"extreme couponers" (or something) - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-05-2011, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There was a show on this the other day on TLC.  It was fascinating and I wondered if anyone does anything similar.   They showed a woman who bought $623ish worth of stuff for $2.71.  It was crazy!  another woman spends about 70 hours a week updating her coupon binder, staking out sales, reading flyers, etc.  I don't have time for that, but it was really interesting.

 

Some of it was odd though.  People were buying like 100 packages of yakisoba noodles or some other sodium-laden foods that I cringed to see.  One guy bought 180 toothbrushes because they were free with his coupons.  He also got 1100 boxes of total cereal (free) but he at least donated them to a food pantry.

 

Anyone else get great bargains by cutting coupons?  I can't even seem to get my grocery bill down below $80/week.


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Old 01-05-2011, 02:50 PM
 
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That seems to be my issue with coupons- they all seem to be for things we dont buy!  I'm always seeing coupons/deals for things like Pepsi, home air freshners, chemical based cleaners, ect.  :/


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Old 01-05-2011, 02:53 PM
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YES!!! I saw that too! And all I kept thinking was how junky the food was that they were buying.

It seems like the major component is finding a store that doubles coupons... Don't know of any in my large urban city.
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:04 PM
 
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I watched it... it was really neat how much they could save but as I posted on facebook, I wouldn't be proud of my savings if THAT is the bulk of my diet.  It was seriously gross.  However I will say how much they DID pay for what they bought was at least in line with what I think its worth.  I wouldn't want to pay 250 bucks for that stuff... 6 dollars seems a lot fairer for what you get.

 

I can only assume that the products that have coupons for them are over priced anyway.  How much could it possibly cost to make a box of total?  Of course the company can afford people to use coupons... its not like they are buying real food.

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Old 01-05-2011, 03:30 PM
 
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The lady who got the $623 for $2 something donated the entire shopping trip to the food pantry.  The guy with the 1100 boxes of Total donated it along with the toothbrushes and tons of other food to his church food pantry.  I do get great deals with coupons.  I live an area that doubles and I carefully watch the sale ads.  We don't eat fat, salt and sugar laden foods or high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, etc.  Using coupons has helped me stretch our grocery budget.


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Old 01-05-2011, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wish there were more coupons for natural foods.  Or fruits and veggies!  I need to start going on some websites for brown rice, etc. for coupons.  I used to get the mambo sprouts coupons in the mail but for some reason they stopped coming. 

 

I noticed some of the coupons are for products that we buy the generic version of and it is cheaper. But I am not particular about brands of pasta, sauce, etc.  I just buy what's on sale.  I need to check out some coupon websites although I signed up for one before and got so much spam, it was unreal.  I am trying to avoid that.  maybe I should set up a yahoo account and direct junk mail there.


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Old 01-05-2011, 04:16 PM
 
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Try calling the food companies directly and asking for coupons.  Many will send them to you just for calling.  The trick to couponing is to get coupons for products you use.  Wait for that product to go on sale.  Stock up on that product using your coupons to get a really great deal.  The grocery stores around here double, so I get lots of stuff for free or pennies on the dollar.  Eventually you build your own little stockpile so you don't have to buy things at regular retail price. 


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Old 01-05-2011, 05:05 PM
 
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I watch for coupons on things I wouldn't use, but that have 'overage' that can apply to the rest of the bill. Lots of times, the coupon manufacturer expects you to apply the coupon to a large size, but doesn't specify, so if you can find a small size, then you can get overage/cash back towards the rest of your items. Then I donate the items to the food pantry or the troops box. I've done quite a few trips paying less than $10 for $400-600 in groceries. But yes, it is a lot of work. I would say maybe 10-15 hrs a week is what I spent when I was really working hard on it. I'd use the overage to buy things I really wanted--fresh produce, meat, dairy, etc. But I had to buy things I'd never use! Like buy 3 boxes of Vivarin and I'd get $3.50 'overage' to apply to my groceries. Small package of rolaids and get $2.00 back towards groceries. Or buy Knox unflavored gellatin (a smallll box) and get $3.04 back towards the rest of my groceries. Hotcouponworld.com is where I would find/trade coupons that I wanted to match up to upcoming sales. I have no place that doubles coupons near me at all.


