Why I'm not featured on TLC's "Extreme Couponing" special...

Tomorrow night, TLC's airing a new one-hour special called "Extreme Couponing." For a few weeks now, I've been receiving emails from readers asking if I was going to be a part of it, or what I thought of it.

I really wrestled with addressing this topic publicly on the blog, but I've decided to share it with my readers, in part to give you an idea of just how many things go on "behind the scenes" that I don't blog about, and also to share how much time and preparation goes into a show like this one.

On April 26th of this year, I received an email from a production company, Sharp Entertainment, who was working on a new television show about couponing:

I'm writing to you because we've taken notice of your incredible "Super Couponing" work--both in the Wall Street Journal and on Nightline. I know one of your purposes behind your classes, website and DVDs is to reach other people and help them apply your tips to their lifestyle so that they, too, can get the most out of their shopping trips and coupons. That being said, we're working on a few TV show ideas on this very topic--hoping to bring these budget-boosting ways to an even greater audience. The foundation of the show is getting these tricks of the trade out there so that people can use these tips to their benefit--and save serious money! It's universally difficult times for everyone right now--and everyone is looking for a way to save a buck. We think this TV show would help a lot of people and I'd love to talk further with you about it and hear your ideas.

Would you be available for a phone call at any point in the next day or so to discuss? Would love to hear your thoughts, especially with all your experience.

I was intrigued by this. I was actually working on a different coupon-related television special at the time, so I called back and said that as long as it didn't conflict with the other show I was working on, I'd love to be a part of it. The show they were pitching focused on "Couponers in America," and indeed, it seemed to embrace everything I stand for -- teaching people how to save money ethically through coupons. We continued talking via phone and email, and things reached the point where I needed to make a decision about which show I was going to focus on.

Email from the production company on June 29th:

We're pitching shows that are potentially either host-based (which would require a more specific signing process with us) or shows that profile various people at the same time (which would only require that you sign on with us for that show - but wouldn't lock you into anything long term). Both of these shows are being pitched with the networks and are great possibilities with great potential for you.

I decided that this show did sound like it was going to be a larger production than the other one I was working on, so I focused on moving forward with this special. Everything sounded on the level, and it seemed to me that couponing was going to be presented not as a "crazy coupon shopper" show but as something that could genuinely help people. I was asked to send over press photos, photographs of my stockpile, and so on.

Email from July 3rd:

Hi Jill! Thanks for being so patient with me and hanging in there - I finally have an update! So we've moved one step forward and we are doing a one hour special with TLC. And we want to feature you! I realize it's a holiday weekend and I'm traveling as well at the moment, but I wanted to make sure you were still available - per any other deals that are coming along.

Let's jump on the phone Tuesday if you can do discuss further details, but I wanted to update you right away.

When we spoke on the phone, I was told that "you were the person that the network reacted most positively to" for this show, and what I was doing as a couponer, instructor and writer was instrumental in getting the show sold to TLC. I was glad to hear that the show had moved beyond the pitch stage into production.

On July 26th, a different member of the production staff emailed:

We're really excited about the project and are really interested in involving you. We are looking to involve a couple more high-profile super-couponers in the project and I thought, no one knows the couponing world better than you! Are there any people, in a similar vein to you, that you have encountered in the couponing world that you think would be comfortable in front of a camera etc? I'd really love to hear your thoughts.

I had no problem helping the company with this, though it seemed a little odd to me that they'd "sold" a show about couponing, featuring multiple couponers... without having any others in mind. I emailed back asking if we were going to discuss a contract for the show before I helped them with casting, but I was told that we couldn't proceed further until I provided them with a list of other possible couponers to feature.

Email from July 27:

...we'd love to include you but we're also looking to really cover the gamut of super couponing and its proponents so I'd be really grateful for any suggestions you could make of other super couponers we might involve in the program. We want to promote the awesome value and benefits of super couponing and we need a range of America's Coupon Masters to do put the best foot forward. In terms of filming dates, unfortunately we can't lock those in until the casting phase is complete which we hope to have locked in in the next 2 weeks.

Have you ever had a "red flag" moment? This was mine. I briefly thought "What if they're just picking my brain for this show, and I'm not actually going to be involved?" My attorney advised me not to proceed further without a contract, but I complied with their request, providing them with a list of other couponers from around the country that I felt were noteworthy. (Joanie Demer of Krazy Koupon Lady was one. Joe Daugirdas of Joe the Coupon Guy was another, as were Jenny Martin of Southern Savers and Collin Morgan of Hip 2 Save.)

