Extreme Couponing: my new favourite TV programme

Miss Thrifty15 May 8, 2011

Extreme Couponing is an American show, which follows a selection of coupon queens as they go about their supermarket shopping. I suspect that at this point, if you are a UK reader you are scratching your head and wondering how on earth this dull-sounding series ever got commissioned.

Well, this clip should provide a clue…

Here in the UK, the art of “couponing” amounts to snipping the occasional voucher out of Family Circle magazine for 10p off your next box of Rice Krispies. In the USA, it’s a different mindset. When we lived in the USA, my first inkling of this was when we walked into Safeway and were confused to find that every item on the shelves had two prices: one “full price” and one slightly cheaper price for “Safeway club members”. Can you imagine if UK Safeway (now Morrisons) tried that? There would be blood in the aisles.

There are a lot more coupons in the USA. There are special coupon clubs, subscription-only coupon websites and, in effect, a shoppers’ subculture dedicated to collecting as many coupons as possible and paying as little for groceries as possible. It requires a lot of time and effort, but play your coupons right and you can pay next to nothing. It helps that the coupons can offer relatively generous discounts and, in many cases, stores will match the coupons printed by their competitors.

This lady has a basement that resembles a mini-mart.

So does this man. I did wonder if he had a hoarding problem – who needs 1,500 sticks of deodorant? – but according to the YouTube comments he gives a lot away to food banks.

I don’t think that I could ever be an Extreme Couponer: pokey UK houses just don’t have the storage capacity for all that stuff, and the booty seems to include a lot of junk food and boxes of stuff that we would never use up. Extreme Couponing is a gripping watch, but I still haven’t worked out if I love it, or if it’s just plain scary.

I mean, I admire this lady’s organisational skills, but I fear for her marriage…

Image credit: dmdonahoo.

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15 Responses to “Extreme Couponing: my new favourite TV programme

Johnny Debt says:

I have to say that I am hooked on it too!!

As you say the hoarding side is a bit of a problem, for some items I do not see the sense in hoarding it. However all the items to have a resale value – therefore you could in theory make money from a weekly shop.

May 9, 2011 at 7:57 am

Wowzers it really is a completely different mindset. I guess the problem is really that us Brits tend to shop in a slightly different way. We don’t tend to go bulk on quite the same scale, which is in part due to the fact we don’t have sufficient storage space and we tend to opt for smaller cars.

Almost certainly some lessons to be learnt but I’m with you in fearing for that woman’s marriage!

May 9, 2011 at 10:10 am

Ms Simone Black says:

This programme was amazing, i would coupon shop,wish i lived there.

May 9, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Joanna Watson says:

Is this in tv in the uk? I love it! I wish we did couponing here – although there does seem to be a line at some point you don’t need to shop anymore! There is no need to buy it surely if you have 100 at home already!

May 9, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Amazing stuff! I used to be a bit of an avid couponer when my kids were younger – but that was in the days when the supermarkets took any coupon, regardless of whether you were picking up the item or not! They’ve tightened their own belts since then! My efforts pale into insignificance in the face of these coupon pros though (thankfully, it has to be said)! You’re right that it’s a big thing in the US though, at all levels – anyone remember the hilarious episode of the Sopranos where Paulie incongruously sat clipping coupons? Marvellous!

May 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Sophie Page says:

I love this, I’m completely addicted and jealous that we don’t have this as much in the UK. I would definitely be up for this if I wasn’t able to earn the same amount they save in a full time job. It’s rather annoying that in the UK we don’t have anything anywhere near this in vouchers and coupon option.

May 15, 2011 at 11:33 pm

JaseP says:

That is amazing – a far cry from the UK where coupons tend to come with many more restrictions!

(It does, however, seem when you have more than a life time’s worth of a product it is more obsessive behaviour than money saving)

May 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Elsmie says:

Has it occurred to them to stop shopping altogether while they are going through their stash?

June 29, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Laura Thomas says:

This is awesome, but would be a shame if there were food items that were thrown because they reach their use by dates.. I absolutely love the idea of the fact that one of them donates this food to the food banks!! If only coupons were that big here!! I’d be hooked!!

August 10, 2011 at 8:53 am

Countess kitty von normal says:

I am an American who is married and living in Britian I love couponing and now I want to coupon here in England where can I get my coupons as there aren’t circulars like in USA any tips and advice is much welcome as we want to have a nest egg as my husbands wage varies and we want to make a nest egg . Thank you in advance for all tips and advance .

August 26, 2011 at 12:02 am

Miss Thrifty says:

@Kitty – As I mention in the post, there isn’t a “couponing culture” here in the UK like there is in the States. You can get coupons – they come in magazines, on the sides of packets etc. – but you really have to search them out.

Also, a lot of the supermarkets produce their own glossy freesheets, listing all the offers and limited time discounts. Sometimes you’ll get these through the door; other times, you can pick them up at the supermarket checkout.

The deals aren’t as good as though, relatively speaking. There is no way that you would be able to use coupons to clean up at the supermarket & fill up your basement – sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

August 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm

sarah says:

i have only seen the program once two nites ago, and was shocked at how much these people save
if we had coupons like that here in the uk i think i wud become an extreme couponer too.
if we did couponong here and had too much i wud give it away to friends, family and donate to charitys of developing countries.

August 30, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Tracy Gladman says:

I saw this programme for the first time last night and was amazed. I use coupons at the moment but not to this scale. I would love to be able to coupon and get the discounts they do! I admire them but at the same time i am slightly concerned at the hoards of products. For instance in last night’s episode a woman had 1o0 handsoaps but as they were on offer bought 100 more! She also had 8 freezers in her basement full of food!

September 12, 2011 at 7:35 am

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