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Old 01-05-2011, 05:29 PM
 
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I watched it too. I think I would violate the UA if I wrote some of my thoughts - I think one of those folks could also be featured on hoarders.

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Old 01-05-2011, 06:24 PM
 
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Where have you found a coupon for Pepsi?  My DH is a big Pepsi drinker and I am a somewhat extreme couponer (not quite as much as most featured on the show), and I've seen VERY few Pepsi coupons.  If I've ever seen them they were a hangtag or peelie or a Target printable coupon.

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Old 01-05-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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I watched it too. I think I would violate the UA if I wrote some of my thoughts - I think one of those folks could also be featured on hoarders.



 

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Old 01-05-2011, 07:55 PM
 
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We don't have cable, so I haven't seen it, but I think that it was fairly extreme made for TV type couponing.


I live in an area with double coupons, there are a few blogs that do all the work for me, and we already get the newspaper delivered, so using coupons makes sense for me.  I probably save an average of $10 a week with them.  There aren't many coupons for fresh stuff, but I can use the savings on the coupon stuff to pay for other stuff.  And, we use mainstream health and beauty stuff (deodorant, shampoo, soap, dish soap, etc), so that is where I find my biggest savings with coupons.  Recently, I got 2 deodorants, a liquid body soap, and a dishwashing detergent for $0.18.  Can't beat that, especially cause I just hate spening money on stuff like that.  I'd much rather it be on beautiful collards, you know?  LOL

 

I also go through spurts and stops with them.  I remember my mom going through phases in the 80s.  Coupons aren't really new.  They work during some circumstances of life, nad they don't with other circumstances.  You do what works for you. 

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Old 01-06-2011, 07:09 AM
 
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I was a pretty hardcore couponer back in my college years and first year of my eldest's life. I subscribed to one of those websites where you pay a small fee for the coupons but it was worth it, cause you could get more than 1, and just for the coupons you used. Some weeks I could save $40. I found I was wasting a lot because I wasn't rotating enough, and then we switched over to either generics, organic or other stores and it just wasn't worth it. I do shop sales and will use a coupon on occassion.

 

I stop at Aldis once a month for certain foods and that really helps our food budget. I agree with the above poster, couponing can make sense at different times. Right now, it just doesn't work for us.


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Old 01-06-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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i am a pretty devout couponer, i don't have 100 of any one product, but i stockpile what my family needs, and if we fall on hard times we would have that safety net to fall back on. That being said, I do find many natural/organic deals when i look for them, they are harder to come by, but it can be done. I have gotten oikos organic yogurt free, seventh generation products, (laundry soap, cleaners, dishsoap for free-.99 each), organic carrots for .38/lb, kashi organic cereal for free- .69/box, frozen organic veggies for .38/bag, skippy natural peanut butter for .49/jar, tom's of maine toothpaste for .59/tube, just to name a few items. I do buy conventional items, but if i can get organic/natural for cheaper than conventional or even free, i obviously choose those products.

 

I haven't been looking for organic natural very much lately, but this weeks scores were babyganics HE laundry detergent for 1.50/bottle, They were on clearance at toysrus for 6.98, and they were buy one get one free and i had 4$ rewards dollars to spend and they ended up being 3.24 for both with tax, not bad for bottles that are regularly priced 9.99 each. I have found a lot of good natural/organic deals at toys r us/babies are us. I also got a tadpoles organic crib baby bedding set on amazon.com for soon to be dd for 75% off, yes i could have gotten a regular set for 46$, but instead I got one made of organic cotton, so I feel like it was a great deal for the type of product.

 

I also bargain shop for pretty much everything, I like the children's place outlet, i get many gifts there I often get clothes there for .99 or less if i have a coupon to use.

 

I just wanted to let everyone know that there are good deals to be had out there that aren't bad for you or the environment. Check out organicgrocerydeals.com and organic deals and coupons (blog), that's where I find a lot of my deals for healthier products.


