Extreme vs Strategic Couponing: Is There A Difference?

Thanks to Bargain Briana, I was able to watch this video from GMA on Extreme Couponing. Click on the link that says “Extreme Couponing: When Need to Save Goes Too Far.”

Wonder what Webster defines the two as? Here ya go:

Strategic: of, relating to, or marked by strategy; 2 a: necessary to or important in the initiation, conduct, or completion of a strategic plan b : required for the conduct of war and not available in adequate quantities domestically; c : of great importance within an integrated whole or to a planned effect; 3 designed or trained to strike an enemy at the sources of its military, economic, or political power.” or “Strategy: a careful plan or method.”

Extreme: a: existing in a very high degree; going to great or exaggerated lengths; exceeding the ordinary, usual, or expected.”

Rather than giving you my opinions on it outright (I'll post those later because I quite a few), I thought I'd ask your opinion.

Do you see a difference between Extreme and Strategic or Focused Couponing?
Please leave a comment with your thoughts on this topic :)

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on December 28, 2010

20 Comments

  • Karen - December 28, 2010 @ 4:52 pm
    1

    I definitely think there is a mental health issue involved with these folks and was glad to see the GMA video mention this…..
    Dumpster diving? With your kids? Really?!
    Entire ROOMS in your home dedicated to your hoarding?
    I think that often people who buy obscene amounts of something try to rationalize the behavior by donating (or at least claiming to donate) a portion of their haul.

    There is a certain high to getting something for free or nearly free and it can become addictive. We all have to self modulate our behavior and set limits. Mine involve determining how much of any one item our family can reasonably use in a year. Anything beyond that…..I let the deal pass. Even if it is free.

    There is *always* another sale/deal/freebie coming in the next week or two. Take a break once in awhile…..and leave something on the shelf for someone else!!!

  • Sheryl George - December 28, 2010 @ 5:18 pm
    2

    Nothing wrong with Extreme for the right reasons and it is affordable, but some things do have expirations, and it’s great to get deals of that degree for the prices they were paying for them. I do think it’s unhealthy to hoard and go to extreme in that amount if it causes problems by taking time away from your family, causes problems with your marriage, etc. A healthy balance in whatever you do should be key in determining strategic and extreme :-)

  • Amy K - December 28, 2010 @ 5:18 pm
    3

    Hmmm… I watched it. I think the network was trying to make the people out to be nutjobs (clearly a slant in how they read the story), but the psychologist interview on the 2nd half was pretty fair and right on the nail IMO. There is a line where it can cross and become hoarding (seriously–are you going to USE that 3 years worth of chicken before it goes bad?–if not, DONATE it for pete’s sake before it goes to waste!!). Or it’s affecting your relationships with your spouse, children, friends, etc., you need to step back and reevaluate.
    For example, the guy that bought thousands of toothbrushes… If he’s going to donate the majority of them, then good for him. How awesome to take your skills to help others–that’s what charity is all about. However, if he’s planning on keeping the majority of them, the dude has serious hoarding issues!
    People with OCD tendencies are going to latch onto something and go overboard with it–if it’s not couponing, then it’ll be pets, video games, collecting figurines, following celebrity gossip… this list goes on and on. So blame (and TREAT!!) the OCD, not the couponing! It’s all about BALANCE–defining a clear line and not crossing it.

  • Stacey Carter - December 28, 2010 @ 5:43 pm
    4

    I definitely see a difference in the two. My husband would die if I had a room dedicated to my stash. I loved seeing one of the people donating to a local food pantry. When I feel my stash gets too big, I donate it to our food pantry or the local women’s shelter. There is always someone else who needs it more!!!

  • Julie - December 28, 2010 @ 7:12 pm
    5

    I think there’s definitely a fine line between a stockpile and a hoard… and between strategic and extreme couponing.

    Watching just the blip that they showed, I’d say that in at least one case the person has an issue and has crossed into OCD… she cancels plans with friends and family to go shopping. That’s not strategic. Add to that how she describes her feelings in relation to her (sorry) hoard… and she’s definitely crossed some lines.

