Photo from TLC website.It focuses on a couple of families in each half hour episode. It shows the family's "stash" where they store loads and loads of items, like toilet paper, paper towels, canned goods, boxed goods. Then it shows them organizing coupons, going through the weekly sales papers and finally at the grocery store. The families pushed three and four carts each and the checkout took two hours. One woman bought $1800 worth of groceries and paid less than $100 for them.
That same woman said she wants her kids to be able to go to college without loans and that she has saved $40,000 on groceries by couponing. Earl was impressed that she had saved that much money. I suggested that she hadn't actually put away $40,000, but had avoided spending $40,000 on groceries. I'm sure that unspent money dissipated into the family budget somewhere. And if I was going to be really catty, I would point out that $40,000 would pay for one of her seven kids to go to college for two years.
Here's something I noticed while watching the show. First, stores don't offer coupons for meat or vegetables or fruit, so if the families were paying $6 for groceries, they weren't bringing home some of the necessities for a healthy diet. Most coupons are for pre-packaged-type things. Cookies, Pop Tarts, Ritz crackers, cereals that my boys would love to get their hands on like Reese's Puffs and Crunch Berries, filled the shopping carts.
Maybe once a person starts spending less and less on groceries, she can't break that habit to buy healthy foods, like $3 for a pineapple or $2.50 for a quart of blueberries.
One 24-year-old woman who lives with only her boyfriend and who was extremely overweight was up shopping at 6 a.m. to get to all the items she needed before the other shoppers.
She had a $5 coupon off Maalox and the store was selling it for $5.67. She bought 35 containers of Maalox.
If two people can go through 35 containers of Maalox before they expire, they have many more problems than their grocery budget. Maybe they need to start focusing on living their lives to reduce stress rather than clipping coupons and popping antacids.