So many people were interested in it that a "certain" TV channel felt the need to do a show about it- and ruin it for all of us!! The show made people think they could get $1000 worth of groceries for $50 in one transaction- all at once. Truth is, that is impossible. Stores only allow so many like coupons in one transaction. Turns out, those stores agreed to "bend the rules" for the show. That and at least one of the "expert couponers" was caught using coupons fraudulently- ON THE SHOW! And, she was completely non-apologetic about it. Not to mention blatant clearing of shelves, leaving none left for others wanting a deal too. That is NOT "Extreme Couponing" but total false-hood and unrealistic.
Many looked at this show and thought "I want to do that too!" So, they started clipping coupons like crazy, sometimes copying them (HUGE no-no!!) and going to the store thinking they were ready and were angry when it didn't work. Store's got irritated at misunderstanding and at people trying to clear their shelves, using coupons wrong and costing the stores a lot of money. Now, stores are changing coupon policies, limiting more, and not having as good of deals. This is frustrating to an honest couponer. Despite this, I look for deals when I can and sometimes it works out well. Tonight was one of those nights! I had to take a picture:
This is what I consider "Practical" or "Realistic" couponing. Here is the run down (12 cartons 1/2 gallon Smart Balance milk (yes I have a large freezer), 9 bottles of 64 oz Old Orchard Juice, 4 Pantene Pro-V, 2 M&M's): The retail value of the items on this table totals a crazy $94.72!! Here are the regular prices of these items:
SB milk: $3.99 half gallon (seriously, who would PAY that?!)
Old Orch Juice: $2.89
M&Ms: 74 cents
P-Prov: $4.99 bottle (bought at CVS, everything else was Meijer)
Here is how it broke down after sale price and coupons:
SB milk: $2.59 half gallon- minus coupons= 59 cents/ half gallon
Old Orch Juice: $1.67 bottle- minus coupons= 67 cents/ bottle
M&Ms: 74 cents- coupons= FREE!
P-Prov: sale price 2/6.97- coupons and store extra care bucks= approx. 73 cents/ bottle!!
So, my grand total for everything (remember retail price of $94.72!!!) was only $18.25!!! Pretty sweet, huh?
I just wish that those who decide to start couponing would NOT watch the shows about it and follow these simple tips to keep it honest- (I am not an expert, but this is what I have learned and is common sense...)
1) If you print coupons, you can print two per computer, ONLY- this means if you have more than one computer, you can print more. Don't ever copy them- there is a PIN number on each coupon- you can/will get caught- making it worse on all the rest of us.
2) Beware of store rules and follow them (they are constantly changing right now so they are sometimes hard to keep up with.) But, most stores limit the number of coupons they will double or how many same coupons they will let you use in a day or transaction.
3) Be super courteous to the cashiers. You don't want to tick them off or you can forget it! Sometimes they are wrong, but don't berate them or be rude- you can kindly and gently explain it- but listen to them too, because you just might be wrong!
4) Use the coupon for the item described on the coupon. It is coupon fraud to use it on another item, even if it works. I have been guilty of this before- just in small amounts because I didn't know better, but I try to avoid doing it now.
5) DO NOT CLEAR SHELVES!! (Believe it or not, with all I bought tonight, I really did not come close to clearing the shelves- I left plenty for others). It is rude to take everything on the shelf (unless there is only a few left, of course....) Not to mention, a huge stock pile is crazy-you just don't need 30 years worth of mustard! It is good to have extra stored- but you should never stockpile more than what you can use in a year, or more that what you can use before it expires.
I just feel like if people would follow these common sense guidelines, the stores wouldn't have to be so strict- they would be happy to get the business and we would be happy getting great deals.
KEEP IT HONEST PEOPLE (AND TV STATIONS!!) OR YOU RUIN IT FOR EVERYONE!!