    I really didn’t have any issues with what the “relationship expert” had to say. He basically said that if it’s not interrupting any other parts of life and everyone is on board it’s not a problem. However, if it’s causing a problem in your life then it’s a problem. In the case of Amanda it seemed like her couponing had crossed the line to being a hinderance rather than a help. That said, this is tv and they can edit however they want and display things however they choose; all we the viewers (who don’t know these people) have to go on what we see on the show.

    I posted a blog about my thoughts on this a while back (after watching an episode of hoarders) – http://moneysavingmode.blogspot.com/2010/12/fine-line-between-saving-money-hoarding.html

  • Danielle - December 28, 2010 @ 7:48 pm
    6

    I’ve not watched the video everyone is talking about, so I can’t say anything about that. But I think the difference between the two comes down to the difference between crazy and eccentric. Money. Couponing seems crazy to a lot of people because they have enough money to not understand the use for it. In the end it comes down to how you want to live your life. If it cuts into life, then like any other addiction, it’s a problem. But if it’s a hobby and treated as such, then to each their own.

  • Emily - December 28, 2010 @ 9:31 pm
    7

    To me there is an obvious difference between extreme and strategic couponing. There’s nothing wrong with a stockpile that is appropriate for your family, both in size and products. In order to do that, you have to be very strategic with your couponing – including learning the sales cycles so that you’re not two years ahead on your spaghetti sauce and salsa stash, for example.

    On the other hand, my definition of extreme couponers includes those that will snatch any and all “hot deal” – and as much of it as humanly possible. I would bet that those who coupon this way don’t draw the line at items they don’t want or won’t use but will still try to score as much as possible of a great deal in the name of “giving it away, because it’s free!”

  • Celia - December 28, 2010 @ 10:36 pm
    8

    The problem I have with the extremists is they have more than they could ever use! There are so many people in need that could benefit from more than 1/2 of those “stockpiles” and the extremists would still have enough to last a lifetime!

    If these extremists want to live like that and let couponing affect relationships and so on, that is their business, but at least put what you have to good use! What good is keeping that many rolls of toilet paper when there are shelters that are struggling to provide to those in need.

  • Nadine - December 29, 2010 @ 1:19 am
    9

    Hate to hear they are doing a reality show of over-board couponing, makes us all look bad…
    At first, the idea of stockpiling at all seemed “extreme” to me, but after 1 year, I now can think in terms of needing to buy larger quantities (how much will I need to make it to the next good sale?).
    As to how much time is spent on-line planning, well, I’m still trying to acheive balance there…

  • Tracy - December 29, 2010 @ 7:58 am
    10

    I definitely see a difference between extreme and strategic couponing. I can see stockpiling items that are commonly used in your home/by your family or even purchasing several items of the same kind to donate to your local food bank. For myself, I normally don’t pick up items if we won’t use them – even if it’s free – unless I plan to donate it to a local food bank.

    On the extreme side, I don’t see the point in having more of an item than you will use in your lifetime plus the items do have an expiration date or could become dry rotted. I think the extreme couponing is an addiction and they can’t see past the savings on the receipt.

    There’s not a day in this world that I would expose my children to dumpster diving. If I’m in need of something, I’d ask a local organization, family or food bank for help before I went to those extremes.

  • Keelie - December 29, 2010 @ 10:43 am
    11

    Yeah, I would have to say that making your stockpile a pride and joy in your life is pretty excessive. I do wish they would have shown both sides of couponing. Yes, couponers out there need to beware that this can become addictive if you let it or have that personality. However, I wish that it had shown a couponer that has a good head on their shoulders. A couponer with a reasonable stockpile, and one that uses their time wisely to coupon and shop, not someone who is addicted to shopping.

    • Sheryl George - December 29, 2010 @ 10:29 pm
      11.1

      @ Keelie, yes I totally agree that I think that they should have shown a more resonable couponer just so people watching the show can see that couponing can be beneficial when done properly ~ not extremely. But I guess the show reflects their title “EXTREME Couponing” :-)

  • jennifer - December 29, 2010 @ 11:44 am
    12

    I think that people can “extreme” anything. They need professional help which is beyond the ability of a tv show or even a blog to correct their behavior.

