Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Potential Value of Coupons

I enjoy using a coupon on items that I typically buy in order to reduce my overall spending. That said, I rarely get coupons for things I typically buy in any given week, or month. Except maybe for diapers.

Hubby and I were watching television the other night and happened across a show call "Extreme Couponing" shown on TLC. Because we don't live in the United States of America, I'm prone to point out differences in what is possible with couponing there and here in Ontario, Canada where I live.

We watched as a couple organized a list, got multiple coupons, planned the route in store, gathered there purchases, and headed to the checkout. Before coupons, the total was over $1000. After coupons, in-store deals, double coupon usage and in-store points or something, the balance owing was something in the neighborhood of $60. I tell myself that it's not possible to do something like that here in Canada. I have never heard of a grocery store doubling a coupon. Most stores I know of don't allow using more than one coupon on any given product. But I like the theory behind the idea.

What else struck me as funny, is the stockpiles of goods that these folks have amassed. One fellow had enough deodorant in his garage to last him and his family for about 50 years. We watched him purchase 1000 boxes of cereal at 99 cents each, with $1.00 off coupon for each box.  He called the store and pre-ordered the boxes of cereal so they would have enough for his purchase and every one else who also wanted the deal on that brand of cereal that week.

Then I heard the most glorious thing. He said that they 1000 boxes of cereal he purchased (technically the store paid him 1 cent per box to take them) were being donated to his local food bank through his church group. What a fantastic moment. Out of all the folks featured on that show, that was the only time that I heard that any of the really inexpensive or free products were going to be given to others. All the other shoppers just had huge stockpiles of free or almost free stuff.

I know extreme couponing is somewhat of a fad for some folks in the U.S.A. If the folks who have the skills, abilities and time to get those kinds of deals, why wouldn't food banks and food sharing organizations ask for their assistance? It seems to me there is a lot of need in both of our countries to help others with food and basic necessities. The very products that these extreme couponers buy multitudes of. For pennies.

I'm going to challenge anyone who reads this. If you, or anyone you know can purchase with coupons or in-store deals, hundreds of a non-perishable food items, personal care items, or anything typically needed by your local food bank, please contact me. I would love to try to work out some sort of arrangement to supply a food bank with such things. On my dime.


  1. As a fellow Canadian (and fellow Londoner) I have rarely used a coupon. Those are certainly amazing deals in the U.S. and I am envious but I don't know that I'd have the time to plan out my purchases that way. Hopefully someone will contact you re your challenge!

  2. I rarely use coupons either. Most are for stuff I don't buy, i'll use them on personal & cleaning products, but most food products are junk. I see some peoples stockpiles and they make me shudder to be honest... most of it is all processed foods that is so full of crap.. eek! But I do agree, I think if you can get a gazillion boxes of something for next to nothing, SHARE.

  3. I will use coupons occasionally but I'm certainly not an extreme couponer. I do think that most couponers do donate a good chunk of their stash to local food banks or shelters. I used to frequent some couponing blogs and most of them talked about in on there. I know that I can get a better deal on items with coupons but it also takes a lot of preparation and running around to multiple stores.