Coupons are great for saving money and the recession has spiked their popularity. Reuters reports that American consumers’ use of coupons has risen by 27 percent. But can the recent trend of couponing be a bit too extreme? Some people believe so. The Learning Channel (TLC) has a hit reality show, Extreme Couponing, which became a recent pop culture phenomenon. It features women (and a few men) who take unbelievable measures to find a great deal. They dumpster dive for coupons, spend hours at the register and create stockpiles that take up entire rooms in their homes. Unfortunately for TLC, blogs dedicated to frugal shopping say that the show has misled millions of viewers.
It’s practically impossible for other shoppers to get the same deals. The Southern Savers blog reports that some of the stores presented on the show knowingly disregard their own coupon policies so the featured shopper can get a dramatic deal, which is great publicity. Jill Cataldo, a coupon enthusiast, reports that a woman committed coupon fraud on the show. Stores like Target and Walmart altered their policies in response to extreme couponing.
Extreme Couponing doesn’t have to be a complicated hobby that takes over your life and home. If you want to save money by implementing coupons into your shopping trips, consider the tips listed below.
- Visit blogs and coupon sites. These online communities can teach you the coupon terms you’ll need to know and offer support from fellow coupon shoppers.
- Go on the hunt. There are coupons for almost everything and you can find them almost everywhere, from newspapers to websites. If you need certain coupons consider trading with friends.
- Store policies. Start small; focus on one store. Learn its coupon policies so you won’t have any surprises at the register. Look for double coupon days; verify that store coupons can be used on top of manufacturer discounts.
- Know you sale trends. Most of the store products will go on sale every six weeks (in the south) or ten weeks (in the north). It’s best to use your coupons during this time, buying enough products to last you until the next sale.
- Patience. Dedicating two hours or less a week to couponing can make a difference.