Finding solutions to conserve cash is essential in these financially unstable times. Coupon cutting is one way to conserve cash on groceries and other items. But not every cent is worth the cost of earning it. TLC's reality show "Extreme Couponing" depicts an action that, for some, may become a dark fixation. Source for this article: Coupon clipping can help but it has a dark side.

Made popular by reality show

"Extreme couponing" is a phrase made popular by The Learning Channel's reality show of the same name. TLC states that the show is about "the world of bargain shoppers who have mastered the art of saving. Get tips to help you save Big." TLC first previewed the show in Dec., 2010. In April 2011, the show started airing. This month, a second season started.

Couponing and hoarding might connect

The show is, according to MNSBC’s Allison Linn, about "bargain-obsessed people coupon-clipping for hours, and in some cases even Dumpster diving for more coupons." This is seen often in grocery stores. An individual will print a ton of coupons, clear the shelves at the store and give the register clerk the coupons. These individuals start to show their pantry off. They show that they have a years’ supply of household goods from the couponing.

Is this okay?

Recently, the show has sparked a backlash from retailers and manufacturers, who see more and more people taking bargain hunting to the extreme.

Bud Miller, executive director of Coupon Information Corp., said “a fairly large number of people are going into stores with really unrealistic expectations.”

There are increasingly more coupon users starting to commit fraud, the Good Marketing Institute warned retailers last month. Cashiers are occasionally intimidated while couponers will sometimes make an effort to use coupons on things other than what they are for.

Taking newspapers that don’t belong to them

Sunday newspapers, in just the last year or so, have started to be stolen much more frequently across the country, in part due to couponers, as reported by Linn.

Dan Schaub, a marketing executive for The Sacramento Bee, said many newspapers are taking measures to guard against these thefts. He said extreme couponers are taking advantage of these papers. The newspapers are quick to sell on both Wed and Sunday. This is because there are coupon inserts in them.

Seeing fraud everywhere

There are many unethical and illegal couponing practices that were shown by one “Extreme Couponing” shopper J’Aime Kirlew, according to an article posted by blogger Jill Cataldo in April.

TLC made a statement saying they'll look to the matter as it is taken seriously. The end of the statement said: "We look forward to sharing the tips and shopping savvy from all the couponers featuring in upcoming episodes."

Articles cited

MSNBC

Free From Broke

Saving Money Plan

Jill Cataldo
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