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Extreme Couponing


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#1441

legaleagle88

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 7:27 PM

I don't think there's any way to really know what these people normally buy on their weekly shopping trips. I mean, yes, we see the stupid hoards of bags of chips and boxes of cereal and sports drinks so they're obviously not eating that well. But, the mere fact that we don't see them buying produce or natural, lean meats on the shopping trips done for the show does not mean they don't ever buy or eat those things. It's probably impossible to do these huge shopping trips and buy a lot of good food. So, when TLC is like, "I want you to have a total between $500 and $1000 and only pay $25 for it" or whatever, they're going to end up with nothing but crap, rather than the probably only partial amount of crap they would buy on a normal shopping trip.

This is beside the fact that I'm pretty sure that TLC doesn't show it when they do buy produce. (If memory serves, both Joanie and Nathan bought produce in the pilot, but that wasn't shown.) I'm taking this all with a grain of salt. Also, Americans eat pretty poorly in general, so these people are probably a realistic cross section of the population. But, I find coupons for organic dairy, soy milk, fruit, veggies, whole grain bread, cage free eggs and plenty of other healthy things. (Whole Foods has fantastic deals because you can stack manufacturer coupons with the store's coupons.) They're out there.
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#1442

moreorlessnu

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 8:31 PM

Do people who get migraines use Motrin PM? I thought they used prescription medication for their pain.

When Mrs. MBA was loading the Motrin PM (or maybe Advil PM?) into her cart, she said she uses the Motrin PM because she gets migraines. It was the same product that Amber said she had 40 boxes of because it was a money maker.

Speaking of Amber, I know she kept that stockpile room locked, but I wished she stored the 40 boxes of medication on a top shelf instead of the bottom.

Edited by moreorlessnu, May 12, 2011 @ 8:34 PM.

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#1443

kemon

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 8:36 PM

Do people who get migraines use Motrin PM? I thought they used prescription medication when suffering a migraine. When Mrs. MBA was loading the Motrin PM (or maybe Advil PM?) into her cart

I am confused. I am not sure if the woman you are referring to is the one I saw mentioning something about needing something to help her sleep. She and her hubby were the ones who took vacations with the money they save. Is that the same one you are mentioning? For some reason I thought she was loading the cart with Excedrin PM. I saw so many episodes yesterday on the DVR, I might have all the people confused since it is different people, same shit.

I was wondering why the vacationing couple mentioned having to shop before they went on their next vacation. I think the wife mentioned something about stocking up. Why? She seemed to have a warehouse of food at home already. Why did she need to stock up on food if they are leaving? Or is this just an excuse to go shopping?

Edited by kemon, May 12, 2011 @ 8:39 PM.

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#1444

tardigrade

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 9:01 PM

Hey, don't knock ramen- it's one of my staples. Toss the "seasoning" packet, add that left-over meat that isn't enough for a full serving but you'd feel guilty about tossing, a bit of whatever veggies you have on hand, top with fresh green onions and cilantro, maybe a squirt of Sriracha sauce and you have a quick lunch for two.

While last night's contestants both seemed normal at first glance, they irritated me in different ways. Ms Mother-of-Four took boxes of whatever and dumped them in her cart: why not just leave them in their cartons, keeping them neat and easier for her and the cashier to handle? 400 bottles of sports drink comes to roughly 3 a day per kid per month: are they anything besides sugar water? Ms MBA boasted about her stack of soup cans as tall as herself: I can see having some reserve in case of bad weather or illness or not being able to get out to shop, but when your cupboard takes over your house you have a bit of a problem maybe, I think, but then I don't have an MBA (can I claim to have saved $75K by not buying a Jaguar? Is that how this works?). Ms MBA also stated that her mother gives her papers from the coast cities because they have different coupons than the ones in Spokane: does she drive them down -which raises the cost to somebody - or mail them?

How much is enough for these people? Mr. Tardigrade and I go through a more than average amount of hot sauce, but seeing what the people this week were buying I think it would take us a good three years at least to get through what they purchased. Hot sauce: the new mustard?
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#1445

chamuska

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 9:02 PM

The trip was a couple of months away and the shopping trip was supposed to provide enough groceries so they would not have to spend anything on household supplies before the trip. They needed an extra 500 for the trip
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#1446

JacksonBear

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 9:08 PM

I think the vacation lady was loading up her cart with Excedrin Migraine. I take it myself (and do use coupons, just never got it for free!) and that's what it looked like to me.

