HOLLYWOOD—Finding ways to save money in a difficult economy is not an easy task, but one glimpse of TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” will make you think twice before heading to the supermarket. The reality series follows families as they attempt to save as much money possible when heading to purchase groceries for home. With all due respect, I’ve always been inclined to use coupons whenever I head to the market; any way I can save a few bucks, I’m willing to do it. Anyone who’s been skeptical about using coupons will think twice after watching.
For starters, extreme couponing is a full-time job. It’s not something that just happens overnight; it involves patience, strategy and drive. The goal is not just to save a few dollars, it’s to get the biggest bang for your buck; the more things you get for free the better. These diehards have their own rooms dedicated to storing coupons that have been clipped, color coded, organized by price, type of food and more. It is easy for me to get confused when just carrying more than 10 coupons, so just imagine if you have a few hundred to lug around.
Imagine traveling to the market and seeing someone clean the shelves clean picking up a particular product that is on sale and the coupon that they have allows them to double the amount they would normally save. Sounds fantastic, right? Well it is, especially when you have individuals willing to drive 30 miles to get an ad to price match an item. When the viewer is allowed to get an inside look at all the groceries that these coupon superstars have stored in their homes or pantry rooms, it’s amazing. Dry goods last quite some time, then you have items like soap and laundry detergent which you can never have too much of.
Take superstars like Carla, who delivers papers in her hometown to collect as many coupons as possible. There’s also Fatima who uses coupons as a way to save money to help her family move. Another interesting aspect about the reality hit is that quite a few of these coupon titans are purchasing groceries in abundance to help others, charities, non-profit groups and neighbors. The intense portion of each episode arrives when they check-out at the register. The price continues to climb until the order stops. The average family spends $100-$200 a week at the supermarket, and that’s not including the use of coupons.
These reality superstars can spend anywhere from $500-$1000 in a single trip, before the coupons are used. Once the couponing begins, the totals radically shrink to amounts that would make many of us excited as we imagine stocking the fridge and cabinets without exhausting our budget. Who wouldn’t be ecstatic after seeing a $1000 bill shrink all the way down to around $50 after coupons? I know I would be. It makes viewers think twice before tossing those coupons from the Sunday circular.
“Extreme Couponing” is that show that makes going to the supermarket look like fun. In addition, to providing showing individuals provide food for their families, it highlights the importance of saving money. With an economy that has been extremely tough on Americans for the past several years, this series will make you giggle on the inside. “Extreme Couponing” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on TLC.