Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Extreme Couponing-Reality or Fiction?

Last night was the debut of season 3 of Extreme Couponing.  One of the biggest questions I get from friends and family is, "Can you really do that?"  After watching last night's show, I am hesitant to say that it is possible to do that well without cheating.  Have I ever gone to the store and bought $100 of items for zero?  Never.  I have bought $50 of groceries for about $2 on my best trip, and I've used $200 in drug store rewards (earned on previous shopping trips) to shop and pay under $5 oop, but that isn't what these Extreme Couponers are doing.

There were a few, um, questionable coupons shown on last night's premiere.  Specifically a FREE Quilted Northern Coupon, deemed to be counterfeit, and a FREE Hefty Product coupon, also deemed to be counterfeit.  To view a list of coupons reported as counterfeit, visit the Coupon Information Center.  To view the FREE Hefty Counterfeit coupon, just go HERE.  If you have on demand, or happened to DVR the episodes, watch carefully to see how much Quilted Northern was purchased by the shoppers.  (Honestly, I did not view anything fishy going on during Domonique, the college kid's shopping trip, however there was very suspicious purchases from the other 3 shoppers.  Ironically, his total order was the smallest and he paid the most out of pocket.)

So is it possible?  Technically, yes.  Is it legal?  That's another question.

How can you make sure your coupons are legit?

I strive to follow the rules when couponing.  It is illegal to photocopy coupons of any type.  I use only coupons printed from reputable sources like the ones posted here, or coupons found in store brochures or in the Sunday inserts. 

If you buy coupoons on ebay, beware.  Many of the counterfeit coupons available are sold there.  If you inisist on buying your coupons on ebay, check the Coupon Information Center first, to make sure your coupons are legal.

Back to the original question:  "Can you really do that?"  Well, I would say, it is definitely possible to save 70-80% on a shopping trip, but the hauls shown on Extreme Couponing are questionable, to say the least.  I would love to see a breakdown of each trip, coupons used, and store policies.

Don't believe everything you see, folks.  Stay ethical, and help keep store policies fair and coupon values high, by following the rules.

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