    Some people can have cake and not be excessive about eating.
    Some people can have a drink and not be excessive about drinking.
    Some people can do exercise and not be excessive about exercising.
    Some people can clip coupons and not be excessive about couponing.

    I think that the show is about the tendancies some people have to take any activity to the extreme and not necessarily about the medium in which they use to be excessive…

    I compare prices, compare quality, clip coupons, shop sales, stockpile items we use in our home when it is at a rock-bottom price, request rebates, and share our abundance with those in need.

  • Terri K. - December 29, 2010 @ 1:31 pm
    13

    I posted this comment on another site, but since you are favorite, I wanted to post here too:
    And these people are the reason why I went to Rite Aid the other day and could not even buy one container of Gillette deodorant. Not one. I went up to the counter to check out, and the man in front of me had every last container on the counter. At least 12 of them. I think it’s wonderful, even if it was for charity, but I think it is extremely selfish and rude to wipe a store out of stock, for any reason, even charity! I actually had more than one coupon, but all I wanted to buy was one. I think this special IS going to make us look bad.

  • Vanessa - December 29, 2010 @ 7:14 pm
    14

    I just finished watching the video and it certainly makes you take a look at why you are couponing. For some it’s being able to stock up during these tough times. Others to be able to give back to local pantries. I think those are good things. If couponing gets in the way of children or spouses or it’s just a replacement for alcohol, food or other addiction then there might be a problem. Just my opinion.

  • Theresa - December 30, 2010 @ 7:05 am
    15

    I personal know one of the women that was on the show Extreme Couponing.
    I personal think Amanda should take some of her stock pile and donate it to a free store or church there is no way she and her husband can go through all that toilet paper by themselves. I do couponing but I also donate to my sister in laws church and I never go to the extreme of taking more than two items in a given sale week. I don’t have stock piles of anything in my house. But I do think Amanda has a problem with what I would call coupon hording. It may give her a high of getting something for free but if all this couponing is causing problems with your marriage then it is time to seek help.

  • Julie @ Kingdom Klipper - December 30, 2010 @ 10:01 am
    16

    I have to agree w/ what a lot have already said. I watched last night’s show, and unfortunately, couponers were put in a “negative” light. We should all not be bunched into the same group. I too liked the donation to the food pantry…isn’t that what being a good steward is about? Feeding the poor and needy is part of Jesus’ commission to us. I think some have gone overboard, and I’m concerned we will all be labeled.

  • Penny - February 01, 2011 @ 1:35 pm
    17

    Extreme couponing I feel is an addiction. It is another form of hoarding. Someone who does this and makes charitable donations with most of the stuff they purchase then maybe I can understand and accept that. I want to learn how to strategic coupon not to hoard but to save money for my family.

  • Mari - March 16, 2011 @ 11:51 am
    18

    Happy to see this discussion. Good thoughts above. I have to pay high tax where I am, and I have noticed that once I have an decent sized stockpile for my situation even “free” items have to really be questioned. I have to question the value of “free” candy if I need to lose weight. I have to question the value of items verses my time: even 300.00 worth of items free are not a good haul if I spend 12 hours to get them and only need about 50.00 worth of the items, and had to pay tax on the pre q amount etc. etc. Charity is great, but do most of us really have to time to make a job out of collecting items for charity? So I guess strategic couponing takes all these and other factors into account whereas extreme couponing just needs the thrill of the experience….

  • CHRIS - September 14, 2011 @ 2:28 pm
    19

    Have watched several episodes of this show. It seems to me most of these people are getting their “fix” by extreme couponing. I wish they would show these extreme couponers donating to the local food banks. I use coupons all the time, have for many years. Just started matching them up to the sales ads with another online site. I don’t have space I am willing to give up for storage of 100 years of TP or shampoo. Never buy more than 12 weeks to 6 months worth of anything. Mostly paper products or soaps and the like.

Leave a Comment