Extreme Couponing and You

Posted on November 1, 2011

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Unless you have been living in my dryer’s lint trapper or have been spending all your time keeping track all the Republican nominee wannabees, you are probably aware of the latest extreme sport to hit reality TV.  Added to cliffjumping, basejumping, bodyboarding, and Red Bull Fierste Ljepper, is what may have become the most dangerous extreme sport of all: extreme couponing.  If you think you know about couponing, think again.  This isn’t your mother’s weenie attempt at saving money (clip, shop, save).  This is another animal entirely.  In fact, if extreme couponing were, indeed, an animal, it would be the entire cast of Housewives of New Jersey having PMS at the same time. 

Extreme couponing involves the massive accumulation of manufacturers’ and store coupons, combined with in-store specials and whatever can be found in dark alleys in the middle of the night, so as to get food free or close to free.  When done correctly, one can feed a family of four for one month on approximately $3.  Of course, each meal might consist entirely of Count Chocula cereal, mustard, and Red Bull. 

For those of you who are considering taking up the sport, know that, like any extreme sport, there are rules, considerations, special clothing requirements and equipment. There are also grave consequences if done incorrectly.  So, before you grab the nearest scissors and start hacking away at the Sunday inserts, please carefully read the following.

Have the proper storage facility  Since most people engage in extreme couponing out of a desire to save money, you will first have to spend a lot of it to get ready.  Unless you live in a house that has an underground bunker, comparable in size to that which routinely houses what is left of an at-risk tyrant, his family and trusted aides/mistresses, you will need a space. This can be achieved by building a large addition to your home or turning the bedroom of the least-favored family member into your personal stockpile facility.  Even this will involve building floor-to-ceiling shelves, and paying for your family member to live elsewhere.

Have the proper wardrobe  Dumpsters are a goldmine of unused newspaper coupon inserts. Since you will then be spending a large chunk of your time engaged in Dumpster Diving (itself, an increasingly popular extreme sport), you will need protective clothing, rubber boots, and a face mask.  You should also, as a good citizen, be willing to notify the police in the event you discover anything in the dumpster that you can identify as something you have seen on either CSI:Miami or Cold Case.  If, on the other hand, the police discover you before you have had a chance to score 500 coupons for Bacon Flavored Cool Whip, be prepared with a credible story about why you are head deep in banana peels and soiled disposable diapers.

Have the proper equipment  This includes (but is not limited to) a computer, spreadsheets, filing system, iPhone, walkie-talkie, heart monitor, and defibrillation paddles. 

Have the proper plan of attack  Successful extreme couponing cannot be handled alone.  It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a lot of people helping you, in order to deplete all the supermarket shelves in that village.  Family members are quite useful for this (aside from the ones who have been displaced because their bedrooms were needed for storage), as chances are, the only time they will get to see you now will be by pushing their own shopping carts behind yours as you empty the shelves of staples such as chili cheese-flavored corn chips and sushi wraps.

In sum, follow these guidelines carefully, and enjoy your food hoarding shopping!

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Posted in: commentary, humor, satire