They all seemed to be hitting the hot sauce hard didn't they? That Frank's Red Hot is yummy!!
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#1447

h1joly

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 10:27 PM

Ms Mother-of-Four took boxes of whatever and dumped them in her cart: why not just leave them in their cartons, keeping them neat and easier for her and the cashier to handle?


This totally annoyed me too! I really believe it's because TLC wanted a money shot of some giant amount of shit being added to a cart. In the first ep, Nathan emptied a container of toothbrushes into his cart (or was it deodorant?) My my grocery store stocking days--sadly, the most enjoyable job I think I have ever had--I know those are used for shipping and obviously couldn't be kept by a customer. But surely it would have made more sense to carry the container the 500 items were already in, rather than dump them into the cart. Nathan also unpacked all his nicely boxed Total to make his cereal "art" in the driveway, when it would have been much easier for his church to pick it up while still encased.

And why bother clearing the shelf when you could ask an employee if there are any unopened cases in the back? That would certainly be less trouble for everyone if you're planning to buy so many.

Similarly, don't cashiers generally scan one item and then enter a number in the register if you have more than one? I mean, we buy cat food 50 cans at a time sometimes, and the only time each can is scanned is when we do self checkout. But for the cameras, they scan each item, so hopefully the register will shut down or there will be some other drama.

re: these shopping trips not being typical snapshots of what the ECers buy... I have to agree that it's very possible they DO buy fresh produce, etc, but we don't see that because TLC wants to see it be free or next to nothing. I think it's telling that the ECers are so anal about spreadsheets and coupons and sales, yet can't give a reasonable estimate to their total bill on a large haul. When they say things like "Ohhhhh, I hope I'm under $_____!!" it's just for the show... they really have to know to the penny how much it will be. If not, then I'm totally confused.

ETA: re: cheap Yoplait... I'm just thinking of Dannon or store brand fruit-on-the-bottom (sigh, delish to me) routinely going down to 2 or 3 for $1. Combine that with ANY coupon, and it's quite possible to get it free. But then, you know, you have to EAT IT.

Edited by h1joly, May 12, 2011 @ 10:30 PM.

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#1448

TWoP Howard

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 10:38 PM

Once again, this is not the yakisoba/ramen/what I paid for stuff at the store/what I ate in college/what constitutes a healthy diet thread. If you’re sharing more than a line or two about your own life or experiences, you’re off topic. If your post was deleted, that was why.

#1449

beezer

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 11:00 PM

Similarly, don't cashiers generally scan one item and then enter a number in the register if you have more than one? I mean, we buy cat food 50 cans at a time sometimes, and the only time each can is scanned is when we do self checkout. But for the cameras, they scan each item, so hopefully the register will shut down or there will be some other drama.

I believe someone back in the thread has worked in a grocery and said that at least some systems have to scan the things individually for it to catch the coupons. Like if it's entered once with a quantity of 30, it won't then accept 30 coupons.

I'll give the MBA dope a pass on the hot sauce. Unlike Jamie and the mustard, where her husband said while loading dozens into the cart that he doesn't like mustard, she said she thought the hot sauce was the way they were going and he knew exactly where it was and pointed. She said he'd know and he laughed so I think they actually use hot sauce. And they only bought 5 bottles. Which the mustard I can't fathom and I like mustard, there's just not enough it goes on or in that you'd use 60whatever things I don't think. Hot sauce however.... I have considered buying in the gallon jug, heh.

I don't think there's any way to really know what these people normally buy on their weekly shopping trips.

True but.... honestly, where the fuck would they put real food?

I consume more produce than most people I presume but when I shop the fridge is packed with the stuff, as produce is bulky. If they have the common 30-40 yogurts that they ALL seem to nab, plus stuff like 20 cream cheese that one got, the milk another did - and they all seem to get the same stuff - etc., and where would they even put produce or fresh things? I haven't seen anything much decent in the stockpiles.

The MBA last night I paused to try to see what cereals she had in her 60+ box haul and there was Reese's peanut butter cereal (!) and Lucky Charms and some other stuff (I think there was Golden Grahams) all of which seems to be cereal for 6-year-olds. There didn't seem to be a box of shredded wheat or plain puffed rice or anything close among the hoard, and I don't think they like, keep not gross cereal in another room so... I see your point that we don't see it but I don't think that means we can't extrapolate logically that it's less likely to exist.
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#1450

legaleagle88

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 11:42 PM

True but.... honestly, where the fuck would they put real food?