After that, we exchanged more emails over the next few weeks -- in total, over 30 emails since I was initially approached about the show.

Email from August 16:

Since we last spoke, the network has been looking over all the casting profiles. I believe they're still doing this. The Series Producer for this program is starting this Wednesday so I'm sure he'll be in touch by the end of this week. Sorry I can't give you any more info!

A week went by. Another week went by. Two more weeks went by, and in the middle of September a colleague of mine spoke with a producer friend in the industry about a "coupon show for TLC" that recently shot "a guy buying over a thousand boxes of Total Cereal." And that's when I learned that "America's Coupon Masters" had already been filmed, and along the way it had turned into "Extreme Couponing."

I got back in touch with my production contact on September 16th, who replied:

I was only involved in the initial development for the couponing show. I handed it on to production and am no longer involved. My understanding is that production took the casting clips to TLC who made the final decision on who was to be profiled in this special. Sorry I don't have more information for you but yes, according to your source, I believe they're already shooting.

Am I bitter? Honestly, no. I work on so many media pieces, some of which see the light of day, some of which do not. But situations like this are also the reason I rarely share with my readers exactly what I'm working on, because sometimes they never come to fruition. After I found out I was no longer involved in this show, I had a few days where I felt like they'd just picked my brain to see what kinds of topics would be relevant for a show about couponing. And, as I said initially, I've really wrestled with whether or not I should even share this with my audience, as I truly don't want to be seen as having a "sour grapes" or jealous attitude about it. That's not the case at all. I do feel it could have been handled better and more professionally though.

Now, from what I've seen from the press releases and promos for the show, I've had concerns over whether or not a show like "Extreme Couponing" is beneficial to the couponing community.

Some of you know that in addition to everything else I do that's coupon-related (my syndicated column, my video series, my workshops, my blog) I also work as a consultant to stores, companies and manufacturers on issues, campaigns, and promotions related to shopping with coupons. About a month ago, one of the companies I work with called out of the blue and asked "You're not involved with this TLC coupon show that's coming up, are you?" I replied that I had been involved at one point, but was not going to be a part of the finished show. The representative replied "Good. It's not something you're going to want your name attached to," adding that my reputation and credibility as a consultant would likely be destroyed by appearing on a show like this. Would companies like Procter & Gamble and Coupons.com want to work with me again if I'd appeared on this show? Probably not.

The whole concept of "Extreme Couponing" is kind of a media buzzword at the moment -- I've done three interviews over the last month for national magazines that ultimately didn't make it into print because after the interviews were completed, they didn't consider me to be "extreme enough." Now I've learned to turn down media pieces that specifically ask for "crazy couponers." Earlier this year, a national midday television talk show called and asked me if I was the kind of "crazy coupon shopper" who would "leave my kids in the car to chase a great deal!" (No... I'm not. I explained that I teach people how to easily cut their grocery bills by half or better with coupons if they were interested in profiling that. They weren't -- "it's not sensational enough.")

It's not worth it to me to compromise my ethics just to appear on television again, especially if it's going to portray me, and couponing in general, in a negative light. I've heard that since the taping, one of the women featured in the TLC Extreme Couponers show was uncomfortable with some of things the show's production team asked her to do on camera to appear "more extreme."

Having done quite a few television pieces over the past three years, I also know what kind of criticism anyone appearing in a coupon-shopping television segment receives too. I've gotten "hate mail" from viewers from a segment in which I had my groceries bagged in (gasp!) plastic bags in the checkout lane. ("Don't you care about the environment, Jill?" Sure, I do - I just happened to forget my reusable bags that day!) Buying a box of sugared children's cereal generates dozens of emails asking me if I care about the health of my family, or triumphantly exclaiming "you can only buy junk food with coupons, you just proved it!" Buy 5 boxes of the same product on TV, and "you're a shelf-clearer!"