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Old 01-06-2011, 09:54 AM
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Thanks, ilovemybabybird! You've inspired me to give it another try.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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The judgments make me very sad.  nono02.gif

 

I do often purchase things we don't normally eat because it is free.  I donate most of those items to family or local organizations that want them, but sometimes we will indulge in something that we wouldn't normally have and I'm good with that, too. 

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Old 01-06-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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I watched one of those shows recently and I do not think they were very clear that the person paid for some of her coupons online.  And that amount was not put towards how much she spent on her groceries.

 

I do cut coupons.   It drives me crazy with how few organic coupons or fruits and veggies coupons are out there.  But they do show up now and then.  

 

I am part of a coupon train where I send my unused coupons each week to the next person on the list and the person before me sends me theirs.  

 

I have also been known to buy coupons online when a good natural/organic one is available.

 

I subscribe to various company email lists in order to get more of the organic or natural coupons, for example Biokleen sends email coupons now and then.  

 

I am also on a coupon/shopping website where people post deals and freebies.  

 

I certainly do not save as much as if I was willing to use every brand under the sun, but I do OK.  

 

I also watch Walgreens and Target where you can combine manufacturer and store coupons.  I have been known to get items for pennies or free or even money back.  Granted this is not often but now and then on things like toilet paper, my shampoo, toothpaste, etc.  

 

I actually find my biggest savings comes from watching prices.  I have a price book I keep up to date on my ipod touch.  I have 3 regular food stores I use depending on what I need that week.   This way I know when something is on sale whether it is a deal or not.  I do stockpile a little when I get good deals on the basics that will last.

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Old 01-06-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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I watched it... it was really neat how much they could save but as I posted on facebook, I wouldn't be proud of my savings if THAT is the bulk of my diet.  It was seriously gross.  However I will say how much they DID pay for what they bought was at least in line with what I think its worth.  I wouldn't want to pay 250 bucks for that stuff... 6 dollars seems a lot fairer for what you get.

 

I can only assume that the products that have coupons for them are over priced anyway.  How much could it possibly cost to make a box of total?  Of course the company can afford people to use coupons... its not like they are buying real food.


I doubt that the families that were given boxes of the cereal would agree with you.

Those people put together huge shopping trips for the show.  Their regular shopping trips save a ton, but are not as spectacular and entertaining as what was shown on the show.

The first woman they showed had a truck from the food pantry load up at her house the day after the show.

The Krazy Coupon Lady (the 2nd woman) donated her entire shopping trip.  She also has her own website and her own book.

The guy with the 1100 boxes of Total regularly donates huge amounts to his church food pantry.

 

I wish they had shown all the donating and shown some of the families that benefit from it.  But that would not have made exciting TV.

 


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Old 01-06-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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Mambo Sprouts has all their coupons on line now . Plus I think you can also get a version of them at whole foods.. The mambo sprouts has a great collection of all natural
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:41 AM
 
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I like to coupon too, and yes, I buy LOTS of useless items if there is overage. Tonight I spent $65 and saved $105 in coupons. What did I buy? Lots of holiday Glade crap, using $3 off 3 coupons. They were $.60 each on clearance, so the difference was overage and helped pay for my fresh fruits, veggies, bread, juice, cheese,etc. Plus there is a great Reach Floss $1 off coupon out there, which is overage at my store too. ($.75 each, so $.25 in overage) So I also ended up with lots of floss, which we will use eventually. 

 

I'm not sure what to do with all my Glade candles, etc. I'm not sure if Goodwill will take them or not. 


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Old 01-09-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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I'm not sure what to do with all my Glade candles, etc. I'm not sure if Goodwill will take them or not. 

Donate them to homeless shelters! Last night we had an electrical sub-station go out, and our city and several nearby towns were out of electricity. I volunteer at our women's shelter, and I was thinking that I wasn't sure what they're doing because I don't know that they have enough candles for everyone. It'd be nice to have a stash just in case.
 

ETA: The reason for reading the thread in the first place --- how did you get started with couponing? Just picking up the Sunday paper? I know I can do online coupons, too. How long did it take you to begin seeing savings? I recently set a fairly strict budget for us. We buy groceries every 2 weeks. I guessed on the grocery budget (because we were spending tons on going out to eat). We went over by $43 for the 2-week period, so if I could save $25 a week with coupons, that would be awesome!