I would imagine most of them have a second fridge. Or even a third!
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#1451

wickedgator

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Posted May 12, 2011 @ 11:53 PM

True but.... honestly, where the fuck would they put real food?


This just tickled me. My husband is wondering what is so funny...

yes, I tend to agree with you. How can you fit anything else in a fridge filled with 30 packages of hot dogs, 30 packages of cream cheese, etc.?

Maybe they have a special Anne Frank hideaway fridge somewhere filled with "non-coupon" food.
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#1452

kemon

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 12:21 AM

I think the vacation lady was loading up her cart with Excedrin Migraine. I take it myself (and do use coupons, just never got it for free!) and that's what it looked like to me.

They all seemed to be hitting the hot sauce hard didn't they?

For sure. No wonder she suffers from headaches and needs all that Excedrin. It's a wonder she didn't stock up on Maalox. She probably didn't have a coupon for that.

How can you fit anything else in a fridge filled with 30 packages of hot dogs, 30 packages of cream cheese, etc.?

How do they even find anything with all that food jammed in the fridge? When they show a quick shot of those refrigerators, I just imagine it must be a bitch trying to find a particular item. Not to mention I think of the show Hoarders with all that rotting food.

Edited by kemon, May 13, 2011 @ 12:23 AM.

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#1453

bellasmama

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 12:22 AM

You guys are so funny - I love it here. But one of the couples who will featured in a couple of weeks said on their You tube channel that they, indeed, have 2 refrigerators- not freezers. There *are* six people in their house, but still.
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#1454

MrPissyPuppy

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 2:50 AM

Frank's Red Hot has had a free coupon out for awhile. Dollars to donuts, that's why they're getting so much of it on all these episodes. They put that @@@@@@ on everything!
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#1455

ubi

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 4:00 AM

There aren't any coupons for healthy things. Which is one of the reasons less well off people have trouble eating healthy, healthy food is expensive.

I wouldn't say there are no coupons, but they are harder to find. Food Lion fairly regularly offers $x/$y for items from their produce section that I use at Publix, which accepts competitor's coupons, for example, and I remember seeing similar coupons for purchases with sandwich meat. Didn't one of the people on this show use a bunch of coupons for bananas?

Have we ever seen people buying large quantities of pasta with their coupons (other than the ever present Yakisoba)? Are there no coupons for that?

In the original special, there was that woman who bought hundreds of candy bars also had a cart filled with boxes of pasta.

I think it's telling that the ECers are so anal about spreadsheets and coupons and sales, yet can't give a reasonable estimate to their total bill on a large haul. When they say things like "Ohhhhh, I hope I'm under $_____!!" it's just for the show... they really have to know to the penny how much it will be. If not, then I'm totally confused.

Good point! Have any of these people actually predicted exactly what they would pay, and on a side-note, do they carry extra "just in case"? Perhaps it's for the cameras, but they always say something about not having enough money if they underestimated their grand total.

Edited by ubi, May 13, 2011 @ 12:09 PM.

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#1456

beezer

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 4:45 AM

I hadn't thought of the multiple fridge thing. I know people do this but as someone raised in a city by people raised in a city it is just freaky to me when I contemplate or see people with a whole other fridge like in their garage - you're supposed to just have one! Heh. Assuming they probably do have two fridges and/or an extra freezer, yet another example of fucked-up math.

How much does a whole other fridge cost? How much does it cost every month to operate? Do they factor that into their 'savings?' I have a sneaking suspicion they do not, same as they don't factor in the repeated trips to the store or their coupons of papers - the woman with the hot sauce said she had her parents get some extra papers so they could get that coupon as it wasn't in their local one. How much did those papers cost for a $2 coupon each? They probably got other coupons but if that's what you're getting it for... I enjoy when they say that 'stocking up' like they are means they won't have to go to the store for a couple months, as if any of them could go a week without going to the store for their 'deals.'

I forgot about the Ol' Roy's hot dogs. Bleh.

Edited by beezer, May 13, 2011 @ 4:47 AM.

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#1457

moreorlessnu

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 6:43 AM

The MBA last night I paused to try to see what cereals she had in her 60+ box haul and there was Reese's peanut butter cereal (!) and Lucky Charms and some other stuff (I think there was Golden Grahams) all of which seems to be cereal for 6-year-olds. There didn't seem to be a box of shredded wheat or plain puffed rice or anything close among the hoard


Mrs. MBA is 34 years old, and the vacation they were saving for was for her husband's 40th birthday. Both looked very unhealthy for their respective ages.
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#1458

RacheltheGreat

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 7:29 AM

Hot sauce however.... I have considered buying in the gallon jug, heh.