I can only imagine the criticism TLC's "Extreme Couponers" participants will receive for climbing in dumpsters to retrieve coupons or admitting that they ignore their families to chase a deal. When I did ABC's Nightline earlier this year, the network pitted me against Nathan Engels, who's also featured in the new TLC piece. I have nothing against Nathan personally, but knowing that his Nightline trip featured a lot of Corn Pops and Yakisoba ramen noodles, I aimed to buy a more balanced cart of groceries. You rarely see "extreme" coupon shoppers purchasing any meats or produce, so for my Nightline trip, I bought over 14 pounds of fresh produce, some of which was organic; a 3lb. roast, eight bacon-wrapped filet mignon steaks and other meats; organic milk, a case of diapers, healthy cereals, pet food, paper products; with no "junk" food whatsover, showing that you can still drop a $118.84 bill to $30.61 with coupons.

But saving big while shopping "normally" isn't as sensational.

In the TLC preview clip linked below, Nathan buys 2000 items at the store, 300 of which are toothbrushes, along with 1100 boxes of Total cereal. While this is impressive (and undoubtedly required large special-orders of these quantities to the store in the first place!) it's also the kind of thing that leads viewers to assume all coupon shoppers are shelf-clearers or hoarders. Rarely addressed in these shows is how one acquires that many coupons for the same item -- if they came from a clipping service, at .10 per coupon, that's $140 spent on the coupons alone to buy toothbrushes and cereal with. If they came from a dumpster, free is certainly the best price... but if the show's intent is to teach the average person how to save with coupons, few will be willing to climb into the trash to do it.

While at the time of this writing, the show has not aired yet, the blogosphere is already buzzing with comments:

The Prudent Patron: I thought it sounded like something I would love to see, until I saw the clip on GMA of a woman dumpster diving for coupons and another woman saying she cancels plans and neglects her husband to go couponing...What bothers me the most is the bad rap it gives couponers...The couponing community works hard to show couponers the right way to coupon. Not to clear shelves, not to buy more than you can use, not to abuse store policies so that stores stop excepting coupons. I am sure this special will have great ratings because people love to look at crazy behavior, but TLC did we really need to wrap all of us couponers up in this crazy wrapper? All the couponers I’ve met have been hard working, generous and are trying to help their family. There is no reason to demean people who are trying to save money and live responsibly.

Sue Stock, News Observer: I can definitely see why this topic would appeal to TV producers, but I'm worried the show is going to make us all look crazy. From what I've seen already, I think this is going to give couponers a bad name.

Faye Prosser, WRAL I can only imagine what it will make couponers look like! I hope they keep the crazy factor down to a minimum. I realize that in order to get viewers to watch the show, they have to find the most extreme, overboard couponers. I just hope they also profile some balanced couponers who also save thousands a year without spending hours a day couponing. Highly unlikely, but a girl can hope, can't she?

Rachel Singer Gordon, Mashup Mom You know you’re going to be on national TV. You’re in a dumpster WEARING GLOVES while your young child is right next to you NOT wearing gloves. Think before you act: How does this play out on TV and how does it make couponers look?"

Mary Kenyon: As an author working on a a book about extreme couponers, I was excited to be interviewed for possible inclusion in this special program. Now I’m glad I wasn’t chosen. I should have realized that they would take the most extreme cases.

And, really, this is likely how a show about Couponers in America turned into "Extreme Couponing." Extreme sells.

Again, remember that this was the show that was intended to reach people, help apply shopping tips to their lifestyles, to bring budget-boosting ways to a greater audience and get the tricks of the trade out there to help a lot of people during difficult times.

If that show ever does get made, I'd still like to be a part of it.

Here are a couple of clips from tomorrow's TLC "Extreme Couponing" show:

Top image from TLC's "Extreme Couponing" used under Creative Commons license.

If you've arrived here while searching for information on "Extreme Couponing," welcome! If you're seeking information on how to learn to save 50-70% on your grocery bill each week without spending more than an hour a week, or filling your house with a crazy amount of groceries, my Super-Couponing Workshop is for you! It's available on DVD, or attend a FREE live workshop.

Dishonesty at a High Price to Others

I am new to this site so am taking the time to read some older blogs and wanted to comment on this. Yes, Jill, congratulations on your escape. It is a struggle to not view the TLC extreme couponers as anything but greedy and dishonest. Their actions DO affect other consumers, and coupon fraud is just another shoplifting tactic. I do think it's wonderful when people donate to charities and food banks when they have more than they need.