 

We are in the same boat as some others in that we don't have any stores that double, triple, etc., and I've never seen coupons for lots that we buy. I hadn't thought about using overages, but that could be a good way to go - and somehow thrilling! I could get DC to help with the process, too.


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Old 01-09-2011, 12:43 PM
 
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I am a mega couponer - I sell the excess non-food to friends and family via yard sales. It works for me.

 

I do donate food when I can, but right now funds have been very tight.


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Old 01-09-2011, 08:12 PM
 
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The people who were featured on the show are part of a group of people (or at least I know a couple of them are) who are trying to donate a lot to food banks for as little out of pocket as possible.  The way they do this is by mega couponing and watching sales.  There's more information about their project on The Penny Experiment: http://www.pennyexperiment.com/

 

I personally think what they're doing is commendable, and I'm sure that those who benefit from the food donations are thankful for their work.


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Old 01-09-2011, 09:04 PM
 
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I watched it... it was really neat how much they could save but as I posted on facebook, I wouldn't be proud of my savings if THAT is the bulk of my diet.  It was seriously gross.  However I will say how much they DID pay for what they bought was at least in line with what I think its worth.  I wouldn't want to pay 250 bucks for that stuff... 6 dollars seems a lot fairer for what you get.

 

I can only assume that the products that have coupons for them are over priced anyway.  How much could it possibly cost to make a box of total?  Of course the company can afford people to use coupons... its not like they are buying real food.


I doubt that the families that were given boxes of the cereal would agree with you.

Those people put together huge shopping trips for the show.  Their regular shopping trips save a ton, but are not as spectacular and entertaining as what was shown on the show.

The first woman they showed had a truck from the food pantry load up at her house the day after the show.

The Krazy Coupon Lady (the 2nd woman) donated her entire shopping trip.  She also has her own website and her own book.

The guy with the 1100 boxes of Total regularly donates huge amounts to his church food pantry.

 

I wish they had shown all the donating and shown some of the families that benefit from it.  But that would not have made exciting TV.

 


Actually, that would have made MUCH better tv for me.  The way they set up the bulk of the show, it was just watching people buying crap in large amounts which makes my heart hurt if they don't NEED to buy that way to live.  Watching a show set up to show the potential of coupons in terms of spending very little while still giving a great deal to people who just need food period would have made me very happy.

 

I knew about the donating side that the show didn't really share other than the guy with the cereal, but I also know there are people who do this JUST because they can save money, whether its healthy or not, whether they'll use it or not and since they didn't make it a point to show that this show is directly benefiting people who need and WILL use everything, it was just a reminder that processed packaged food is the bulk of the American diet, especially for those in need which is ridiculously unfair.  Why should someone who needs help with groceries have to eat the things I wouldn't feed my kid?

 

It wasn't exciting tv.  Watching families who are so grateful for receiving a box of total would be exciting for me because that is wonderful.  It was actually quite uncomfortable watching someone spend nothing on mostly things I wouldn't or can't eat/use and knowing someone else is going to eat/use it, whether it is the couponer or someone they donate to.

 

If I needed help, I'd eat total and pepsi every day if necessary just to be sure I'm getting SOMETHING but it isn't right that for some people, that just might be reality... either because they need the help or because they don't know or care that the bulk of the coupon foods you can buy just aren't a good foundation to a diet.

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Old 01-09-2011, 09:43 PM
 
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I watched it... it was really neat how much they could save but as I posted on facebook, I wouldn't be proud of my savings if THAT is the bulk of my diet.  It was seriously gross.  However I will say how much they DID pay for what they bought was at least in line with what I think its worth.  I wouldn't want to pay 250 bucks for that stuff... 6 dollars seems a lot fairer for what you get.

 

I can only assume that the products that have coupons for them are over priced anyway.  How much could it possibly cost to make a box of total?  Of course the company can afford people to use coupons... its not like they are buying real food.


I doubt that the families that were given boxes of the cereal would agree with you.

Those people put together huge shopping trips for the show.  Their regular shopping trips save a ton, but are not as spectacular and entertaining as what was shown on the show.

