My favorite folks ! :)

07 May 2011

What do you think?

Summer sheets!  Joy.  :)  Duane didn't complain.

We're going to pick up our rent-a-kids later today.  We've not had them for a while, so i'm looking forward to it.  It sounds like life may be settling for them (parents coming out of crisis) but it is too soon to be sure.  

I've followed The Simple Dollar blog for some time now.  I like his approach, and some of his suggestions have really clicked for me and i'm making changes because of them.

Somewhere there someone had asked about "Extreme Couponing" and so i looked it up.  It is a new program (but not a new concept) on cable TV.  I recorded and watched a few of them.  

The idea is that you can get a huge amount of stuff if you are conscious of your use of coupons.  Some of the people on these shows did amazing things with store sales, coupons, double coupons, and store cards.  Several purchased over $1,000 worth of items for $50 or less.

I won't be recording any more of these programs.  They deeply disturb me on several different levels. 

(My comments do not apply to 100% of the folks, but a majority of what i've viewed.)

First off, they seem to have hoarding issues.  And control issues.  Several of the different people (mostly women in the programs i watched) talk about needing to be "100% in control."  Their "stock piles" often include huge numbers of things; some of the food items will not be consumed before going bad.  One couple had enough toilet paper to last them 40 years, according to the commentator.  (Some of these folks do donate items to food banks or to be sent in care packages for the military.)

I think there are reasons for control/hoarding.  Several of the families profiled in these shows went thru life-changing experiences, mostly job loss, where just being able to eat was a challenge.  And once you've been in a situation in which you feel helpless, you want to do whatever you can to feel in control of your life.  So i get that.

Some of these folks seemed to think that if it was free that you should get as many of the item as possible - never mind if you could use them or not.  If you can't use them, i could see donating them to a shelter or something, but many of these people just added the useless items to their stockpile.  That is hoarding behavior.  It is not healthy.

Secondly, this seems to consume their lives.  Two of the women profiled have stated that they spend 50-60 hours a week focused on their couponing.  One lady said that she will cancel appointments, lunch dates, time with her husband in order to do her couponing/shopping.  Another said that she really doesn't have time for friends anymore, so sometimes she takes them with her on her shopping trips.  I think this is seriously disrupted their lives.  

Third, what i observed was frankly addiction.  The people talk about the stress and the adrenaline rush when they go thru the check out stand.  I understand the joy of feeling you've done a terrific job at something and what a rush it could be to see $1,000 worth of stuff come down to $43.59, but i see this as an addiction none the less. 

Another major issue for me is that almost none of these products are things that i consider healthy (or at the very least, very poor choices for our environment).  People were purchasing huge quantities of soda or vitamin water or Gatorade. One lady bought over 100 boxes of "night time cold medicine" and was paid $51 for her efforts.  She used that money to buy other items she couldn't get for free.  What do you do with over 100 boxes of a cold medicine?

Many (not all) of the people profiled were quite over weight.  That makes sense to me when all the things you can get for free or cheap are processed stuff with little to no nutrition.  I just can't consider the "food" that is gotten with these coupons to be anything worth having, even if you do get it free.  And i just can't understand being proud that you have 4,438 boxes of toothpaste (never mind that i think fluoride is one of the worst poisons out there).  I wouldn't touch most of these products.  I do not buy anti-bacterial soap (i think it is bad for us and the environment) or deodorant (bad for us) or laundry detergent (bad for the environment, i use natural stuff) or most commercial shampoo (bad stuff, i'm allergic) or commercially produced hand lotions (the stuff i make is much better, cheaper, healthier) or household cleaners (ditto on all the above). 

I will say that watching this program made me realize that i should be more careful with our money.  I think there are items i purchase (toilet paper, contact solution and cleaner, razors, a few other items) i could be more careful about and maybe use coupons.  There are a couple of items i buy/stock up on when i see them on sale, but i'm never going to fill a room with toilet paper or toothpaste.  

I don't know.  I understand the concept of something for nothing being a thrill, but for me it is not a thrill if it is not something i can use.  

Have you seen the programs or articles on extreme couponing?  What do you think? 



Linda said...

I think you are totally right! I feel sorry for those people who just do it to hoard it!

Have fun with the rent a kids!

You are cute!

Love, Linda

David said...

I THINK you have written an excellent article.
I also think its been too long since Debi and I have seen you two. lets get together now that all my FAMILY STUFF is done.

Lisa said...

I couldn't agree more! I saw only a part of one episode and knew it wasn't for me when I witnessed two women "buying" diapers and they had no babies! Just wanted to add their "free" items to an enormous stock pile they already had. What a waste!
So glad to see I'm not the only one!

Kathi said...

I would only shop like that if I could donate most of the items. But, I don't have the time or the desire to shop that way. I use coupons, but, not to that extent.

Yes, I too, immediately thought that these people had hoarding and controlling issues.

The other thought to remember is that this show is about people being able to buy as much as possible for as little as possible. I would venture to guess that most of them don't typically shop like that, but you'd never know it from their stashes.

I was amused to run across a blog where the writer reviewed the show by starting out with..."Once I got past my disappointment that these were people who did not clip coupons while skydiving, rock climbing or base jumping..." I got a chuckle out of that.

lisa said...

Oh boy! That is just plain crazy! No, way. Not me! Its like the black friday thing, I never go shopping on that day because 90 percent of the time the things and the brands that I want aren't even the things that are on sale on that day. The people are just plain mean and rude too!

Mali said...

Good points. I agree with you 100% - even though I don't think it's even possible to do that kind of coupon shopping here in NZ.

Imaginography said...

Coupons are not common place in the UK We tend to have loyalty point schemes instead. Those people certainly sound unhealthy in their relationship with coupons. That is no way to live!