I would also like to comment on the use of food banks and urge people not to take what they don't need from those either. I recently had a roommate who supplemented food stamps with visiting a couple food pantries per week...in a larger city, there were a lot to choose from and rotate. What bothered me is that she would take everything offered regardless of need or intent to use. She would dump all her unwanted food pantry items on our small table in our small kitchen (shared by four of us, so space was valuable). So, we had to store these things and then deal with re-donating them. She seemed shocked when I pointed out to her that there might be a family in REAL need out there and that she should pass over items she wasn't going to use. The truth is, she cooked at home maybe once a week and could have made it just fine on her food stamps alone since her boyfriend took her out to eat a lot.

This type of thinking really irks me. I'm all for saving money--it's sensible, it's smart, and for most people, it's absolutely necessary. What I'm not for is saving at the expense or exclusion of others. These people are too ill to even be embarrassed about their behavior.

Thumbs up to you and all who take the high road.

Way to go Jill

I had not realized how much criticism couponers receive from the public. Its great to know that there are couponers out there not devoting their entire day to saving a dollar. Couponing can become addicting but it is important to find a happy medium with coupon hunting and the other activities in your everyday life.

Media Buzzword

I just learned about this show today, and have been reading about it for several hours.

A few years ago, I bought some domain names to learn about internet businesses. I have noted that the web sites dealing with coupon ads, such as http://free-online-extreme-coupons.com have seen an explosion of traffic since April. I have been trying to figure out why, and today a friend told me about the TLC show Extreme Couponing. I was initially hopeful that this was due to the page being ranked higher, but now I suspect it is because Extreme Couponing is a current media buzzword as you say.

It is distressing to read that this is not a show where one learns how to coupon, but rather it sounds like it is a show focused on the extreme rather than the couponing. I will have to watch it before I can judge, but if this show is like many of the others on TLC, I would have to say that the 'L' in TLC doesn't mean "Learning" anymore.

Morals of super couponing

The morals of super couponing go further than just using coupons that are not valid for the right item. Did it ever occur to the people that entirely clear the shelves of items that there are other people with families who may only be using one or two coupons to buy an item but who can not now because when they show up at the store the shelves are completely bare of that item? You can try to justify that with giving it to charity but it is still a very selfish act.

In hindsight

staying away from this was one of the smartest decisions you ever made!

Ethics and Standards


I recently started couponing. My husband works for a newspaper and brings home a FREE issue every other day! I have started to follow price blogs, but never joined or posted on any of them. I was the silent observer...until now.

DH: "You should start an ethical coupon blog."
Me: "No, I tried. It's a ton of work to keep up with the sales and track every purchase."
DH: "What about Jill's blog?"

It's thrilling to see couponers, like you, still have ethics and standards! (Totally bummed about the "Centsible Couponing" show. :) It is so refreshing to learn a way to truly save money without having to sell my soul.

Thanks for always teaching by example.

Thank you.

I appreciate your post (and how NICE to have a free, ongoing source of newspapers!)

The ethics of what we do are still of the utmost importance to me. I think that for some of these shoppers, though, ethics flies out the window in favor of shock value.

Incredibly, I've at times taken flak from other couponers for not teaching how to decode bar codes, use coupons on the wrong item because it has the same family code as another item (by the way, both of which will be obsolete when the GS1 barcode transition completes) - and many other definitely wrong-to-me ways to "save." Those aren't ways to save... they're ways to cheat.

There are many ways to beat and cheat the system, but you won't learn any of them from me, and they're not things I've done or condone. Unfortunately one of the shoppers on the new season has a reputation for that though -- she teaches workshops for $35 a head and from what I've read, will teach you all the "tricks." She used to have a YouTube channel in which she showed using Crest Whitestrips coupons on Bounty paper towels and Tide, $5 Aveeno Vitality coupons being applied to cheaper, non-Vitality items, and so on.

That rippled through a lot of the big coupon boards at the time, and she ultimately pulled the videos down -- but it doesn't take much time in Google to find out what kind of "ethics" (actually, the lack of) she has practiced in the past.

Why TLC would feature people who are known to have openly committed coupon fraud, and filmed themselves doing so, to be a part of this new show is beyond me.

Not happy about the TLC portrayal of couponers in general

Like you, I was interviewed for this show and started getting weird vibes from my contact at Sharp Entertainment. I have posted my thoughts on the show here:

To say the least, I am very happy I did not get chosen for the show now that it has come about. The show puts ALL couponers in a bad light.

Glad you weren't on the show

I'm glad you weren't on the show Jill. The whole thing was disturbing and although I hope to save even more this year, I never want to become that crazed. Was anyone else wondering why the little boy was not wearing gloves, yet his mother was? Thanks for all you do Jill!

