A Sneak Peek at TLC's New Extreme Couponing Series!

BlogHer Original Post

Those of you who have been following my Extreme Couponing posts from the beginning will remember that one of the reasons I got started was because of the TLC Extreme Couponing special that aired last December. I didn't see the show, but I did see a ton of blog posts about the show. Those posts, along with a couple of other things that happened in my life, led me to start what I now call The Great Extreme Couponing Experiment (picture that all in capital letters, please.) I owe it all to that TV show (well... 1/3 of it to TLC). So when the nice folks at TLC (Hi Matt!) invited me to watch the first episode of their new Extreme Couponing series, I couldn't say no.

I'm not going to give you any spoilers but I am going to tell you what you'll see -- and a little bit about what you won't see.

In the first segment, you'll meet J'aime the Extreme Coupon Diva. J'aime started couponing almost two years ago when her husband lost his job. From reading coupon blogs and forums, this seems to be a fairly common reason for people to come to extreme couponing. Teri Gault, an actress who owns The Grocery Game, started for this reason. The second reason I started extreme couponing was because my partner quit a job and after finding new employment, we were still bringing in about 1/3 less than we had been. We knew we had to cut costs and work harder to save money. Extreme couponing and being careful with food spending seemed like a great place to start.

In the second segment, you'll meet Tiffany from My Litter and her husband Paul from I Heart the Mart. Tiffany and Paul have seven kids and again, this is a pretty common theme among couponers. Some of us have large families! I have six kids, though only three live at home (and college tuition isn't cheap). TW's mom also lives with us and we provide health and beauty items (and some food) for her disabled sister who lives in an assisted living facility. Those costs can really add up!

In both episodes, our couponers head to one grocery store and make huge purchases. J'aime in particular notes that this is the largest trip she's ever done.

Any time you see stories on TV or in print about couponing, you're going to see the most extreme shopping trips possible. This isn't new. Read Susan Samtur, the original Coupon Queen's book, she talks about being paid (or asked) to do big trips for the cameras. It's eye-catching -- it's entertainment -- it's spin! TLC's Extreme Couponing isn't there to teach the every day person how to use coupons and stockpiling to save money. They're producing this show as entertainment.

From J'aime's blog:

Now, I experience the feeling of euphoria when instead of spending over $1,000 a month on groceries I am spending less than $200!

While it might be interesting to watch a more normal couponing experience, it isn't nearly as entertaining. Would you rather follow me around to six stores over a one week period and watch me buy $50 worth of merchandise at CVS for $2.55 (getting back $12.50 in ECB) or would you rather watch someone buy $1,000 worth of groceries for less than $50? Exactly.

You should watch TLC's Extreme Couponing because it's fascinating and entertaining. But you should not believe that all couponers shop this way every week. We don't. I could do exactly what J'aime and Tiffany did, but it would take more time than I want to spend and I'm not really in this to provide entertainment. Well okay, some of you have found my extreme couponing very entertaining. But what I'm doing is real -- it's not for TV. What The Mrs. does, isn't for TV. What Samantha does, isn't for TV.

None of this means that there aren't lessons to be learned from watching TLC's Extreme Couponing and that's why I'm kicking off a new month-long coupon challenge. We can improve our couponing skills, share great deals, and have watch our savings add up. (As an extra bonus, the folks at TLC might just be watching (Hi again, Matt!) and they just might feature your story on TLC's Extreme Couponing Facebook page. I'll be featuring some of your stories on the BlogHer Facebook page, too.)

I'll be posting three tips every week and all you have to do is share your stories, experiences, and savings. Here's the link to the Extreme Couponing Challenge. Click and say hello! New challenge posts will be published every Wednesday in the Coupon Lovers Group -- so bookmark that and check in every week so you don't miss anything.

TLC's Extreme Couponing premiers April 6 at 9:00pm ET (that's tonight!)with two back to back episodes. I'll be watching (again) and live Chattering/Tweeting -- join me, it will be fun!

~Denise
BlogHer Community Manager

Life. Flow. Fluctuate.

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