is about seeing the stock piles of food, health and beauty products. In one episode, the one woman has enough bag of potato chips to feed 800 people. I’m not a health nut judging by my figure but I can’t see that stock piling up potato chips, pop, candy and other items in this same category is a healthy choice. Sure, it may be free but if we did this… we could end up paying the price health wise with diabetes, being overweight and much more. Medical expenses in the end may just trump all of these savings of getting free junk food.

In one episode, a lady buys 35 bottles of Malox Calcium Pills because she has the coupons to get them virtually for free. One has to question though, will she ever get through 35 bottles of just this product alone… and if she does, is a good healthy choice to take that many?

Maybe I am jealous to see all of that food being given for free but the business side of me kicks in and says… WAIT… if they are getting all of this stuff for free, who is really paying the price for this? Does this seem fair. Nothing is ever free, someone is paying the price and I am willing to bet it is other consumers like you and I that pay a higher price in order for these coupons to be cost effective.

I couldn’t help but notice store shelves being cleared out and I got thinking… is this smart or just plain greed? I’ve not yet made up my mind.

In one episode the woman takes an hour to ring up her purchases because she has divided up her order into 18 transactions. I think if something like this happened in our local grocery store, there’s not enough cashiers on duty without sacrificing the time of other people for this type of transaction. If I got stuck behind someone doing this… You can bet your boots I would have a bird, give up and walk out of the store without purchasing anything.

I believe here in Canada, extreme couponing isn’t legal or there are many restrictions to prevent this from occurring. I believe there is coupon restrictions of not being able to combine coupon deals or do what is seen on Extreme Couponing. I could be wrong but I am sure I heard that somewhere.

For me, I am not enticed by coupons. I’m not sure about other people. If I see a good deal on something, I may grab a few extra but I won’t buy more than I can actually use. I’m more worried about expiration dates on items. In one example, one woman with four people in the home with 100 full size boxes of cereal… I don’t think it’s possible to go through that much within the limited expiration date. For the sake of humanity, I hope she is going to give it away to charity before the expiration date and not just throw it out at the end.

The real question is… how much is thrown out when the expiration date comes… even though they may have never paid much or anything for it, seems like it’s a huge waste and a crime against humanity when others may be struggling to put food on the table.

The show is kind of quirky and so are the guests… it’s probably makes it a fun watch. I can see the addictive nature of extreme couponing. I’m addicted to the internet and I can relate to this show on many levels of that aspect alone.


About Mikey, The Crochet Crowd

I am Mikey, owner of The Crochet Crowd Blog. I'm a 'hooker' at heart with the passion to crochet. I am from Ontario Canada and teach how to crochet online through YouTube Video Tutorials. From a simple idea and being at the right place and time in my life back in 2008, the concept of The Crochet Crowd was developed. I'm here to hook and share. Come follow my crochet journey and share yours with comments here and you are most welcome to share your creativity within our Facebook page.
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31 Responses to I Think I Would Have A Bird: Extreme Couponing

  1. This show got me into couponing. I’m from the UK and we don’t have anything like they do in the show. No double-up’s, overage and most coupons stipulate “1 per customer” or such to avoid people taking the mick.
    Even so, many people in the UK that coupon have a stock pile. I personally could not do it… It seems a waste and very greedy to stock up on things you wont use. My version of “stocking up” is buying 3 lots of 9-roll toilet tissue, 6 tins of soup and beans readily available in the cupboard at all times…
    It’s mainly toiletries that help. I currently have 1 tube of toothpaste being used and 2 more “in stock”, 2 handwashes being used (1 in kitchen 1 in bathroom) with 4 more I got for free on standby… I don’t want hundreds of products all over my house. My Husband wouldn’t be able to hack it either lol
    But you can use coupons to your advantage. I regularly save at least £15 on a £70 weekly shop just by using coupons.

  2. Cara says:

    I use coupons, but only for what we need and actually use or that I can get for a really good price to put in the barrel at church for the food pantry that also gives away toiletries and cleaning supplies. I don’t understand the people who buy 30 things of laundry detergent every week just because they can get it for $2 or whatever and then they just store it in a room in their house. I could understand it if you did it every six months or so and in the meantime you were using what you got last time. I don’t understand hoarding things.

