Last week, TLC debuted its new series “Extreme Couponing“, featuring people who save extreme amounts of money using coupons. Deals like scoring hundreds of dollars worth of goods for as little as $10 were featured.
You can either be inspired or depressed after watching this show. How can the average person get these kinds of deals? The truth is they can’t.
After some discussion on forums, I learned that some of scenarios shown on the show were exaggerated to get the best deal. For instance, some of the stores featured on the show don’t normally double or triple coupons. But for the show, the store made an exception for publicity reasons.
One extreme couponer was shown doing 18 separate transactions, taking an hour to get through checkout, in order to use all of her coupons and get her “deal”. She had to get permission from the corporate headquarters of the grocery store to do this many transactions, meaning this wasn’t a normal scenario. She can’t get this kind of deal regularly and neither can any of us.
As I dug deeper, I uncovered this story about extreme couponing fraud. Basically, one of the extreme couponers featured on the show, used coupons to save money on other items, items the coupons were not intended for. For example, she had a coupon for 75 cents off FiberOne cereal, but instead of using it for that cereal, she bought Honey Nut Cheerios, Kix, and Lucky Charms, because they were on sale. And she got the 75 cents doubled, saving $1.50 on each box of the wrong cereal! Each box of cereal ended up being 49 cents each. So she cheated to get her savings!
I had no idea that coupon fraud like this existed! Did you? I didn’t know that you could use a coupon for a different product but for the same manufacturer. Don’t get any ideas. It’s still fraud. Manufacturers need to do something about this.
What’s the big deal? Well, as couponing fraud becomes more prevalent, stores will start to suspect honest couponers and not honor legitimate coupons as freely. This would hurt all of us.
You can’t believe everything you see on TV. The extreme couponers featured on the TLC show spend weeks putting together these extreme deals for TV. They don’t really shop like that every week.
Don’t be discouraged though. There are legitimate extreme couponers out there who put together great deals to share. Some of them were featured on Extreme Couponing.