THE TRUTH: Extreme Couponing or Extreme Hoarding?

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Extreme Hoarding

When I think of the word hoarding I immediately think of the Extreme Hoarding : Buried Alive show on TLC. Most of the hoarders on that show live in repulsive conditions. Their floor is covered in garbage and clutter and sometimes rodent dropping and other disgusting things. This is an obvious display of hoarding.

I have a family member who refuses to throw out anything. She actually added additional space to her house to store her junk. She does not live in unsanitary conditions but purchases items she does not need, add’s them to her collection and never looks at/ uses the item. The disturbing thing is that she will spend tons of money on this junk- but when she actually needs something, such as a new pair of shoes, she will only buy something on sale- even if that means the shoes are two sizes to big. After comparing her to the people on the show Hoarders, I thought  her issues are not as extreme but she must have a problem! After doing some research I learned the show Extreme Hoarding only shares the disgusting side of hoarding- the scary side. Hoarding is actually deffined by “an excess of socially normative amounts”.

Well after reading the actual definition of hoarding I immediately thought of the show Extreme Couponing and realized this was a less obvious- less recognizable form of hoarding!  Could collecting sale/ free items in excess be considered hoarding? Most hoarders display signs of obsessive-compulsive traits  and most stockpiles I see are  highly organized. In fact, one couple had over 7,000 diapers in their stockpile  but they had no children!

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Most of the Extreme Coupon’ers on Extreme Couponing get some sort of high when they use their malicious filling system and spreadsheets to strategize the “perfect shopping trip”. This does not apply to everyone, as some donate their stockpile– I am talking about the woman who is menopause and buys feminine hygiene products. The over weight couple with 85 bags of chips, 120 bags of chocolate and over 300 boxes of pasta! These people are sabotaging themselves. Coupons only cover some of their food staples. Most coupons do not cover fresh fruits, veggies and quality meats. Therefor most of the coupon’ers featured eat an excess of processed foods! I just do not understand why someone needs 50 or 60 of one item. Just because you can get something cheap or free does not mean you need it! If you already have 95 dish soaps why do you need to organize and strategies to add an additional 95 dish soaps to your stockpile? Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until you reach 20 dish soaps and restock at that point? I guess the point I am trying to make is, WHEN IS ENOUGH-ENOUGH? At what point do Extreme Coupon’ers STOP adding to their piles? Or do they continue because they are obessed with collecting things they do not need and may never use–because like Extreme Hoarders they think that they need them.

Don’t get me wrong- I love coupons! With the economy down, many families utilize moderate couponing to stretch their buck. But I do not understand is, Why does  TLC take “Extreme Couponing” and glamorize it? They offer help and counseling to the families on Extreme Hoarding– how is this any different?



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  1. Del Marie Riley says

    I have asked the same question. I watched one lady get 200 bags of rice. RICE!! She was moving to Hawaii and the food prices are higher there so she was buying her food here before she moved. How would you ship all that stuff and pay to do so. I’m sorry but sometimes people just don’t think. Every time I hear a couponer say “I get a HIGH when I shop,” I want to cringe. I don’t think there is a difference between these types of couponers and hoarders.

    • jodi leah baird says

      the lady said cause food prices are higher there?but yet to pay to ship all that she could have bought it all again,lol ppl dont make sense..i dont watch the show and here lately i have seen few bloggers saying they will be on the show on such and such date and time.i just wonder if they go all out or if they show them how it really is done.and that most coupons say no more then 4 per transaction. but on the show you see them take their arm and clear the shelf .i see alot of fraud on that show.i had to stop watching it.if that was us we would be in jail for fraud but they let these ppl get away with it.or is it all for advertising for the store they are at and the products they are buying…myself i have so much tooth paste just from getting samples,and if i got a coupon for free item,i get 4,i dont clear the shelf,and if i have more coupons for the items i wait a few days and go back and get 4 usually have 30 days for a coupon some are lot longer before they expire so why do you need to clear the shelf .and i have learned if you have this coupon now,they will be another in time..i just dont get why ppll would need 200 bags of rice.she should ship it over seas to the hungry little babies,take it to a women shelter or food bank..ok i have ranted enough..and nothing toward you hun,but to the ppl who do this crazy stuff.

  2. Kasandra Mazingo says

    I enjoy couponing, but my “stockpile” consists of things I actually use and there are some things I won’t buy until it goes almost completly down….I am constantly giving away my free items or giving my coupons away to people if I know I have too many…..I get excited about a great deal but it is only because I’ve saved my family some money… I thank God for giving me the ability to save money…..I think if you have to make a whole separate room to store your stockpile, then your stockpile is too large and you need to use this stuff up or donate them.

