Friday, May 20, 2011

Sweet and Sour Tiffany: Extreme Couponing

Sweet SourA huge trend in the housewife/mommy circuit right now is the concept of extreme couponing.  It used to be ladies were just sharing their coupons among friends, but now there are how to books and seminars devoted to how you can save thousands of dollars a year by couponing and watching deals in the sale ads.  Heck, there is even a television show devoted to extreme couponing.  So, I can think of no better topic to discuss for another Sweet and Sour installment.

The Sweet

No one will argue that today's economy is tough.  High unemployment rates, ballooning costs of living, and stagnant salaries all mean we should be trying to get more for our money.  So, it only makes sense that some people will do whatever it takes to make it in tough times.  If that means scouring newspapers and the internet for coupons, so be it.  It could mean the difference between the water staying on or the lights getting shut off.  So I totally get it.

A lot of people have a "go big or go home" attitude, and for them, saving 35 cents on toothpaste and 75 cents on bread is just not enough.  I think for people who are extreme at anything, it involves a rush.  Who would not feel like a total champ knowing they got $1000 worth of groceries for $100?  If people get high from that feeling, as weird as I may find it, then that is a whole lot better, physically at least, than drugs and alcohol.

The Sour

I think, in reality, extreme couponing is not what it appears.  To me, I see a lot of people getting GREAT deals on a bunch of crap they do not need.  Who cares if you can get 40 boxes of diapers for a dollar if you don't have kids, and will never have kids?  Who cares if you can get condiments for pennies if no one in your household uses them?  I often think that these extreme couponers are shopaholics who use the money they are "saving" to justify the amount of totally useless crap they buy.

And while the coupons are saving them money at the checkout lines, they are costing them in other ways.  I have heard that these couponers spend up to 8 hours preparing for the shopping trip, and up to another 4 doing the actual shopping.  Plus the costs of buying the magazines/newspapers to get the coupons, or the paper and ink to print the online coupons.  WHAT A WASTE!

In short, I am sure coupons are valuable to some people, but I personally cannot justify it.  Why waste hours trying to save money, when that time with your family could be priceless.  And if you are buying things you do not need, are you really saving at all?  I know some people do it, and later donate the items to get a tax break or credit.  Meh, I would rather save myself the hassle, go to Aldi's or SuperWalmart, and spend my time enjoying life.

So that being said, if the Sweet and Sour didn't completely fill you up, move along to the fortune cookie.