I am sure many of us here in the united states have recently been lured into watching the TLC series “Extreme Couponing”. After watching even just one episode, many people including myself are intrigued by the extreme savings opportunities through the world of couponing.
The professionals made it look easy, and most of us, including myself have thought about doing the same as the people we see on TV.
We start to think things like “I could get so many things for free” or “why would I waste money when I could have coupons?”, and I must admit, I immediately wanted to start couponing, and it made clear sense to me, since I live in a house of 15 people!
So I started researching couponing and watching more documentaries and shows, only to realize three things:
– What you see on TV, is not necessarily always realistic.
– Couponing is not for everyone.
– I like couponing!
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It was a downer to realize most of the shows I was watching were really “just for show” like how some super markets changed their policies for the tv show only for the sake of advertisement and making the situation look more appealing, and most of all how you are tricked into thinking you could use hundreds of coupons to get all the things you need at nearly 100% off, when the reality was, many if not all have a limit to how many coupons you may use per visit, and per day! Some stores have a policy of accepting as little as 20 coupons per day per customer.
And this made me realize, that realistically, it would take many hours and a few miracles to shop with a coupon for every item I desire with no rollbacks or rejections.
This brought me even more to the realization that, couponing WILL take time out of your day, you will have to look high and low for the coupon you want, and when you get it you may have to wait for your local store to even have the item you want. Not forgetting to mention the costs you will incur, such as a printer, the ink you will buy, paper, scissors, Sunday papers, hours of un interrupted time each day, and even some helpers!
So a working mother of 6 children for example, would not be able to do such couponing as shown on the show, unless she had excessive time away from her children or had someone to watch them. Whether part time of full time, when returning from work she would most probably need to relax, take a shower, assess the house needs, like cooking and cleaning then assess the children’s needs like bathing and feeding them, then helping with their homework. All of this would be even more difficult if she were divorced!
An “Ex-couponer” named Christy Rakoczy, was interviewed by Good Morning America, where she advised future couponers to be prepared to spend 10 hours a week on gathering coupons alone, she then remarked, “you could just get a part time job instead, and that’s the real saving” so you would really need to be devoted to spending this time for couponing alone.
As a result of my research and findings, I finally came to the conclusion that yes, I do like couponing but it does not influence my decisions in what to buy.
Yes I would love to have 10 dollars off my purchase of 30 dollars in my favorite store, that coupon I would gladly accept, but to go to the extreme of dumpster diving in order to retain coupons for some random grocery items does not appeal to me. My time is also valuable to me, balancing home and college, I could not possibly let hours slip through my time when I could be doing more productive things such as studying or even working.
I do like coupons but I would not spend a dollar over on something I do not need only because I have a coupon.
But I say to the people who like couponing – hey, if you have the time, energy and money, go for it. It’s just not a 100% proven money saving option thing for me.