  3. Jeannie Childers says

    These people are clearly trying to compensate for something that they have been deprived of at some point in their life. I occasionally will even find myself doing that in other areas of my life. My parents were divorced and my mom barely had enough to cover bills. My grandmother that lived nearby would see us off to and home from school, feed us, and try to buy us a few extras. I just really started putting an effort into couponing, with matching up sales, price matching, etc… My place is way too small to “hoard”, but I’m building a small stock pile of the things we use, and it helps me to stock the travel trailer for vacations or company. I do find myself disappointed with coupon inserts. The only ones I can really use are for cleaning, healthcare and beauty, and some snacks. You can’t eat healthy on couponing at all! And I hate the coupons that are “buy 3” or “buy 4” (and so on) to save! The companies encourage hoarding. 

  4. Pat E says

    Thought the exact same thing the few times I have watched that show. Who needs 180 deodorants? Don’t they have an experation date? Won’t there be another coupon?

  5. Rene Vogt says

    I do not have a “major stockpile” personally. I did, at first, get carried away. That ended the day I was searching a Rite Aid ad for +Up Rewards on shower gel and I realized….”I could shower twice a day, for the next two years and STILL not be out of shower gel! I was done. I have shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste to last me two years or more. I will pick it up if it is FREE, but won’t pay a dime for it. When I am down to a couple bottles/tubes, I will start buying again. If you are having to add space to your house, or quit having your guests stay with you because the extra room is a grocery store, time to slow down.

  6. Vicki Wascher says

    I only use the coupons on items we use. I refuse to buy something I do not use because it has a coupon for free or almost free. I love what all of you do getting all of these deals for us and letting us know when the contests are and freebies to be given away. If I already have a lot of this product I won’t try again. I see some of the same ones saying they got two or three. This is what ruins it for the rest of us that are truly trying to save. You should only do what you can use. Everything expires sooner or later and you cannot use 50 packages of some things.

  7. Marilyn H says

    I don’t watch the show but from various articles I have read, I thought immediately that these people were hoarders. There is no way anyone could use all of these products themselves. It is the “high” of getting them and then what? Unless it is donated to families in need, it sits in rooms, garages, even bathtubs! This is a sickness. I think it is terrible that a show is on the air praising this kind of thing. I won’t watch it. I saw something about someone filling their cart with mustard! Who needs a cart full of mustard? I have nothing against stocking up on some toilet paper or paper towels or a few things at a great price as long as you have room somewhere (not out in the open). Otherwise, it is ridiculous.

  8. Sara says

    Great dialogue ladies. You all have kept it very positive, but are also showing the realistic side to couponing and helping others set limits on when enough is enough. I too agree that it CAN become an addiction to couponing and purchasing if you let it. It is very difficult to slow down the train because you have to leave your house and you have to buy things and it is hard to shut down the need to coupon, but if it affects relationships it’s time to slow down.

  9. PinchingAbe says

    I could see stockpiling food — but only what you can use or reasonably donate before it expires. As for diapers and feminine hygiene products… well, those don’t expire per se. I don’t see a problem with childless people picking them up now and stockpiling them for later. The lady in menopause, well, I can only hope she donates those (but remember that many women use feminine products for urine leakage).

    It’s important to remember too that these producers push these couponers to bring in the huge haul. Most of us don’t sit at a grocery store for 6 hours trying to get our 4 carts (with coupons to match) through the checkout. They want that drama – they want that register to beep and refuse a coupon until the manager comes over with the magic key. They find stores who will let them film there and turn a blind eye to many coupon rules.

    I wish they’d focus more on the things couponers get and donate versus people who have their own personal grocery store in their guest room. It makes us all look crazy. I don’t have a stockpile — I buy what I need and a few extra. I don’t save money if I buy 55 bottles of mustard that we don’t eat.

  10. Lacy says

    I am a coupon er and I have allot of strange items in my stockpile its not like the ones on extreme couponing allot smaller but I have some items that people say why do you have them like adult diapers both my parents and my in laws health is failing so we stock up on things for seniors it just a matter of time now since our family will be taking care of both of them. Its hard to judge some of them on what actually drives people on certain products, like the people who have all of the diapers, I really wish I had all of those diapers for our children or any of the numerous things, if its something you can or will use get it but not extreme amounts, just what you can use in a reasonable amount of time 6 months or so. Our home is limited on space so we use the smallest room for the pantry its about 6×8 room if the shelvs are full we simply don’t buy any more

  11. says

    I completely agree. I only buy what I need and we will use. The rest of the coupons are given to our church. I love a great deal as much as anyone else, but if you are not careful you can actually go in debt couponing. I spent $160 on $400 worth of groceries this week, but it was on things we needed and would use. I only buy two newspapers a week. These things will go on sale again. I do stock up a little on body wash, toothpaste and toiletries, but my stocking means 5 or 6 not 50 or 60.