I may or may not have 2 gallon jugs of hot sauce in my house right now. One of the perks of a spouse in the restaurant industry.

I hadn't thought of the multiple fridge thing. I know people do this but as someone raised in a city by people raised in a city it is just freaky to me when I contemplate or see people with a whole other fridge like in their garage - you're supposed to just have one! Heh. Assuming they probably do have two fridges and/or an extra freezer, yet another example of fucked-up math.

I have 2 fridges (I use the second one to keep daycare food separate from family food) and a giant ass deep freeze and the cost is pretty negligible. Our hydro bill went up by about $2 for the fridge and $1 when we got the freezer. They really don't cost much to run.

I don't see a problem with whatsherface with the MBA (no seriously, what was her name?) not working. They are self supporting adults who, for whatever reason, have decided that they are ok with being a one income family. If it's not bothering them them it's not bothering me.
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#1459

TrulyOutrageous

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 9:39 AM

I don't see a problem with whatsherface with the MBA (no seriously, what was her name?) not working. They are self supporting adults who, for whatever reason, have decided that they are ok with being a one income family. If it's not bothering them them it's not bothering me.


Agreed. As long as tax dollars aren't being spent for her to sit at home on her ass, it's fine with me.
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#1460

Shalamar

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 9:56 AM

One explains that she uses the skills from her MBA to help coupon - those skills being 'note taking... organizing...'


Don't forget the spreadsheets! Because you totally need an MBA to be able to use those! *eyeroll* (P.S. I have an MBA myself.)

At one point she bought a ton of Tylenol (or something similar); her husband explained that she "gets migraines". I said "Well, of course - using all those MBA skills will hurt her brain."

Speaking of Amber, I know she kept that stockpile room locked, but I wished she stored the 40 boxes of medication on a top shelf instead of the bottom.


My husband said the same thing. I was very relieved to see that she kept that storeroom locked, but still, we were extremely uneasy to see all those "sleep aids" within easy reach of little hands. I'm not about to call CFS or anything, but c'mon Amber, move that stuff up to the top shelf!

Edited by Shalamar, May 13, 2011 @ 10:05 AM.

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#1461

amarante

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 9:59 AM

Agreed. As long as tax dollars aren't being spent for her to sit at home on her ass, it's fine with me.


My problem with Mrs. MBA was that she was espousing couponing as a smart economic decision that utilized her MBA skills. The implication (at least to me) was that she had found a way to avoid a "job" while still reaping the economic benefits based on her business acumen/MBA degree.

Her thinking was insane since there isn't any way that ANY job that she could reasonably get - even as an office administrator - wouldn't reap her more significant financial benefits for the same hours. Additionally couponing as a "job" is a dead end as she is losing significant years when she could actually be earning money; accruing retirement benefits and in general enabling her to be economically self sufficient.

At least for me, some of the other women were stay at home mothers and at least one could make the argument that it would cost them more in day care than they could get in the low paying jobs that they were (un)qualified for.
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#1462

moreorlessnu

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 10:22 AM

Don't forget the spreadsheets! Because you totally need an MBA to be able to use those! *eyeroll* (P.S. I have an MBA myself.)


What's amusing is that this episode kept pushing how Mrs. MBA used her MBA skills for couponing while the episode w/ the lady who had 7 kids and called them 'her litter' showed 2 school aged kids comparing store advertisements to coupons, just as Mrs. MBA does.
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#1463

beezer

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 10:25 AM

My problem with Mrs. MBA was that she was espousing couponing as a smart economic decision that utilized her MBA skills. The implication (at least to me) was that she had found a way to avoid a "job" while still reaping the economic benefits based on her business acumen/MBA degree.

Hey, she had her coupons sorted and paper clipped. I hope you're not suggesting someone without an advanced business degree would be able to organize or take notes!

That's my issue with her too - with all of them really. I don't care if an adult chooses to sit home or whatever as long as they're not doing it on the public dime (unless they actually need to for some reason, I have nothing against people on public assistance for real reasons) but these people claim they're saving money by couponing and not having jobs or replacing their possible salaries with couponing, which is nonsensical. In the day care expense way there may be an argument but most of the people we've seen have had school-aged kids or, as MBA, no kids at all.

Perhaps Chicago is a strange example because we have basements here, but two fridges or a fridge/freezer for a family with children is not odd to me at all.