Thank you Jill. I love the

Thank you Jill. I love the way you showed me on how to save the right way. Plus to give. I don't need enough toilet paper for 3 years. Maybe 6 months and donate the rest. Please don't ever let some TV show use you. Look at all the Reality shows. Most family's have broken up. You do a wonderful job. Please keep helping us nobody's save money and donate. We don't need to watch you on TV we can go to one of your class's. Stay Jill. Thank you again.

coupon shows

Hey Jill, thanks for your honest disclosure about the TLC and other shows. Initially, I'd hoped to see you on it. Then after watching it...I couldn't decide. I was really disappointed that only 2 of the 4 couponers demonstrated a willingness to coupon-to-share or give back. WOW! Monstrous rooms and garages of groceries that no 2-4 people could use up before their expirations + a reasonable shelf life (like the 100 of bottles of salad dressings and containers of deoderant). Sure they saved $ initially, but what a waste. You remind us of good ways to save, share, give to charities, and share with others -- info, coupons, deals, and the grocery products themselves...and not clear off a shelf just because we've gotten a good deal. (at least most of us seem to practice what we've learned).

While I know you would have done a great service and been able to add to the show, I'm glad you didn't do it. Your voice is heard by so many others and you're helping us learn the "good" of couponing.

I hope others who saw those shows remember that it isn't just a contest to beat the stores...sometimes beating the stores means hurting other shoppers. Buying up all of the couponed items, means other couponers don't get to participate in the savings and they may really need the savings help, too.

Stick with your way, sister! You are the real deal and don't need to sell out for others just trying to use you. Thanks for teaching me and thanks for being OUR "Super-Couponer!"

Thoughts from Colorado Couponer

Even though I am in CO, I still visit Jill's site each week to help save money...I don't expect to get everything for free, although that is really FUN. Shows like this seem to make me feel bad that I only save 50% on my groceries, and then I STOP and realize that these shopping trips are not normal or possible in my area... My King soopers only lets you use 4 of the same coupon per transaction. Never could I buy the ridiculous quantities that I saw, and why would I want to? I know that when I first started couponing and I got my first big DEAL, I could tell that it could be very addicting...but I prayed about it and made a decision to cultivate generosity in my life, because the more I acquired didn't make me want to give more...This year, I do want to have a good supply of staples in my pantry, however, I also want to share with others by teaching them how to save and by donating a portion of my items to the food pantry...also by blessing others in the store with extra coupons. That is where the REALLY good feeling comes from-helping others not just helping myself.
Thank you Jill for helping others like me. May God Bless you.

you too :o)

I love sharing coupons - I have shared the GOOD coupons plenty of times when I could tell it would really help out (young mom buying diapers,a child buying her mom a gift - stuff like that). I also leave coupons on the shelf near the items I know I don't need but would be a good deal (like pet coupons, when I have the time to clip them!)

The biggest thing for me too - showing my son (he's 2 1/2) about giving back whenever you can. He helps me take items to the food pantry, and put together the operation christmas child boxes. I look for more opportunities like this everyday.

Hey, maybe they should do a TV show about how every day folks give back in a big way! Now THERE is a show I would watch :o)

Did you ever consider...

Maybe the mom didn't have enough coupons to buy gloves for her kid, which is WHY she needed to go dumpster diving in the first place? I also thought that it was interesting that Entertainment Tonight only showed the pretty girl and not the other three people. TLC is feeding our vapid society.


Oh Jill, i thank you from the bottom of my heart that you did not sink to that level. i really think that these people need to donate to the less fortunate or to the troops. i really think that the hoarders psychiatrists need to talk to these people. although i am very concerned, how is it that they do this regular shopping and the employees don not recognize or are surprised by the savings??? i know my cashiers and they know me. this show is very extreme and i am extremely glad that you did not participate. thanks to you i rarely over buy and get great deals on the things that i need or my furry friend needs. PS- did you know that there are animal food pantries??? a friend of mine told me about one in chicago heights by her house. so on her way home from work she stops to get my pet food freebies. to me i am not gonna be an extreme hoarder, i am an extreme giver. thanks again for all that you do.

