The Real Costs of Extreme Couponing and How to Avoid Them

Extreme couponing is considered a money hack, but, quite frankly, isn’t a very good one. A money hack, by its nature, is supposed to be a simple, effective and usually painless act to reduce the amount of money one spends. With the exception of saving coupon holders a few bucks or even hundreds of bucks, extreme couponing puts a real dent in a person’s spiritual and civic compass.

Think about it. People who are into extreme couponing are guilty of any of the following emotionally bankrupt behaviors.

Blurring the lines between your wants and others’ needs.

The sole purpose of extreme couponing is to take as much as you can for as little as you can over and over again. There’s real end to extreme couponing other than hoarding. Extreme couponers have stockpiles of limited resources stashed away for their personal use, assuming that they actually use the items they buy before they perish or before they forget about owning them.

It’s not uncommon for extreme couponers to clear out entire selves of coupon items, just because they can and because they have a coupon. Other people may want to take advantage of a coupon deal but may find themselves walking away empty-handed because the extreme couponer took everything, without thinking about their fellow shopper.

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Encouraging a “get over” mentality.

In addition to glamorizing greed, extreme hoarding encourages a “get over” mentality. Technically, you can’t cheat with extreme couponing. Conceivably, you could stack where you use a manufacturer’s coupon in tandem with a store coupon, in addition to crushing double coupon deals, meaning at certain times you can use a coupon and it’ll be worth twice its face value, on top of using coupons without expiration dates on a single item, essentially making many items free.

But just because you could, does that mean that you should?

If you’re looking to save on groceries and toiletries, while simultaneously adding to our society’s current levels of human decency, use any of the more balanced approaches.

Be selective about what you buy in bulk.  

Since extreme couponing takes buying in bulk to a cartoonish level, consider buying a three to six-month supply of non-perishables or toiletries instead of lifetime supplies of everything and anything that can fit into a shopping cart.

Coupon with a cause.

If extreme couponing is your passion, how about sharing the bounty of an epic extreme couponing haul with those that could really use it? And to make it easy to give, the giving doesn’t have to 50-50, at least the first time. Start with a 90/10 spilt, see how your heart warms from largesse, and then try it again.

Slash your extreme couponing calendar by a third.

If your extreme couponing calendar has you at your local grocery store every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, rain or shine, 12 times a month, try cutting back on how often you visit by a third, especially since your visits are purely for sport, not need. Scaling back, while not completely eliminating extreme couponing, could give you a more balanced approach to shopping.

You don’t have to lose your soul and decency in pursuit of financial freedom. In fact, approaching money management from a space of abundance and long-term success,  will ensure that no matter where you are in your financial journey, you’ll always feel like you have enough.

Saving your money and budgeting correctly are two of the foundational tasks needed to take control of your finances.  If you need additional support, I invite you to check out my budgeting course and my savings course.

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