I came across this article on WSJ.com, Hard Times Turn Couponing Into an Extreme Sport, which shows a picture of Erin Libranda of Texas, with her haul after she saved more than $1,000 at two supermarkets.
I’m all for getting free stuff. Things like toilet paper and paper towels can don’t spoil, unlike food. But sometimes, I think it’s better to just buy what you need. The furthest I’ll go to get a deal is to buy four boxes of cereal, telling Mr. Saver not to open all them all at once, because I know they’ll go stale.
As I’ve said in the past, I tend to use my coupons for toiletries and sundry items. I usually have a nice stock of toothpaste, laundry detergent and deodorant (I recently got two free Ban deodorants thanks to a sale price and doubled coupons). These things can last a number of years.
Jody Wilson, 33, got turned onto the couponing Web site AFullCup.com last March. Since then, she’s posted nearly 9,500 messages to the site’s forum. “I became extremely addicted,” says the credit analyst from Battle Creek, Mich. “There’s deal after deal after deal.”
Notice she used the word “addiction.” – 9,500 messages in a year is nothing to sneeze at. Who has room for all that stuff? Does the food get used, or does it spoil? Is it worth getting something for free if it’s just going to go bad before use?
But when do you have too much food? Sure, you can buy an extra fridge or freezer and load it up, but really, can you use it all before it gets freezer-burned or spoils?
Nathan Engels of Villa Hills, Ky., can’t resist loading up on free products. Mr. Engels recently erected a 6-foot-tall tower featuring the 1,142 packages of Jell-O he had got for nothing. He brags about his jam-packed freezer holding 30 pounds of meat, 50 pounds of cheese and 200 bags of vegetables.
Having 1,142 Jell-O boxes is insanity. Hell, if you have more than a dozen, I might give you a questioning look and a shake of the head. Cheese might last, meat tends to go quickly, and 200 bags of frozen veggies are probably safe to keep for a year or a bit longer. I wonder where all these coupons come from, though, and also wonder how much of their spare time is spent on getting these “great deals.” Maybe they’re sacrificing family time or neglecting housework.
Many times, cutting coupons is a good idea. I’m sure there are a lot of couponing boards out there where people trade coupons to simply save money on an item they buy on a regular basis that has a fairly long shelf life. But some of these people seem to have unhealthy hoarding tendencies.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject — are they hoarders or super-thrifty shoppers?