Have you seen this show yet? It's on TLC, but I don't know what day or time. My magical DVR just makes it appear periodically on my TV.
These people are mildly insane, I think, but slightly inspiring at the same time. I can't decide whether I want to be one of them or just marvel at their abilities from the comfort of my living room.
They dig through dumpsters, hoard newspapers, and hunt online for coupons. They spend countless hours clipping, sorting and matching their coupons with online ads and grocery flyers to find the best deals every week. And then they go to the grocery stores armed with printed lists, coupons and reusable grocery bags to acquire more stuff for their already over-flowing stock piles.
They might be crazy, but who wouldn't want to have an unlimited supply of laundry detergent and dryer fluffies that were all FREE!? It was the video of one woman's supply of 4000 tubes of toothpaste, though, that convinced me to consider the world of couponing. Do you know how much I spent on toothpaste last week!? Bathroom products take up half my grocery budget every month!!
I've done the moderately-extreme couponing thing before. At one time, I subscribed to 5 copies of the Sunday paper. I spent Sunday evenings (and some Monday mornings) clipping and sorting. I got online every Wednesday and printed out sheets that told me where the best deals were and where my couponing would be most effective. I had a giant binder divided into food categories that corresponded identically to the aisles in my favorite grocery store.
I had to make sure I shopped at 6:00am without my kids so that I could concentrate on my coupons and because my binder took up the whole front of the cart!
There were times when I got a TON of stuff for very little money. That may be why this show speaks to me the way it does. But that was UTAH, not TEXAS...and life was different then. We weren't 33% vegan. We had an Albertson's close by. And everyone there was on the coupon bandwagon, so there was always someone to hold your hand. Besides, the thought of throwing 5 unread newpapers directly into the recycling bin every week doesn't exactly feel environmentally responsible anymore.
But the vision of my very own WALL of toilet paper and paper towels right in my garage wouldn't leave me alone...so right after watching the first episode of this new TLC series, I blasted out a text to my local Twilight Barker Friends asking if they would save their coupons for me. And guess what! I got a few coupons, but I also found a fellow coupon-er right across the street! She texted back "Can't! I'm a total coupon junkie! Maybe we should get together and compare strategies." (Hooray!)
I don't know how EXTREME I really want to get with this whole couponing thing. But I'm always up for making a new connection...
So yesterday, I walked across the street to my coupon buddy, Jill's, house. She has three kids who match up perfectly with three of mine, so I already knew her. We wave to each other in the mornings on the way to school. We've talked by the mailbox. And we've stepped inside each other's foyers to pick up kids from one another's houses. But I've never REALLY talked to her. I got there at 10am with my pitiful ziploc bag of coupons and one grocery store ad. Jill, on the other hand, had her "coupon station" set up on her dining room table with her laptop, FOUR grocery store ads, a coupon organizer (purse sized, not the obnoxious binder) and a list. We talked for about 15 minutes about grocery stores and coupons, and I got some useful information (like that there IS an Albertson's here) and then we spent the next 2 HOURS talking about everything else. (kids, allowance, church, houses, PTA, stuff we like, stuff we don't like). It was so much FUN!
I left there still not entirely sure about the coupons, but with a brand NEW FRIEND!
So for now, let's just say that I LOVE.EXTREME COUPONING, the show, but I haven't yet committed 100% to the lifestyle.