I think it's a house thing. We don't so much have houses here, in Manhattan anyway, unless it's a multi-million dollar brownstone or what have you, so it'd be like - 'and here's our second fridge, hanging out in the living room.'

I did think it'd cost more than that to run them but there's also the upfront cost of the appliances, which is at least a few hundred dollars, and they appear to have no reason for them but to store 'free' items. I know they 'save' that much but again I'm wary of the math. If they 'save' $100 by buying 40 packs of Snout 'n' Tail hot dogs, or 40 yogurts, which they wouldn't buy in that quantity if they had to pay retail, are they saving money? I suppose if they actually eat the stuff and don't buy other stuff and leave the 'free' to rot but still.

I may or may not have 2 gallon jugs of hot sauce in my house right now. One of the perks of a spouse in the restaurant industry.

Rachel! My buddy, my pal, did you need my shipping address or...
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#1464

chamuska

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 10:56 AM

Didn't Mrs MBA have to stop the transaction and start all over again because she lost track of what was going on? She wasn't very organized to me.

If I was into this sort of thing, I would make separate trips for each large purchase. What the heck, I don't think they take gas use into consideration anyway.
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#1465

Ahoskie59

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 11:24 AM

I do understand saving money - as a free lancer my income can vary considerably. However, I've found it considerably cheaper to make soup than to buy canned soup - or even Ramen noodles. Those are fried noodles in boullioun flavored water. My understanding is that Yakisoba is the same with the addition of some Teriyaki flavoring LOL.

That's the part I don't understand. If one really wants to save money on one's food bill, there are ways to do it which don't involve poisoning yourself. Why buy packets of mashed potatoes when one can buy 20 pounds of fresh potatoes? Eggs are very cheap so why on earth would you want to buy eggbeaters. Given what these people were eating along with the eggbeaters, it couldn't be to cut calories and fat LOL.


Do the people on the show know how to cook? A lot of people eat processed food because they don't know how to cook, or they don't have room or a place to prep food.
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#1466

lil ms drama

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 11:36 AM

I saw this picture and thought of this thread. (warning-language)

As for last Wednesday's episode, I didn't find anything too weird personally. After reading the snarky comments here, it's solidified that I'll never, ever try for this show (not that I was a candidate anyway - I don't do crazy trips like the folks so far... my best was paying $13 for $115 worth of stuff). It makes couponers look like all they ever eat is cereal, candy, Yakisoba noodles, Maalox and Motrin. I also eat rice. ;"P LOL
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#1467

divajean13207

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 12:31 PM

I have been keeping a running tally in my head about "costs" that the EC folks refuse to acknowledge. These include:

1) Extra cost of multiple grocery store trips per week (gas- cetainly not cheap at $4/gallon, wear & tear on car).
2) Cost of having one spouse NOT gainfully employed- instead opting to "save" by couponing.
3) Having a babysitter come & watch the kids so the EC'er can spend hours in the store.
4) The room or two of the house that is needed to keep the hoard of yakisoba noodles and sugar water. (these people could have smaller homes or apartments and have less costs for housing).
5) Postage costs- someone sent a letter to a company and got coupons back; the postage cost was not subtracted from the coupn value.
6) Extra shelving/storage devices.
7) Extra refridgeration/freezer and the electricity to run said units.

It's all ass backwards math like the Pageant Moms do on Toddlers & Tiaras-- focusing on the numbers they WANT to see and blocking out the numbers they choose not to.
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#1468

shibori

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 1:14 PM

divajean, I'd add the (not insignificant) cost of newspaper subscriptions, clipping services, multiple computers and printers, paper, ink cartridges, and most expensive of all, the MBA that is apparently required to be a good EC'er!
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#1469

Screamie

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 1:25 PM

I have to commend the MBA lady for buying a bunch of Dave's Killer Bread. It's organic to the point of bird seed bread. I think it's only offered in the NW at this point. I still found it puzzling how they could "afford" their fancy vacation by going to a grocery store and buying a haul of stuff to add to their already bountiful stockpile. Didn't make much sense. I think the show just has to find some sort of "look what kind of reward this wacky behavior gets you" end.
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#1470

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Posted May 13, 2011 @ 1:47 PM

Ha, I just finished eating some Dave's Killer toast and I must say I would love to find coupons for the bread. I will have to rewatch Ms. MBA because I didn't notice that - maybe I'll get a clue. I'm guessing maybe that's one of the coupons received directly from soliciting the manufacturer - I do scan our local papers for coupons that I'd use and have never seen Dave's.

Off to pick some seeds out my teeth now...
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