  12. Victoria Guest says

    When I 1st got serious about couponing I went crazy. I am overweight and I’d rationalize that it’s ok to have all the garbage foods in the house for my family who’s not overweight. Well…needless to say I was eating these things and my family was eating too much of the processed foods. I stopped cutting out the junk food coupons because I know that I can’t say no especially if I can get it for FREE or almost FREE. I have lots of hygiene products and cleaning supplies. We use these things and I don’t feel bad having an abundance of them. I enjoy being able to give to family members and friends when they come over. We been able to send supplies with my son on a recent mission trip to Haiti and we are able to donate items we know we won’t use to our local churches. I’ve actually taken a break from couponing. It can be very time consuming and stressful if you let it get the best of you.

  13. Lori says

    I so agree that the extreme couponers have a few issues. I only use the coupons for items that I like and will use. Just to use a coupon to use it is crazy!! I have a small stockpile and plan to keep it that way.

  14. Laura says

    I started couponing last year, when coupons were good, and lots of things were free. I have built myself a nice little stockpile. Theres only me, my husband and my mom who we care for. I have a lot of pasta, condiments, cereal, bathroom and cleaning items ect… I don’t need this much, but I have 3 grown kids with thier own kids. Times are hard , everything is expensive, so it gives me pleasue to know i can help them out. I’ve also helped families in need and given to the food bank. When my grandkids come over I know I can give them healthy snacks. My kids know if they need anything, they can always come to me, and often leave with 2-3 bags of groceries and toiletries and cleaning products. I will continue to buy and fill my stockpile. I guess everyone has thier own reason for stockpiling.

  15. Raquel Beaty says

    Great post! Many people call me an “extreme couponer” and while I do enjoy getting a good deal, I’m not the person buying 50 of something I can’t use. I buy items I can use within a few months, or products that I know someone else could use (and then I make sure they get them!). I try to keep my hoarding in check, and right now the majority of my stockpile fits in a large cupboard. There have been times that my stockpile has come in handy for donating, or even just helping out family and friends. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to couponing, but I think one of the most important lessons is learning when to cut back or donate, donate, donate! There are other people who would love to have some of the stuff that some people keep on shelves in their houses indefinitely!

  16. says

    I completely agree with you. When I first watched the show on TLC, ”extreme couponing” I remember thinking, ”I want to learn how to shop like them and build my own stock pile (of items I can use that is). I quickly learned that there is so much more too it. For starters not all of the stores in my area allow doubling and tripling coupons for a lot of the items. Also, a lot of people underestimate the time put into those shopping trips. I can understand wanting to stock up but having things piled high that you will never use is a bit ridiculous and obsessive.

  17. Cynthia Brooks says

    I am not a couponer at all, but I do admire the people who do couponing. I’ve never watched Extreme Couponing though. But, I liked watching the show Hoarders.
    My family eats a lot of organic unbagged, un processed food so usually I find it hard to even try to be a “couponer” type person at all. The only stockpile we have is a 2 foot by 6 foot storage rack with 8, 22 quart containers or organic brown rice, flour, wheat gluten, lentils, beans, etc. And that’s for the zombie apocalypse, lol, and regular daily eating as well. I really wish I had a lot more space though, so we could have a nice sized mini storage space for toiletries, and other items we could just stock up on when good deals arise.

  18. jodi leah baird says

    i have been saying the same thing for a year now.they are so many shelters for battered women,ppl on streets hungry,food banks,ect.i can see getting 200 boxes of pasta,tooth paste,D.O. dish soap.and taking 175 of each and giving it to ppl who need it and would be so thankful to have it.i stop watching that show first few times i seen it,when one had over $100,000 stock pile.I mean come on,donate it I know you cant eat all that before it expires.But ppl sit back throw a fit the economy is in such bad shape,unemployment rates are through the roof,why not HELP ppl out.I was always taught every good deed you do will come back and bless you 10 times over.and greed will fail you every time.

  19. Kelli says

    you are right its not any different than hoarders and Really is it any different than a drug addiction? or a Gambling addiction? The only lady on last nights show said before she started to be a extreme couponer She had to eat all the time – SHE needs thearpy obviously she has problems IF she’s not Eating non stop she has to use coupons and stock up on tons of JUNK (guess that junk food is for when she gets bored with the couponing)

    that last picture I sure could use some of those boxes of tea and bottles of cooking oil I’m plum out of both LOL but my “stock pile” consists of buying 2-4 boxes of tea which lasts me a month – month and half depending if i can keep my kids out of my tea pitcher LOL

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