  3. Meg says:

    I rarely use coupons because I rarely get any for items I’m interested in buying; when it comes to food there’s also a lot of stuff I don’t/can’t eat and that’s mostly what the coupons are for (hmm, that could be a reason for people to not eat healthy – “I bought it because I had a coupon for it.”). I stopped clipping coupons years ago, now I use only what the grocery store prints out when I’m checking out, or (occasionally) the ones from the local craft stores that I get in emails.

    Some of it probably depends on your situation and lifestyle; for example, when it comes to groceries I’m just feeding myself, not a family of, say, 5 people with different likes and dislikes. But buying so many bottles of a supplement that you won’t be able to use up before they expire – that’s about greed, and maybe even hoarding. And making a cashier do 18 separate ringups just because the coupons have restrictions on them – that doesn’t just bend/break rules, but speaking from the point of view of the other people in line – it’s downright rude. And speaking from the point of the view of the cashier – something I have been at various times in my work life – it’s enough for me to ask the company to change their rules (which they will probably do anyway because that kind of usage, if it’s for store coupons rather than manufacturer coupons, is all about shrink).

  4. Tiffany says:

    I have watched a few of those episodes, mainly because I was bored and nothing else was on. One of the episodes I watched had several different families, their story, and their trip to the market. In this particular episode, most of the excess items that were free were donated to the local homeless shelter. This I can see as an upside to the extreme couponing. However, in more cases than not, I do believe these people to just be selfish and getting all of the extra items simply because they can.

    Where I live, there are extreme limitations put on coupons. Such as, only a certain number can be used per visit (not per transaction), and not one store in my area will give you credit on a coupon. You can only get up to the price taken off, they will not give you store credit to be used to purchase other things, or give you money back at the end of the transaction. I believe these were implemented because of the television show. So, the only thing to worry about in my neighborhood is the person carrying every store flyer to price match almost every item in their cart. I try to avoid those lines.

  5. MsKat says:

    I use plenty of coupons but not like they do on that show…I either use the ones for things I already use, or for something I want to try but wouldn’t want to pay full price just to try. I sometimes get a great deal, when something is on sale plus my coupon plus whatever else, but that is the exception not the rule. I don’t usually watch that show but stumbled on it one day and decided to check it out. The first lady, if I had the time and energy I might try extreme couponing to be like her-she got a HUGE amount of items, but a lot was for a large neighboring family who had recently come on hard times, and even more was for the local food pantry. She did have a little excess of some favorite items at home but not a whole lot. Other than some sweet drinks I wouldn’t have gotten, she didn’t get a load of junk foods. The second lady, she started extreme couponing because they are planning to move south somewhere, so she decided to put away the money she saved for that move. Their entire garage was stocked like a small grocer. I didn’t agree with her frame of mind, because a lot of their foods were junky, and also, they could spend a large chunk of what she set aside just to move all that when the time comes. I doubt they would have eaten their way through all the excess by the time they move, especially since she did this kind of shopping on a regular basis. Everything should be in moderation, even extreme couponing. As someone who sometimes does rise to the challenge of a good bargain, I think anyone can do it, but they need to have priorities even with that.

  6. Laura says:

    Unfortunately I do not use coupons because for 2 people with a lot of coupons
    stating buy 2 or more and the items are not what I normally buy. I am not going to buy just because I have a coupon. Instead I keep my coupons booklets for a friend who cuts them out and mails to military for them to use..

  7. Krynne says:

    Here in Canada they do have several limitations in place for how a coupon is used… which I’m honestly grateful they have! This means it stops all those who grab the entire shelf of items just for the deal and not caring that the on sale item is what brings us “poor” folks out to buy foods to survive on. No wonder supermarkets and producers are charging so much for their products now.

    I do use coupons for things I actually use and I do have some extra items I’ve bought with these coupons stacked for later use… but this is nowhere near the 100s of items seen on that show! I have to rely on local transportation (bus), so bringing that much stuff home is rather impossible for me and I don’t know anyone with a car. As well, there just wouldn’t be any place to store anything of that quantity in this small unit I live in, even if I could somehow get it all home.

    I usually find costs on store brands are usually cheaper than the the name brands, even after using a coupon for those name brands and the store brand isn’t even on sale! However I usually wait til the store brands go on sale, and then just buy a few extra so it can last me through the month until my disability pension comes in again (this comes once a month).

