Extreme Couponing: My Three Problems With It

Like so many Americans sitting at home wondering what a government shutdown actually means and fretting about whether or not it will hold up the delivery of my Wonder File, I could not wait to watch the show about people who coupon in an extreme way.  Could not wait.  I have a love hate relationship with the world of couponing.  Each week I dutifully clip.  I pay attention to weekly publications that indicate the sales.  I even make a detailed grocery list that utilizes every coupon to its fullest capacity.  But something always goes wrong.  Somewhere between this manic preparation and driving home on a Thursday night realizing we have nothing in the house to eat or wipe with, I lose it.  I run into the grocery store for chicken and toilet paper and spend $65 dollars on ten items.  Where are my list and coupons, you ask?  Sitting at home next to my Good Housekeeping magazine that Andy wishes I would read. 

So now, I turn to the blog with my frustration.  Here are my main problems with what is now referred to as Extreme Couponing. 

1.    Problem #1I can’t do it.  I’m sorry.  I go to the store to buy things I need.  Do you know what my husband would do if he rifled through the pantry to see what I bought at the grocery store and could only find paper towels and Maalox?  I do.  The conversation would go something like this:

“Where’s the food?” he would ask. 

“Honey, its just temporary.  I’m couponing and I have to wait until meat goes on sale before I buy it for our meals.”

“What am I supposed to eat?” 

“How about a case of yogurt? “

“I’m ordering a pizza.”

In order to feasibly be an extreme couponing queen, let’s face it, Samuel and Andy would have to move in with his mom and dad for 6 months to a year.  That’s what it would take for me to get on the couponing cycle and to build the extra room onto our house for all that inventory. 

It’s like the modern day trek to the New World.  I would go first and send for them later once our house was fully stocked with six months worth of groceries.

But once it is, oh it would be glorious.  Instead of “leftover night”, we would be forced to have “about to expire night”.  Everyone would go to the underground bunker I built (since the HOA said I couldn’t build "up") and pick out one item that is about to expire.  Wouldn’t that make for some humorous meals?  Andy said it wouldn’t.

2.    Problem #2Okay, so you have 85 bottles of ketchup that you paid $.40 to lug home. Now what?  Do you give them as end of the year teacher gifts?  Put Venus razors in your kids party favor bags?  Or better yet:

“Trick or Treat!” 

“Hi kids.  Here’s a box of Tic Tacs and don’t forget, (shake bottle) I have calcium supplements for everyone!  It’s never too early to fight the signs of osteoporosis. Happy Halloween!” 

See, I happen to think my time is worth money.  So when I spend four hours, planning for a shopping trip, five actually shopping and 2 more hours carefully putting everything away with labels facing forward Sleeping with the Enemy style, my shopping trip didn’t cost $5.97.  It cost several hundred dollars plus $5.97.

And let me just add that it would be a fantastic day when my child tells his teacher that he can’t have a seasonal wardrobe because his mother insists on storing 30 boxes of Kix under his bed. 

“Move along, Child Protective Services…nothing to see here.”

3.    Problem #3And finally, here is perhaps my biggest problem.  Quite simply, it’s the name.  Can you really call yourself an Extreme Coupon-er?  Let’s be honest, there’s no real element of danger in couponing unless it comes in the form of a catfight because your supposed bff wouldn’t haul her butt down to the grocery store at 5AM so you could qualify for four extra transactions. UNFRIEND. 

But seriously, you’re not couponing at gunpoint.  There aren’t wild dogs chasing you.  You are not couponing suspended several feet in the air, balancing on a tight rope over a pit of deadly vipers.  I get that its very serious couponing, even obsessive couponing, but is it really extreme?  I say it is not.

So I guess I'm okay with the fact that I'm going to continue to spend hard earned money on overpriced groceries ten minutes before I’m supposed to have dinner on the table.  

But that’s just me.

3 comments

Zog mom said...

I'm laughing in my sunday morning coffee (that I bought on sale, but alas, not with a coupon) and my husband walks in and says, "what's so funny?? I say, "Oh, I'm reading Rachel's most recent blog post." And he says, "Yeah, I read it earlier. She really could be the next Erma Bombeck."

Funny stuff here.

Becky said...

Hilarious, as usual. I missed the show- dying to see it but never can remember when it's on!

casey said...

Love it! Jen is right--you are the next Erma Bombeck. I just can't imagine having the time or mental energy to deal with all that. It is one crazy show!!