The Queen of Coupons Reigns......


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

EXTREME Thoughts on Coupons

I saw this article this morning--and totally agreed. Drug stores have added a whole new dimension to my super shopping streak. But there are things that I would never buy at the local drug store. Cereal. That's right. It already has a very convoluted price because it's an emergency/fast purchase item if you are really needed cereal when you stop for your health and beauty needs. But I have found some GrEaT deals on snack foods. Just yesterday I bought 18 bags of Bugles and Chex Mix at Walgreens. I had printed off the 50 cent on 1 and $1 off 2 coupons from the printable coupon sources and used them on the store sale of 99cents a bag. They are normally $2.49+, so 99 cents seemed like a fair price to begin with. But with the coupons--it went stellar. I threw a couple of Register Rewards in from other transactions--and I came under $5 for all the snack items. And the bonus--most of the expiration dates on the packaging are for June-August of 2012. There's no need to use these all up right away. It's an awesome deal, all the way around.

Normally I would not buy granola bars from a drug store. They go on sale at the grocery store way too often to worry about stockpiling an assortment from drug stores that don't usually have more then 8 boxes of one item on their shelves. But this week at Walgreens'--Nature Valley granola bars and Thins are on sale for 2/$4. In the ad circulars this weekend, there were lots of coupons for these very products. The best was 75 cents on Nature Valley Thins. That makes a box of these yummies only $1.25. Now that's fair and pretty good for a drug store, especially since they are also on sale at Albertsons' this week and the best price after the coupon is still $1.75 a box. So crunching the numbers pays off here--but don't plan to buy your stockpile of snack bars at Walgreens', unless you have made arrangements with the store to order the amount you would like to purchase ahead of time.

Last night, during some Internet researching, I came across two websites that might be a boon for couponers. I still have to go through them closer and try them myself--but from what I can gather so and look like great places to get savings information for your local areas.

As one of my kids was flipping channels last night, they stopped on TLC's Extreme Couponing. I made him stop and we watched the episode with Faatima (LaRgE black lady who wants to move to Hawaii) and a military mom from Las Vegas. AGGG!! At first I thought the show was pretty awesome because it would inspire people to see the potential in planning their grocery trips and to use the coupons that are already available to the public. To me--couponing means building up a reserve and having things on hand that didn't cost me a fortune. But the nut jobs that TLC uses for their shows do not show practical shopping methods or common experiences. They capitalize on the hoarding, marketing abuse, and shocking behaviors or circumstances that lead to this kind of shopping. The episode wasn't too neurotic for me until the black lady started taking over 1000 boxes of single serving cereal at 25 cents a box, and paying for them with $1/2 coupons that were intended for larger boxes. Because the coupon didn't state that it was for a certain size or larger...the store took it. Ok. I get that. BUT 1000 BOXES??? Yep. She planned her whole savings trip around the purchase of this much cereal because it created an overage that the registers allowed her to use towards the purchase of other items. She had a $300 overage that she stockpiled meat and higher dollar items that didn't have coupons for. Thus the name EXTREME Couponing. And I don't remember what part of the country she was in or recognize the chain of stores--but that would NEVER go over here in Spokane. Our main grocery stores have registers that would stop that kind of coupon abuse.

She had her head wagging, and her attitude on display during the whole check-out time. [That's the kind of customer I would walk a mile away from if I were the grocery store.] NINE hours in the store and at least that many carts and she takes it out to her brand new truck and trailer. The most idiotic and outrageous thing I heard her say was that she was building up her food supply because she was going to take it all with her to Hawaii--which they were saving money to get there. And she was going to take ALL of her mounds of food with her. Um. Yea. Stupid!! Obviously she hasn't checked with freight companies that ship belonging to Hawaii--because you have to pay by the pound for your belongings to be transported. So, MOST people would be eliminating whatever is the heaviest and bulkiest--like FOOD--to save money on freight charges. But Faatima is thinking that all her "free" food is going to Hawaii with her. Well--good luck with that, because it won't be so "free" after she pays the exorbinant amount to move it!

I just have one other friendly bit of advice for "Faat"-ima and her man. They need to revisit the story about the Alphabet tree before they head for the land of palm trees. Some very important letters like HCG would come in very handy so that they can save even more money! Like for airplane tickets. Right now, they'd have to buy FIVE+ tickets to get their family of three to Hawaii. Those three little--or big letters, depending on how you look at them--could save them a lot of money when the airlines won't force them to buy TWO seats a piece to see those palm trees. Plus!! She's really going to need that extra money to pay the shipping costs for all that food! Lord, Have Mercy!

I think the next part that made my skin crawl was the previews for an upcoming episode with the North Carolina woman who deems herself the "Shelf Clearer". Yep--that's a proud title. She was snotty enough to say--too bad--you should have gotten here earlier. Ugh. Such white trash mentality. Who really needs 56 bottles of Hot Sauce? I get hoarding. I really do. I hoard things that I'm going to USE!! Toilet paper. Cereal. Canned vegetables. But hot sauce? Not so much. And I doubt she will either--and she just made it impossible for the customer that wants to buy the ONE bottle, that would last them a year, impossible. Rude!!

Watch this clip to see the annoying woman at work! Now I confess--I've cleared a few shelves myself. But I've also shared when others have asked...and I don't clear the shelves of things that I won't personally use. But never to the extent that the Queen of North Carolina does here. There definitely is no shame in using a coupon anymore! But she is the perfect reason as to why stores place limits on certain products. It's the abuse of the store and their desire to please all customers that truly impedes the power of a single coupon user. Stores don't want unhappy customers and shoppers like QNC make for other unhappy shoppers. So watch out! Changes will be made. Quantities rationed. Policies updated. It's already happening in other parts of the grocery universe.

Couponing has become a new sport. Once naysayers, now reformed, are filling their carts with items that match sought after coupons. Printable coupons have made searching and clipping anonymous coupons less tedious. Coupons equal money saved. And a whole new breed of shoppers is coming to life. But that brings some pros and CONS with it, as well. Fraud. Coupon fraud is rampant. I know it's out there. I preach against it. But now I've seen it. Guess where? That's right--on Extreme Couponing! The show is such a breeding ground for misinformation and abuse. The most notorious example is Jamie Kirlew from Maryland that appeared in one of the first episodes. Check out her abuses! My advice: DO NOT DO WHAT SHE DOES!!

Crime is crime. She is the poorest example of what couponing is all about. She's a coupon whore. Agg......did I really just say that? Yep. It's true though. And I hope they nail her butt to the wall for it. Everyone should play by the rules. Too much of our world has revolved into an Entitlement mentality. And with the extreme publicity--we can see how there are those who would steal and cheat a system that was designed to help them out. Shame on her! And even more shame on those who thought what she did was no big deal!! (You've got to read those comments under the article to see what I'm talking about! People truly amaze me with their total disregard for honesty and fairness).

Coupon. Coupon. Coupon. Save as much money as you can--and always use a coupon. It's a lifestyle choice. Maybe coupons are lifestyle enablers in hard economic times. Maybe they are a source of entertainment and activity. Maybe they are an addiction :)))) But for whatever reason that you use them--use them properly and they will bless your life. And one more thing--don't watch Extreme Couponing for tips or methods for "how it is done"...see it for what it is--entertainment. Reality TV is not Real Life. There's a little truth in everything--but it's usually wrapped up in a bunch of pretty little lies. Be smart. Learn your store policies. Be honest. Follow the rules. And you will start saving money in earnest when you do what is right!!

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