I don't usually post

I don't usually post unless I have something to say. First, I would like to thank Jill for her site and DVD. It has really opened up my eyes to how I can save for my family of 5. Second, I was horrified when I watched the clip for the show. I don't think I want to watch the entire show or maybe I will as a "what not to do". Everyone looked like they were running a store in their garage. I do, however, commend the guy that was donating to his church's food pantry. Even still that is a little extreme. I don't think I have even owned 300 toothbrushes in my life! I could go on and on but from the other comments I have read, I think everyone else is in agreement. Once again THANK YOU JILL! Thank you for showing us a 'boring' way to use our coupons. I also want to thank you for sharing your communication for this show.

Don't get too excited about the "donation"

This guy very recently filmed himself in front of a tower of cereal that looked suspiciously like the tower he purportedly donated. So...either he donated the cereal he bought for the show and then bought some more to resell...or...he never donated to begin with.

Same thing this year

The same thing happened with that giant Jello pile, of hundreds of boxes when Jill was on Nightline with him. He said he donated that too but for months afterward he was posing with that Jello in other news stories. He resells his stockpile too which is a big no-no in my book. He had a section on his site about how much money he makes selling his stockpile every year (over $12K a year) as a garage sale which surprise, now is deleted since he's gotten more famous. Seeing his garage though, I guess he's still selling.


Funny how everyone is bashing the show, but everyone watched it. People do what they do and who are we to judge. Jill got passed on by the show, because she wasn't "extreme". Is anyone really surprised that "extreme" sells shows. John & Kate plus 8, do you think they would have had a show if it was called John and Kate plus 1? TV producers are in the business of selling TV shows to networks and extreme sells. Look at all the reality shows that have popped up. We all are not perfect, so let's not all pretend to be. If someone chooses to live there life one way and it doesn't effect you, who cares. Move on!

A Cashier's perspective

I'm a cashier at a major chain store which I will not name but I can say it isn't Wal-mart. We have nothing against coupon loving customers, in fact we know them on a personal level because we spend so much more time with them than we get to with other customers, we do ask that understand we're cashiers we're not magicians we're not out to keep you from getting deals, we can only do what our register will allow us to do and if it says we can't take your coupon then we can't take your coupon. We will not risk our job so that you can buy 30 rolls of toilet paper when 3 days ago you just bought 90 rolls. Sorry but that is just the way it is. We don't mind spending 2 hours ringing you up but if at one point we stop smiling from ear to ear, well cut us some slack. We learn to save from many of our customers and their coupon habits so it is a good thing because we have to shop too and we like to save money just like everyone else. If you do come in with multiple carts full or 1200 coupons think of the people around you and be polite, go on less busy hours usually 8 to 11 in the morning or 1 to 4 in the afternoon or any time later than 9 these all tend to be the slowest times for stores also, ask a cashier if they can have someone open an extra register if there are only a few open that way if you do cause a 5 cart pile up they have somewhere else to go to check out, your not being pressured to hurry, the cashier doesn't have to deal with complaints and everyone who is in a hurry still can get in and out. If the store has multiple departments go to a less busy department, garden or electronics or photo or cosmetics. We love to watch you save just as much as you do because we learn and the store gets paid, by the coupon company we're not losing money so trust me, we don't care about your coupons. The show more or less showed people who hoard which is fine, not my style but to each his own but watching it, made the people down play and put down their local stores. Cashiers will wheel your carts out load your car and smile the whole time doing it, but it depends on how much your willing to work with us. Stores can't always double coupons, or they have coupon limits or a million and one things. We're cashiers we have limited ability to do anything so keep calm we're willing to work with you and help you any way possible, but your attitude towards us and our stores and our other customers determines just how far we will go for you.

I think the tagline says it all...

"Unhealthy savings obsession?"

I didn't get to see the entire show; only saw the full segments on Joyce and Nathan. I think Joyce was portrayed in a much more positive light, or maybe she was just more likeable. I thought it was cute the way they had her sharing her knowledge with other customers in the store.

Nathan, on the other hand, just came off as a nut. He describes his massive stockpile as "every man's dream"...really?? Is he serious? I can say with relative certainty that my husband doesn't dream about 1,000 bottles of salad dressing. He'd kill for a 2 car garage but his dream would be a Porsche and Mercedes parked side by side in it; not baskets of deodorant and toothbrushes. And does he think that people don't know he resells that stuff?

So glad I found your site. It's refreshing to see ethical and sensible coupon use being promoted.


