While flicking through channels on a day home sick, I came across a reality show called Extreme Couponing. It's pretty amazing; the people there put an insane amount of time in collecting and organizing coupons to the point they can leave a store with over $1,000 worth of groceries for $10. Spare bedrooms in the house are stockpiled with enough goods to survive for decades.
The prep work for such an outing takes as much time as a full-time job; some pay a fortune a year in newspaper subscriptions; some have multiple computers and printers since coupons have limits as to how many can be printed per device; some scour the neighborhoods for unoccupied houses with abandoned papers on their driveways; others dumpster dive for discarded circulars.
And the stuff they buy! Vats of cream cheese, bottles of soda, boxes of cake mix, bags of candy, cartons of frozen dinners—all processed food that has an indefinite shelf life. For the personal care products, like twenty tubes of toothpaste—is all that toothpaste to combat the rotting teeth from such a diet?
No one seems to consider the expenses to get to the coupons itself. Gas to troll for recycling bins; newspaper subscriptions; numerous computers; hours and hours of time that could be earning money instead—and they shouldn't even be eating this junk. Never mind the shot nerves when they get to the register, praying that they calculated everything correctly.
Nothing that they buy for nothing seem to be real necessities. They kill themselves, spend a fortune, when they could eat less and healthier. The produce aisle tends not to have coupons, but that's where one should really do all their shopping.
These women turned their couponing fetish into a business.
Yoder and Knight are part of a growing community of people for whom coupons are a significant part of making ends meet. After declining for nearly a decade, coupon use has increased almost 35 percent since 2008 . . . Last year, more than 3.5 billion coupons for consumer packaged goods were redeemed, an increase of 6.1 percent over 2010.With seven children to feed and her husband out of work, Cathy Yoder took her clipping savvy and supports her family with it, in more ways than one. The article cites her stockpiling of tuna, canned veggies, and milk, certainly nutritious items, mollifying my previous stockpiling horror.
If you want to slash your grocery bills, you must overhaul your nonapproach to shopping. Forget mindlessly rolling down the aisles, dropping items in the cart for reasons of brand recognition or this or that gustatory whim. You must become strategic, unyielding and impervious to marketing appeals. You must buy only what’s on sale — the same goes for unprocessed items, like vegetables and meat — preferably timing your coupon use to the sales and planning meals around what’s in your freezer or pantry. This is called “shopping your stockpile.”Yoder is able to slash a $1,000 monthly food bill down to $400, and she gives classes on how to go about it. She can't seem to get her husband to shop with coupons, though. Men, apparently, don't coupon.