“Do you have any coupons you would like to use today?” – Any supermarket cashier.

I just watched two episodes of Extreme Couponing, the show produced by TLC, courtesy of YouTube, and I was “extremely” surprised how passionate the  grocery shoppers were in their craft.

The episode I recently watched featured twin sisters Tai and Tarin of Chicago, who spent over $385 bucks pre coupons and ended up paying a grand total of under $14. A savings of over 90% percent. Amazing. That is after the cashier scanned over 80 coupons and 2 gift cards. (Source TLC network)

Extreme couponer Nathan Engels of Kentucky showed off his talents by displaying his enthusiasm and diligence organizing coupons and matching them up with upcoming sales. He began cutting coupons with their mom in the case of Tai and Tarin compared to who also learned couponing from his Mom, a veteran couponer of 30 years. Nathan whose accomplishments include stockpiling over 1,000 free tubes of toothpaste weighing over 400 pounds and costing just the sales tax.  He saved over $800 dollars utilizing coupons and gift cards, disbursing the food and goods to veterans overseas, which included 75 cans of canned pasta, 50 boxes dishwashing detergent, 60 boxes of popcorns.

We can learn a lot from extreme couponers. First off, they make it an art to process coupons. Second are also extreme organizers and well planned in advance days before and stick to the plan, not buying anything that they cannot get a deal.  According to the blog blog.accessdevelopment.com, retailers process over 300 billion coupons per year. However a little more than one percent are processed a total of close to $4 billion. If we think about it just about every person in the US can be given at least one coupon.

I noticed from another episode that couponing is a derived from personal hardships. A loss of job from the bread winner. Hard times breaks out the scissors from the kitchen drawer.

Why the gap?

It can be do to a lot of factors.

  1. People may feel a sense of shame and or embarrassment cutting and using coupons and don’t want to be labeled as cheap or poor.
  2. People are not unaware of the immense resources to seek out coupons.
  3. With the sharp decrease in newspaper readership less people purchase the Sunday paper, which is typically filled with over hundreds of dollars of coupons.
  4. Families don’t have time so they grab a coupon or two off products or just adhere to standard deals without using coupons, i.e. Buy One Get One (BOGO) or 2 for x amount.
  5. Supermarkets can limit amount of
  6. People may perceive extreme couponers, who stockpile food and end up wasting it compared to apartment dwellers who don’t have enough shelf space to store food and health and beauty products.

I think using coupons is a good thing for retailers. The coupon is a marketing tool for consumers to take action and purchase their product, — brand awareness.

Everybody likes a deal and to save money at the supermarket. Granted it hurts the supermarkets bottom line in terms of revenue, but it supports families in need.

The other thing I noticed that the extreme couponers approach their craft is to shop in early morning, because the shelves are filled.

Extreme couponers should be admired. Despite working in a grocery store stocking shelves part-time I know how challenging it is to keep the shelves filled. It is challenging and grocery clerks are shocked when a shelf that is completely filled and merchandised beautifully becomes bare displaying just a bare metal shelf.

Families in general spend on average about $500 to $1000 per month on groceries. That’s a lot. Wonder what would happen if I cut a couple extra coupons per week. How much can I save? How much can I get for free?

Better get my Sunday paper.

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