I was on the phone during commercials with two of my couponing buddies, we were astounded. The first lady irritated me to no ends. Is there really a need to extend your stockpile into your husband's man cave? Do you really need that much for two people? Donate! Share the wealth! There are expiration dates on these things and there are so many people that would benefit from the items you get for free or nearly free. I accidentally called the show Hoarders when I first started watching it because that's all I saw with the first lady. They showcased greed with the first lady, I feel sad for her that she has let couponing rule her life. I got obsessed when I first started couponing, but I have realized that I don't have to get every deal and life goes on fine.


I watched TLC's show yesterday, OM what hoarding! Thank you Jill for promoting ETHICAL behaviors!
But, I do have a question: HOW can one get a deal for FREE Charmin? (Two of them on TLC's show had tons of it stockpiled.) I would love help with free Charmin if you have ideas. Thank you!

this may already be a comment....

The show is about O.C.D. and Jill does not teach us to hoard she promotes donating to local food pantry's.
I am glad my coupon teacher Jill was part of this.

Dish Network desciption

Extreme Coupning ....."Profiles of four SHOPAHOLICS who use coupons, dumpster diving for coupons and spending hours a day searching for gret deals. "
That right there should be a red flag " aholic" isn't that someone with an addiction? These people need serious help. Glad our Jill wasn't party to this nonsense.

Just got done watching the show

Wow! That's all I can say. I'm super frustrated now because it can be tough for some couponers just to use their coupons because of cashiers or managers that don't read the coupon correctly or just don't want to process it correctly. Like for me at Wags the other day, when a store coupon rang up, the register beeped and it said coupon not entered into system, the manager said it was a manufactuer coupon and I had the same number of coupons as items so it won't let me use this one, I was like oh, ok because there was nothing I could do, since it was a manager. After this show I wonder what cashiers and managers are thinking now. Are they going to be watching super couponers like many of us more closely? Are companies going to create more strick policies? We will have to wait and see...Thanks TLC for making many of us seem crazy!

Extreme Couponing

WOW....Just finished watching with my soon to be college daughter and had to reference what Jill has taught us to keep her interested when she goes away to college. She was being put off from the time they said they spent prepping and in the stores. I'm glad you were not part of this

There is a reason why it was

There is a reason why it was called "Extreme Couponing" as the defintion of extreme is: "exceeding what is usual or reasonable; immoderate"
Thanks Jill for helping us help our families and communitites in a healthy manner.

I think everything happens

I think everything happens for a reason...and am glad you were not part of this show..you have always been ethical and professional and are highly regarded it would have been a shame to be associated with a show such as this...the people portrayed in this show absolutely fail in comparison to what you do for so many..I think we can all relate to the feeling of satisfaction when you score a good deal but seems to be taken to extremes by the people featured on tonights show.

The woman who purchased 200 + boxes of pasta when her husband admitted to already having a year supply truly has addictive behavior. Nathan's stockpile already showed an abundance of hand soap but yet he still purchased an additional 60 bottles. These people should know as well as any that the deals will come around again and if you already have a decent stockpile you dont need it just because its free or cheap.

Thanks again Jill for all you do and for teaching so many the responsible way to save our families money and help others in return.. You rock


Jill I have to tell you that I have read your blog for months and never signed up because I didn't have much to say. Watching the "Extreme Couponing" show did it! That was so ridiculous. No wonder you weren't on it! You are sane! I have stumbled on a lot of couponing sites and so many people are unethical and out of control. I love your blog! Please keep it up!

Glad you didn't appear for whatever reasons

I just finished watching the "Exterme Couponing" and I seriously think this was an utterly negative show portraying that couponers are sick and what not...
You have never taught us to be unethical....I know it was waste of your time but life teaches few lessons..you were smart to come out of this...

Cable guide description

The cable guide description reads “Profiling four shopping addicts who go to extremes to find great deals”. Those show descriptions get released to the cable companies BY the networks. Jill, I'm so glad that you were not a part of this! Although I'm very sorry they strung you along like that.

Glad it didn't work out!

All the hard work you put into this the last few years, I don't think you want want to end up being known as a person that was the cause of sick portrayal of couponers. This program is meant to make us look out of control and sick! A big laughing matter. Like the TV show the Hoarders making people look sick and pathetic. Its a real slap in the face. I guess if it was showing the real truth it wouldn't have a large enough audience watching. So why not give everyone a big laugh, it might make more money for them !!!!!!

MOM...give me YOUR gloves. !!!..

