Thursday, April 21, 2011
Like so many of you, the stewardship of my family's budget is one of my primary responsibilities. I take great care to watch the pennies, along with the dollars that are spent each month. I purpose each time I shop to purchase items that are necessary, well-made and at the best possible price.
There is a new show on TLC called "Extreme Couponing"....you can guess that this is a show about people using coupons to receive enormous discounts when they shop. What you might not know is that this show has stirred up a great amount of controversy!
I do use coupons (and discounts), not only for groceries, but for clothing, hardware, gardening, entertainment and restaurants. But as this show is about extreme grocery shopping, I will keep my thoughts focused in that direction.
In recent years, my grocery store (King Soopers) sends me coupons based on my shopping. Therefore, I now receive coupons for things like flour, meat, cheese and even milk. In addition, I use the inserts in the paper along with "Catalinas" (those are the coupons printed at the register when you check out) and my rewards card. I average savings between 20 and 68 percent. I also buy some of our groceries at Costco and will occasionally take advantage of a sale and in-store coupons at SuperTarget.
As you may know from my series Providing for the Pantry, I keep a Winter Menu and Summer Menu., as I have done this for years, I could shop for my pantry blindfolded! By having a menu plan I can accurately predict just how many jars, boxes, ounces or pounds of any given item I might need for each season or the entire year. Because I shop from my pantry first, I can use the bulk of my monthly grocery budget to stock-up and buy fresh produce and milk.
I don't shop just to shop. I don't use a coupon just because I have one for items I don't need.
With all of that said, I can honestly say that I just don't care for this show. It seems to me that this is a show about obsessive (rationalized because they are "saving" money) shopping and compulsive (albeit organized) hoarding. There, I said it.
One woman bought 62 bottles of mustard, one 112 bottles of overnight pain relievers, one gal had a 2 year supply of disposable diapers....she did not even have children....I could go on and on. A few of the participants have mentioned that they donate to food banks, local churches and our troops. But even that noble act pales in comparison with the hoards (these folks have gone way beyond a stock pantry, trust me) of food, toiletries and sundry items that are stocked in these homes.
Participants are proud that their homes resemble mini-marts and delight in showing the audience shelves filled to over-flowing in basements, garages, and additions built onto their houses just for their hoard(are you kidding me?). One lady has 1400 rolls of toilet paper stuffed under her toddler's bed and a tower of canned goods in her children's playroom. Again, I could go on ad nauseam.
There is now an investigation underway against one participant for fraudulent coupon use and retailers are already changing their attitudes and policies towards coupons and discounts. What a shame that a few bad examples will now spoil a frugal necessity for the rest of us.
It is disappointing that TLC didn't use this opportunity to create a show that was about practical budgeting, menu planning and coupon practices that would be a blessing to many of us in these difficult financial times. Instead they created a show about nothing except gluttonous consumerism.
I don't think it is a coincidence that this shows airs along with "Hoarding, Buried Alive".
What are your thoughts on this show?
Honey Hill Farm