Last night I watched the premiere of this season's Extreme Couponing (as well as a few reruns) on TLC, and boy was my mind blown. I knew there were coupon addicts around, but not to that extent.
J'aime Kirlew, a mother of three, spent $103 on $1,750 worth of groceries! It's pretty amazing how she did that just by using coupons. These couponers will bring in over a 1,000 or even 2,000 coupons, which the poor clerk will swipe, swipe, and swipe . . . until it's down to about more than a 90 percent savings off the retail price.
The savings are incredible, but I can't help wondering if some of these people are going too far. They spend hours poring over and clipping coupons, and some of them seem to dedicate their lives to it. One woman on a previous episode spends two hours daily taking a seven-mile walk through the neighborhood to pick up coupons from friends and family. When something seems to consume so much of your life, I'm wondering if it's healthy. Read on to find out if your coupon habit has crossed the line into obsession.
- You get a high at the cashier. When their coupons are being swiped and they learn what their total savings is, some of them have pretty extreme reactions. One lady did a little dance, and others claim that their heart was racing. It almost seems like a heady rush — their eyes seem a little too bright and the couponers start talking rapidly.
- You spend more than a handful of hours a week on coupons. Time is money, and I can see how it's easier for stay-at-home parents to take up this extreme habit, but if you're working a full-time job, it's going to be tough.
- It's all you talk about. Some couponers on the show admit that this thrifty habit consumes their lives and it's all they talk about. I saw one woman go up to strangers in grocery stores to tell them how to save.
- Your house is crammed with groceries that you won't be using for years. This lady dumped about 70 bottles of mustard into her cart, after collecting 70 coupons for the mustard from 70 papers. I know these are big savings, but having that kind of clutter around is just distracting.
Personally, I think these examples are too extreme for me, and I can't imagine how much clutter these stockpiles of groceries will add to my home. I would love to have these discounts, but don't know if I can sustain this type of lifestyle. How about you — will you be able to be an extreme couponer?
Photo courtesy of TLC