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BUFORD: Bloggers take issue with 'Extreme Couponing' | News

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BUFORD: Bloggers take issue with 'Extreme Couponing'
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BUFORD, Ga. -- TLC's "Extreme Couponing" is sparking reaction within the grocery coupon industry as well as among coupon bloggers across the country.

The show features shoppers with muliple carts and thousands of dollars worth of products at discounts of around 90 percent or more using coupons.  One episode featured a woman digging through a recycling bin for unused Sunday coupon inserts.

"It's not realistic portrayal of couponing," said Cookbook Author and Blogger Erin Chase.

Shopping expert Jill Cataldo blogged about what appeared to be a shopper on the show using coupons for Fiber One cereal to buy Cheerios and using coupons for a 4 pack of Yoplait Yogurt for a less expensive size. Contributions to her blog flowed in from other couponers pointing out other discrepancies in the featured shopping trips and even including photos. 

Tiffany Taff was also critical of the show in a blog post on her website, Thriftytiff.com

Crystal Collins also took issue with the way the show portrays couponers in a blog post on her website, TheThriftyMama.com.

Kylee Fulton and Dee Olson teach coupon classes in Buford and run a website called Frugalgals.net. On a recent shopping trip they demonstrated some of the practices bloggers like Cataldo have complained about. "Here is an example of what some might call coupon fraud.  Colgate toothpaste is 88 cents and we have our Colgate coupon that says it is for any Colgate toothpaste, but the fine print says you can buy a 4 ounce or larger size. This one for 88 cents is only 2.7 ounces so you can't do that," Olsen said. She said if a store is out of a product, she gets a rain check rather than using her coupons on the wrong product.

Olsen and Fulton say other shoppers on "Extreme Couponing" may be doing things that don't break specific rules but are inherently unfair to other shoppers. "It frustrates everybody when you go in and clear the shelves of an item," Fulton said.

The frugal gals say they follow all the rules and still save big. They shop at a Kroger store that allows them to use coupons that are worth more than the products.

For example, they used a coupon for fifty cents off of 5 packets of Kool-Aid that only cost 75 cents.  With the coupon doubled to a dollar, they received 25 cents toward their total grocery bill.

"These are actually going to make us money! We love Kool-Aid today!" Olsen said.

Not all stores allow overage, but many expert couponers seek out the ones that do.

In addition, they often hold on to coupons until just before they expire. "Manufacturer's coupons go in cycles. They put a new coupon out when a new item hits the aisle, but if you're a couponer you know not to use it now, wait for a rock bottom price," Olsen said.

On a recent trip, they spent $47.98 and saved $149. "We saved 78 percent," Olsen said.

They say the prep work took them about an hour because they don't clip coupons all at once, they just save their Sunday inserts by date until they need them.

For more couponing tips and classes, visit frugalgals.net.

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