Just curious. I’ve been couponing for 4 months and have learned a lot. Just wondering if there’s more about this to learn. I don’t get $1,000 worth of groceries for $40 like on TLC’s Extreme Couponing show, but I have saved $800 in four months and have gotten many free products. Are the results of the show possible here in Michigan, or is it just a lot of drama?
On television, anything is possible. In real life? Well, you might not want to try it at your store.
The basic money-saving principles are the same. Match sales with coupons. Stack store and manufacturer discounts. Stock up on the best deals.
But if you think your cashier and all the customers behind you in line will be all smiles and encouragement as you present a stack of hundreds of coupons at the register, you’re bound to be sorely disappointed. In fact, you’re likely to freeze up the register.
The show can seem somewhat misleading – but remember that it’s not a DIY try-this-at-home show. Instead TLC’s Extreme Couponing show is “for entertainment purposes only.” Because of the coupon policies here in Michigan, you can’t expect to save money like that. Your store wouldn’t allow you to redeem 100 identical coupons. And your normal shopping trips likely include basic staples like milk, produce and meat – and theirs don’t.
What don’t you see? The final tally and savings percentage shown fails to consider some very important details:
The volume of coupons required for such a trip comes at a cost – both of personal time and money. Those shoppers featured on EC spent solid DAYS preparing a single grocery shopping trip; that is time that could have been invested in other things. They also generally either order coupons from a clipping service or purchase mass amounts of Sunday newspapers – and 100 copies of anything costs money. For example, one EC show member admitted to purchasing 200 papers per week for the coupons; $2 x 200 papers = $400. Those costs are certainly not mentioned in the final tally.
Not only that, but in the past a number of shoppers have used misused coupons in a number of ways – counterfeit free item coupons purchased online, using coupons on items the coupon was not intended for, etc. You can read more in the Coupon Information Center’s information about TLC’s Extreme Couponing.
Your Michigan grocery stores will limit you to 2 or 3 identical coupons in your order; sometimes even less. Not all stores will double. Policies vary greatly, even by regions within the state.
There’s good and bad with everything.
The good? Extreme Couponing has enlightened shoppers to realize that they don’t need to pay full price for groceries – coupons CAN be useful in lowering a budget. People who need to save have been able to start renovating their grocery spending and working their way out of debt.
The bad? Extreme Couponing encourages unreasonable practices like coupon misuse, shelf-clearing, overbuying and hoarding. Stores and manufacturers now tend to view ANY couponer as those featured on the show, looking for ways to abuse the system. Store coupon policies and manufacturer coupon fine print have become more strict – and with cashiers on high alert for coupon fraud, honest coupon-users tend to suffer, being falsely accused of illegal methods when redeeming coupons in the store.
Yes, you can SAVE using coupons in Michigan, but it’s not free groceries all the time. Stick around Bargains to Bounty and I’ll show you REALISTIC COUPONING: how to stretch your money, including the best deals at area stores with coupons each week.