  8. Krynne says:

    Here in Canada they do have several limitations on how a coupon is used… which I’m honestly grateful they have in place! This means it stops all those who grab the entire shelf of items just for the deal and not caring that the on sale item is what brings us “poor” folks out to buy foods to survive on. No wonder supermarkets and producers are charging so much for their products now.

    I do use coupons for things I actually use, and I do have some extra items I’ve bought with these coupons stacked for later use, but this is nowhere near the 100s of items seen on that show! I have to rely on local transportation (bus), so bringing that much home is impossible for me, and I know no one with a car. As well, there just wouldn’t be any place to store anything of that quantity in this small unit I live in, even if I could somehow get it all home.

    I usually find costs on store brands are usually cheaper than the the name brands, even after using a coupon for those name brands and the store brand isn’t even on sale! However I usually wait til the store brands go on sale, and then just buy a few extra so it can last me through the month until my disability pension comes in again (this comes once a month).

  9. Rachel says:

    Yes, yes, yes! This just baffles me. I have four kids, three of whom are boys, and we do not go through 100 boxes of cereal that fast. I watched one of those episodes. One woman bought 80 bottles of mustard. 80! Who needs that?

  10. Cyndy says:

    I don’t use coupons regularly because the store brands, which are just as good in my opinion, have a better price. I DO stockpile when I can because I have 10 people in my home. My 3 grown daughters, 1 son-in-law and 4 growing grandsons. My oldest grandson (age 6) is Type 1 diabetic so my stock piles do not include “junk” foods like chips or high sugar cereals. We have crackers, sugar free snacks and healthier choices. I do get a few “indulgences” for my husband, My youngest grandson is extremely picky so I do get things I know he likes, but within reason. I do get the cereal in bags as they are a better value per serving and the kids really like them. Coupons these days are for products we never use, so I usually don’t bother with them.

    • Tiffany says:


      I have to agree with you here. I have looked through the Sunday paper for coupons to save money on occasion. Mainly when my husband’s hours got cut back at work. While searching through them, I would only end up with one or two that I would actually use. We also buy the store brand, except on a very small number of things, but most of the coupons in the paper are for toiletries, medications, and cleaning supplies. If you are like us, we don’t eat those things, and by the time I actually need to restock on any of that stuff the coupons have expired and I would have to get new ones again anyway.

  11. Heather says:

    My favourite episode was the one where the college kid (male) cleared a shelf of maxi pads. Just because he had the coupons and got them free.

  12. most coupons I find are for things I never use or the off brand is still cheaper so I don’t really bother with them anymore. I used them more when my kids were babies for things like diapers and formula or jared baby food.

  13. Connie Baker says:

    I have quit watching that show because I have decided it sets a bad example. It is nice that people can get a lot of stuff for free or almost free, but the time they spend in collecting all those coupons is ridiculous. One lady was shown spending up to 60 hours a week and dumpster diving for sale circulars thrown out behind the newspaper office. That is stupid. In fairness, though, out of all those shows, I did see one that warmed my heart. One lady would spend about 20 hours a week gathering coupons for non-food item in addition to what she uses for her family. She then took those items, ( deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, snacks, etc.) to the local Blue Star Mothers to be packaged for our guys overseas. Personally, I don’t collect coupons because I don’t consume the packaged, high-priced stuff they advertise. I get better deals shopping Dollar General and Walmart.

  14. Karen Lovett says:

    The stores are paid for the coupons that they receive.

  15. Elaine says:

    I also do not believe in all that buying with coupons, just to stash it away. I commend those women who share their food with those that need it. I also mostly just use the Joanns and Michaels coupons for yarn for items that I make and donate to charity

  16. claudia says:

    The coupon has to be good for me to use and save good money, but I only use if it is things I need/use. My store I frequent usually has 10 for 10 11th free, I love that cause I can stock up for winter. I make a lot of my own spice mixes which does save and I buy family packs, and it is only hubby and me so we eat for a long time..(and no I do not have a room dedicated to stockpiles) just what fits in pantry and freezer….

