So this is the second week of new episodes of "TLC's Extreme Couponing" and there are some topics that they brought up that I feel the need of discussing. Is shelf clearing acceptable? How many transactions for one actual purchase is too many? How do they get that many coupons, and are they actually saving any money?
Is shelf clearing acceptable?
So this is one topic that is controversial amongst couponers. Many feel that it's okay...that if they get there first they can "buy" as many of one item as they want. The rest of us don't agree. I believe that there should be some sort of limit on how many of one item can be purchased by one person/family/group. Other shoppers (couponers and non-couponers) need to buy groceries as well...and if others are shelf clearing than those who actually need one or two of an item are being screwed out of groceries. I mean how many ketchup bottles does one person really need?!
How many transactions for one actual purchase is too many?
Now in one of the new episodes tonight it showed one lady with 32 transactions! She was at the grocery store for 10 hours. Now I personally will do 2 transactions at Walgreens on a normal week and occasionally 3. The items I am buying are limited to what I actually need or can survive on until the next great sale. Like cereal. I may buy 4 boxes of cereal and that may last us 3-4 weeks...so sometime in that time frame I will "stock-up" on more, but never to the extreme point of needing to clear out my guestbedroom to use it as my own personal grocery store.
How do they get that many coupons, and are they actually saving any money?
Okay, so you may wonder how do they get all of those coupons? Well some will buy multiple newspapers, or get coupons from neighbors, friends, church members or co-workers, or they may "buy" them from a clipping service. Some of these people will have 100 of the same coupon so here's an estimated cost...
100 newspapers = $1500 (based on the cost of my newspaper)
100 of 1 same coupon from clipping service = $10 (now remember thats of just one coupon)
And do you have that many friends, neighbors, etc to get coupons from?
One school of thought is to have one like coupon for each member of your family. So if you have a family of 2 you'd need 2 sets of coupons each week (~$3/week). Another school of thought is to buy coupon inserts in sets. This is a great way to take advantage of BOGO FREE sales. Then you'll have one coupon for the item you're buying and one for the FREE item.
So now that I've given my thoughts on some of these topics I'd love to hear what y'all had to say about some of these questions.
*sorry if some of this doesn't make complete sense...I'm posting from my phone and is harder to back track and read what's been written to make sure it makes sense and free of typos!