In light of a recent and very popular television series featuring “Extreme Couponing,” many people question what the real value of what couponing is. Even using one single coupon at the register often elicits side-ways glances, mumbled comments, and automatically lumps you into the category of “hoarder.” I have to say, my shopping habits may vary greatly from the average Joe, but they in no way classify me as a hoarder. I prefer to think about couponers as strategic shoppers that have planned in advance for all of their house hold needs. I’d like to take this opportunity to look a little deeper at the vast difference between being a hoarder and being a strategic shopper.
While that show drives me CRAZY! It stems from those who purchase items that their family doesn’t need, use of coupons that are questionable and many do not give to a charitable cause despite that these items all have expiration dates. Please consider donating if you are purchasing an item for FREE that your family will never use. Please, please, please GIVE to someone who will.
Nonetheless, to me, being a hoarder, conjures visions of soiled homes filled with garbage from roof to ceiling. I see helpless victims of mental disease struggling with their lack of coping skills to deal with a very difficult situation. As a matter of fact, the definition of hoarder is the excessive acquisition of possessions with the failure to use or discard them, even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. Compulsive hoarding impairs mobility and interferes with basic activities that can include cooking, cleaning, hygiene, sanitation, socialization, and even sleeping. While my house may not be spotless or perfect, you can rest assured that you will not find my home in a disgusting state of disrepair and riddled with an animal infestation. (gross) You won’t find my child’s closet taken over by toilet paper or find fifty out of date boxes of cereal hidden under my bed. Nothing about my “stockpile” will make you think of filthy dust-covered cans of spoiled spam.
Being a true couponer, should leave you with a sense of security and a strategically well-balanced savings plan. Not to mention, a keen eye for details and pain staking organization when it comes to getting the most use of all of your coupons.
If you are couponing correctly, you should have your family’s grocery, health, and beauty products covered for a length that is comfortable for you. This of course will be based on your own family size and your desired amount of product purchasing coupled with your level of coupon use. If you were to come to my home, you would not instantly think this lady has gone overboard and crossed into the land of coupon insanity. You would see I have carefully purchased and organized a very nice and well-rounded “stockpile” that will ensure my family is fed, clean, and cared for over the month.
I will never need to run to the store and pay full price for an item simply because I need it for tonight’s dinner or because the bottom of my laundry soap container has run bare. My strategic shopping allows me to pay rock bottom prices and buy enough quantity to reasonably sustain not only my family, but my extended family, friends, and charities in need. Plus, I can do all that at a fraction of the price the average family is spending to care for just their immediate family. That sounds pretty awesome right? And if that is what you are thinking, you would be completely in the right! As a couponer, I know the true value of my dollar and will always find a way to purchase an item at what I think its value should be and not what a company tells me it is worth.
There will always be varying opinions of what being a couponer really means. To some it may only be a nonsensical way to waste your time. To other like myself, it is a valuable tool to ensure a little financial security for my family. I am truly hoping that it is the latter, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions.