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"Extreme Couponing" on TLC - Why is This Show So Addicting?
Its almost like watching someone show you the secrets to winning a small lottery. The Learning Channel's show, "Extreme Couponing," is absolutely addicting. I first heard about this show from my 15 year old son. He was channel surfing one day and landed upon it. Now he records it and watches it every week.
I am fascinated by the process the couponers use. I love seeing the organizational systems that the individuals featured on the show use to save so much money on groceries, toiletries, cleaning products, paper products and makeup. There is something exciting about watching people buy $600 worth of groceries for $5.
What strikes me about this show is just how many hours the extreme couponers put into couponing. It is basically a full time job. One woman plans out her couponing activities in her daily planner, and estimates that she spends about 60 hours a week at it. So exactly how much money do these people make per hour? Would it be more cost effective for them to work a part-time job instead?
The other thing that I find interesting is that this process requires couponers to collect many, many coupon inserts. One lady on the show said that she spends $2,000 a year on newspapers, in order to accumulate enough coupons to make the process work for her. Another lady said that she actually dumpster dives for discarded newspaper inserts to collect additional coupons. Others collect coupons from neighbors, family, friends, or trade for them at coupon exchanges.
Each of the people featured on the show have an area in their home where they literally stockpile the food and supplies that they accumulate. One man (a veteran who served in Iraq) and his wife donate 85% of what they accumulate to various charities, including sending care packages oversees to those still serving our country in the Middle East. Everything they donate they are able to get for free by using coupons. My questions to all of the other couponers are, how can you possibly use all of the things you stockpile before they go bad or pass their expiration date? And do you ever buy fruits and vegetables, since there generally aren't coupons for fresh produce?
The one characteristic that all of the extreme couponers have in common is amazing organizational skills. I think that's the other appealing thing about this show. I view the show hoping to gain organizational ability through osmosis, just by watching these intensely organized people.
If you haven't seen, "Extreme Couponing," find it on TLC. Many of the tricks the couponers use are helpful, and can be adapted to normal life. You can learn how to use their systems to save money for yourself. The key to extreme savings seems to be combining manufacturers coupons with store sales. Even though all of the couponers share similar stories, I still find it interesting to watch each and every one of them. No matter what scale you do it on, happy couponing!