The first woman they showed had a truck from the food pantry load up at her house the day after the show.

The Krazy Coupon Lady (the 2nd woman) donated her entire shopping trip.  She also has her own website and her own book.

The guy with the 1100 boxes of Total regularly donates huge amounts to his church food pantry.

 

I wish they had shown all the donating and shown some of the families that benefit from it.  But that would not have made exciting TV.

 


Actually, that would have made MUCH better tv for me.  The way they set up the bulk of the show, it was just watching people buying crap in large amounts which makes my heart hurt if they don't NEED to buy that way to live.  Watching a show set up to show the potential of coupons in terms of spending very little while still giving a great deal to people who just need food period would have made me very happy.

 

I knew about the donating side that the show didn't really share other than the guy with the cereal, but I also know there are people who do this JUST because they can save money, whether its healthy or not, whether they'll use it or not and since they didn't make it a point to show that this show is directly benefiting people who need and WILL use everything, it was just a reminder that processed packaged food is the bulk of the American diet, especially for those in need which is ridiculously unfair.  Why should someone who needs help with groceries have to eat the things I wouldn't feed my kid?

 

It wasn't exciting tv.  Watching families who are so grateful for receiving a box of total would be exciting for me because that is wonderful.  It was actually quite uncomfortable watching someone spend nothing on mostly things I wouldn't or can't eat/use and knowing someone else is going to eat/use it, whether it is the couponer or someone they donate to.

 

If I needed help, I'd eat total and pepsi every day if necessary just to be sure I'm getting SOMETHING but it isn't right that for some people, that just might be reality... either because they need the help or because they don't know or care that the bulk of the coupon foods you can buy just aren't a good foundation to a diet.



agreed. this stuff is not *food*... yes you will survive but what cost? now i just learned the fact that you can use food "stamps" at the farmers market- thumb.gif


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Old 01-10-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by treeoflife3 View Post

I watched it... it was really neat how much they could save but as I posted on facebook, I wouldn't be proud of my savings if THAT is the bulk of my diet.  It was seriously gross.  However I will say how much they DID pay for what they bought was at least in line with what I think its worth.  I wouldn't want to pay 250 bucks for that stuff... 6 dollars seems a lot fairer for what you get.

 

I can only assume that the products that have coupons for them are over priced anyway.  How much could it possibly cost to make a box of total?  Of course the company can afford people to use coupons... its not like they are buying real food.


I doubt that the families that were given boxes of the cereal would agree with you.

Those people put together huge shopping trips for the show.  Their regular shopping trips save a ton, but are not as spectacular and entertaining as what was shown on the show.

The first woman they showed had a truck from the food pantry load up at her house the day after the show.

The Krazy Coupon Lady (the 2nd woman) donated her entire shopping trip.  She also has her own website and her own book.

The guy with the 1100 boxes of Total regularly donates huge amounts to his church food pantry.

 

I wish they had shown all the donating and shown some of the families that benefit from it.  But that would not have made exciting TV.

 


Actually, that would have made MUCH better tv for me.  The way they set up the bulk of the show, it was just watching people buying crap in large amounts which makes my heart hurt if they don't NEED to buy that way to live.  Watching a show set up to show the potential of coupons in terms of spending very little while still giving a great deal to people who just need food period would have made me very happy.

 

I knew about the donating side that the show didn't really share other than the guy with the cereal, but I also know there are people who do this JUST because they can save money, whether its healthy or not, whether they'll use it or not and since they didn't make it a point to show that this show is directly benefiting people who need and WILL use everything, it was just a reminder that processed packaged food is the bulk of the American diet, especially for those in need which is ridiculously unfair.  Why should someone who needs help with groceries have to eat the things I wouldn't feed my kid?

 

It wasn't exciting tv.  Watching families who are so grateful for receiving a box of total would be exciting for me because that is wonderful.  It was actually quite uncomfortable watching someone spend nothing on mostly things I wouldn't or can't eat/use and knowing someone else is going to eat/use it, whether it is the couponer or someone they donate to.

 

If I needed help, I'd eat total and pepsi every day if necessary just to be sure I'm getting SOMETHING but it isn't right that for some people, that just might be reality... either because they need the help or because they don't know or care that the bulk of the coupon foods you can buy just aren't a good foundation to a diet.


