I really like the TLC show "Extreme Couponing." I won't call it a guilty pleasure, because I don't feel guilty about it. ("Toddlers and Tiaras", now THAT'S a guilty pleasure) The first time I saw this show I was hooked: How are these people getting hundreds of dollars of stuff for free? And how can I do it, too?
Every time I brought this show up with friends, though, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative - so much so, I started to think maybe I was the one that was off base for liking it. "Those people belong on "Hoarders." "Why would anyone turn their basement into a warehouse?" "Who needs 300 toothbrushes or 500 deodorants?"
And it's true, some of these people do get a little carried away with the stockpiling. But some of them are collecting for their church, or for soldier care packages, or their local homeless shelter. Some of them have been laid off, but are still managing to feed large families by using their stockpiles. So I've decided I'm right, and my friends are wrong. This show is awesome!
Now, I'm not an Extreme Couponer myself. I'm never going to be able to get $900 worth of groceries for 27 cents, and I just don't have the storage space for a stockpile. But in the last few months, I think I've become a Super Good Couponer. I pay a lot closer attention to my coupons and store sales, I compare prices for the best deals, I know when to stock up, and when to wait for a better deal...so far, I've managed to cut an average of $100 off my monthly grocery budget, for a family of four. And there's nothing quite like the rush of getting that really, REALLY good deal.
Like when Finish dishwasher tabs were on sale at Target 2 for $5, and I had four manufacturer's $2.25 off coupons, plus a Target .75 off coupon. I got a 6 month supply of dishwasher tabs for 25 cents. Plus, if you bought four at once, you got a $5 Target gift card - so really, I came out $4.75 ahead.
And that's how you get sucked in - that one really good score, that makes you want to keep trying for that next awesome bargain. You know, I could probably fit some shelves in the basement for a little extra storage space...