  17. Cathy says:

    There is absolutely no way that I would spend the time and energy to achieve what the ladies on that show accomplish. The only coupons I care about are from Joanne Fabrics to feed my crochet addiction:)

  18. Christi Cho says:

    Before I started Crochet a few months ago, I was big on coupons. I still am but not as much as before. In my area there are hardly double coupons and when there is a sale there are no coupons for the good sales until after the sale is over and the coupon expires before another sale begins. I go to Walmart with all my ads they price match and i can still use coupons on the items. It’s good savings but nothing is free and you can’t stack coupons at Walmart. If I know I’m going to need an items for several occasions I will pick up 5-8 of them but I don’t horde them in any way. I have about 39 cans of Chunky soup but we have a soup night once a week and soup is almost always on sale. If its on sale and I have a coupon and the deal is unbelievable then you go hog wild if it is something you know you will use or if a friend or family needs a little extra help then grab it and give it away. A lot of couponers have a tendency to collect what they buy, which means they buy it to say they have the biggest stash and no one can eat any of it. Now I pick and choose what I buy I have a $100.00 a week budget for a family of 4 with making home lunches for work and school. I use what is on sale and what I already have at home to make a weekly menu. I usually go over $5-10.00 but that is for fresh produce and meats.

  19. Cherie says:

    Mikey–I used to be able to do something close to what is considered “extreme couponing”–where I’d get $100+ in food items for less than $20 –my goal was to save 80% on my grocery bill. I only bought items I used or that I could get completely free. Now to qualify-I have 4 kids at home–college down to middle school–they eat a lot but we don’t eat a lot of processed foods which is what most of the coupons are for so the things I get for free go either to our school backpack program or the local food bank. I am also a teacher–I feed a lot of kids at school. The school lunches are junk and disgusting –we have had a ton of parents out of work for many years now. Kids need to eat in order to learn. So, a lot goes to school as well. Sadly, thanks to those shown on shows like “extreme couponing” the stores have hired people to make sure that their store ads, store coupons and manufactors coupons no longer can be stacked–they make sure their ads and coupons run off time from the manufactors coupons. As a result, those of us who really needed this break in cost no longer get it. I sincerely hope those sick people who have filled their bath tub with 100 boxes of cereal (instead of donating them for leaving them for someone who really needed them to feed kids instead of fill their bath) enjoy the fact that they spoiled it for the ones who needed this break. I’ve never watched the show because I knew it would upset me–knowing we have a lot of hungry people in the world and on the streets while these people continue to fill their bath tubs, closets and more with food and items truly needed by others. Ok-off the soap box. I do also sale shop for yarn because one of the things I do is knit/crochet winter hats that get donated every year to our homeless and kids in the schools that need warmth in the winter. Sales help all of us to help others–when done right 🙂

    • Shane Suri says:

      I’ve noticed this too. I’ve really never had much use for coupons, so many being for things that we don’t eat or use, but those that I could use are worth less than before and are rarely stackable with store sales or coupons. The stores and coupon manufacturers, whether they were impacted directly or not, have cracked down on the possibility and practice of extreme couponing. It makes me upset in some ways that a simple shopper has to struggle to find a good deal because of the actions of a few. I’ll stop here because I really can’t drag out the soap box dealing with cleared shelves! I’ve had that happen to me on more than one occasion and it drives me mad!

  20. Audrey says:

    I use coupons for things I buy regularly, or sometimes I’ll try a product if the coupon is good. I always sue them at Michaels, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby, but again on things I need. Saving money is healthy, buying 600 of one thing is not.

  21. Marion says:

    I’m glad Canada has restrictions when it comes to couponing, I personally think that unless they have a family that is 18 and growing, it’s greed! and just like shop lifting. Which we end up paying for in the end as consumers.

  22. Karin says:

    I coupon A LOT and if I find a deal where is can get 20, 30, 40 of something for virtually nothing I do, But and it is a big BUT, my friends and friends of friends know that if they are having hard times, and struggling to feed their family they can come to my house and go “grocery shopping”. I get deals on everything including meats, so when people do this I can easily have them walk out of the house with a full weeks worth of groceries for their family, with no stress or lack put on mine. It gives me joy. Not to judge but when I see someone who appears not to give what what has been so freely given to them I always think “they are just a higher class of hoarder”. I never have a problem with expiration dates because between rotating (using the oldest first) and giving a way nothing goes to waste.

  23. Lara says:

    I feel extreme couponing is like hoarding. I do use a coupon or two if it’s something I had intentions on buying and it is for at least a dollar. Online I use discount and or free shipping coupon codes. They save me a lot! Some shipping can be up to $10. and for me, that’s a lot!

  24. Leslie says:

    I’ve occasionally watched that show. My favorite comment I heard was from a husband helping his coupon shopping wife as she was clearing a shelf of mustard – “but we don’t like or use mustard”

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