That would have made a GREAT show for you or me.  I tuned in because I thought it was going to be more of a practical show and that I could learn a bit about making my grocery $$ stretch further.  However most of the American public are not interested in something as mundane as that.  Showing these ridiculously huge shopping trips and making people look like they are unbalanced is going to get better ratings then a simple show how using coupons on a less extreme level can help stretch your budget.  It is just reality whether we like it or not.

 

Of course there are people out there that will buy anything if it is cheap or free.  Couponing is like anything else- there will be people that take it to excess. 

 

Of course, people would be better off eating fresh, non-processed, prepackaged food!  I am fortunate that our family has the money to buy lots of wonderful food and that I am well versed in healthy eating, gardening and cooing so that I can provide healthy meals for my family.  It is unfortunate realty that many people do not cook and their diets consist of fast food and processed food.  Unfortunately food pantries are not always stocked with fresh organic foods.  They are stocked with donations. 

The people on that show donated because they want to help people.  It wasn't part of some evil plot to force people with financial problems to eat processed foods. 

 

 I certainly am not advocating living on processed crap and doing anything to excess or sensationalist tv shows.  I just get irritated when people start bashing other people that are doing their best to help other people in need. 


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Old 01-10-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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agreed. this stuff is not *food*... yes you will survive but what cost? now i just learned the fact that you can use food "stamps" at the farmers market- thumb.gif



I am not disagreeing with you.  I just don't think that people should be bashed for trying to help other people.  I think the sad state of the typical American diet is another topic all together.


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Old 01-10-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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One other thing to keep in mind is that these huge trips were specifically set up just for the show.  At least two of the trips were to Kroger stores.  The shoppers were allowed to double all the coupons they have but most Kroger stores have a limit on both the number of coupons you can double AND the number of the same coupon you can use.  At all the Krogers in my area, they will only double two of the same coupon and you can only use a total of six of the same kind of coupon in a single transaction.  So, in order for these folks to make these trips with that many of the same coupon (200 boxes of pasta? ) they would have had to have had special permission from the store, via the show. 

 

And the fact that so much of what they bought was crap (really 140 candy bars?) was just crazy to me.  The only time I could possibly imagine even considering buying that much candy, even if it's free, is for Halloween, to give out...maybe.  (not this year, I have stickers and fake tattoos already bought on clearance to give out this coming Halloween.)  There's plenty of deals for stuff that's not crappy food.  I have several boxes of whole grain pasta up in my pantry that I got for free using coupons and sales.  I am going to CVS today to pick up dishwasher detergent that I will get for free too.  And, I am getting free pens at Walgreens-they are on sale for 1.99 and BIC has a coupon online for $2 off. 

 

So, yeah, the show was extreme, but with the word extreme right in the title I wouldn't expect anything else.  Just know that like most reality shows it was an extreme example of a particular group, most couponers aren't like that at all. 

 

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Old 02-16-2011, 01:49 AM
 
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See, I'm not going to judge what they want to donate.  And I'll admit, that I buy organic for my family, but will coupon for free stuff to donate. I don't donate organic stuff unless I get it in bulk, which normally I don't.  My family is on a tight budget but still want to help. 

 

While the "average" American may eat crappy, I'm not going to tell someone what to eat. I've donated boxes and boxes of fruity Cheerios (got them for $.10 a box) and to the average Mothering.com parent, that cereal is high in sugar (true) but to someone who just NEEDS food, it also has vitamins and fiber and fills their stomach so they can function. 


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Old 02-16-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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fascinating discussion.  I'm impressed by how much some people pay attention at the grocery store, but I can't figure out how the average shopping trip (updating price books, searching out certain brands and calculating what will get you the most for your money) doesn't take 8 hours?  I have started couponing a little though... but I've run into a similar situation as many people - most things I buy are not mainstream, so there aren't tons of coupons available... and the rest is fresh, for which there doesn't appear to be coupons often, either...

 

I LOOOOOOVE that people use extreme couponing as a way to donate, though.  I heard about that a couple weeks ago and thought it was just awesome.


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