I’m not much of a couponer to begin with. But the whole extreme couponing thing has me somewhat baffled. I understand wanting to get a good deal on something. And I get that some people want to pinch their pennies in order to save money. However, I do think that there can be too much of a good thing. Besides, do you really need extreme savings to find financial success? Here are some of the reasons I just can’t get into extreme couponing:
Where Will I Put All the Stuff?
One of the characteristics of extreme couponing is stockpiling. In fact, if you want to be on TLC’s show, Extreme Couponing, you have to have a stockpile of a certain size. Some of these extreme couponers fill rooms in their homes. If they have a small amount of space, the items go in places that are visible to visitors. I’m not a big fan of clutter, so having a stockpile confronting me every time I turn around is not my idea of a good thing. Don’t get me wrong; I think a certain amount of stocking up is important. I have home food storage in my pantry and crawl space. But I wouldn’t say it’s extreme.
Where’s the Food?
Another reason I have trouble with extreme couponing is the lack of food. You don’t usually see coupons for fresh produce. Instead, food coupons are for pre-packaged meals. While I like to get the coupon for the antibiotic/hormone free chicken we use, I’m not excited about stocking up on frozen meals high in sodium, refined sugars, and fats. I’d rather use fresh ingredients. I saw one contestant Extreme Couponing with a cart full of Gatorade and soda. If I preferred Gatorade and soda to water and milk, extreme couponing would be for me. Since I like to cook with fresh ingredients as much as possible, I’ll save money by gardening and by planning my meals around what’s on sale during the week.
I Just Don’t Want to Take the Time
I’ve talked to a couple of people who have tried to the extreme couponing thing. Some can get it all done in 12 to 15 hours a week. Others spend 20 or 25 hours a week. By the time you comb the newspaper, Internet and other sources for deals and coupons, make a plan, and then visit multiple stores during the week to get all the deals, I’d guess most people spend more than 20 hours a week. That includes driving time (and sitting in traffic time). If you can save $1,000 in a week with the help of extreme couponing, you essentially make $50 if you spend 20 hours a week. That’s really not bad at all.
However, do you want to spend that 20 hours extreme couponing? Or doing something else? You could start a business, or develop some passive income. It might take a while to get things going, but you could potentially make more than $50 an hour with the right business model or passive income model. My personality is one in which I would rather earn more than pinch pennies. I look for good value, but I’m not overly concerned about getting the cheapest thing all the time.
What about you? Do you think extreme couponing is worth it?