...i see the mom in the dumpster above,,,with the gloves on...and NOT her kids..another poster stated that..and i think that is utterly disgusting!
These "couponers" need balance...
~love your husband/wife
~love your kids
~spend time together...
THEN when there is time...coupon your a$$ off!
And as far as Nathan goes...this guy has OCD and just plain GREED!. Yeah, right, he donates...look in the garage! Nathan you honestly need some sort of intervention, along with these GREEDY and SELFISH and UNethnical "extreme couponers".

In all fairness most

In all fairness most recycling dumpsters for paper are paper ONLY....no garbage of any kind. That's what it looks to be so unless it's rained and the papers are damp no health problems to worry about. I've dumpster dived myself to get coupons (not to clear the shelves with though)and it's pretty clean.

but then in all fairness...

...mom should have enough gloves for her AND her kids.

Death to TLC

I think we should all take TLC out back and beat the crap out of them!!! but thats just me. Keep it real jill. p.s. I really hope this makes it to the blog.

At least give them a good

At least give them a good spanking!!

You NOT doing that show...

is just one more reason why you are respected by everyone in the couponing community. Keeping balance in one's life is so important, and unfortunately the show is focusing on those who have gone to unhealthy extremes. You are smart & sensible- not extreme- and we thank you for it!!!

Ethical Couponing

I wonder if the extreme couponers on the show used more than 4 P&G coupons (of the same product)?? I wonder how many coupons were bought??? It seems like they would have to in order to get the amount they get in one shopping trip. Both of those things are unethical and manufacturers dislike couponers because of this! On the the P&G coupons it states no more than 4 "like" coupons may be used in one shopping trip and most coupons state "cannot be bought or sold". I don't care if the sellers claim you are only paying for their time to sort and clip....you're buying the coupons (would you still pay if they only clipped and sorted but not mailed them). This kind of stuff only makes it harder for all of us. I hope most people realize that all couponers aren't like this! This kind of show is just going to make the manufacturers more strict on how they allow their coupons to be used. I'm glad you weren't a part of it. By the way, one of the people you recommended continually posts deals that are not correct even after readers comment....it suspiciously looks like coupon coding.


The first couponer stated that she was using about 1000 coupons and she doesn't buy newspapers. She bought all these coupons from a service and spent $70 for them.

I am a couponer and I have only been doing this for a little over a year, Even I was in shock at the items that were purchased. And I also agree that the woman who went dumpster diving should have had gloves for her son and her friend. I made that comment to my hubby last night. He was watching it with me.
I told him, after watching the show, I said that I don't want you complaining at my little( use the word loosely) coupon shopping trips....lol
He said that he would not complain any more.

Integrity vs. Celebrity

I'm sorry the production people wasted your time, but like you said you are probably better off not being on the show in the end. You've done a lot to train people to use coupons sensibly and I would hate for one sensationalized cable TV show to compromise your integrity. I think you have too much class to be jumping in dumpsters to score free coupons. Having said that for better or for worse I will be DVRing the program and I'm sure most of your fans and followers will be as well.

Sensible Couponing

Jill, I too am glad you are not a part of this. I thank you for your sensible suggestions. I just wish we could have a program about sensible couponing.

3000 rolls = 40 year supply?

Um...hardly. We go through about 4 double rolls per week for just the two of us. 3,000 regular rolls (those mostly appeared to be regular, not double or treble) would last the two of us about 9 years, if we went through 5 or 6 per week. That's still a big stock pile, but not nearly as sensational as what TLC is trying to claim. Not to mention, during the holidays when we have lots of guests, we go through about a double roll per day. I would be interested to know how they came up with the calculation that a household of two only uses 1.44 rolls of TP per week.

Our household (of four) goes

Our household (of four) goes through about two rolls a month, though it's Scott TP (1000 sheets per roll). So, three thousand rolls would last us 1500 months, or about 12 years. They must be one constipated family of two in order to stretch TP twice as far as we do...

TLC and stock of toilet paper

The woman with all the toilet paper stated in another forum that she donated it all after the show.
But then in another thread she said that she gain the stock pile from years of shopping for it. What the show didn't say was that this woman not only has that room full of stock and then invades her husbands man cave, but she also has a stock at her Grandmothers home as well.

Glad you wrote on this subject

Jill, we are all happy that you took the time to write to us on this subject. I do not consider you the crazed couponer that those crazy networks are striving for in this upcoming show. I am very aware that if one is not extreme that they won't make the cut. It is all about the hype and ratings. You do a wonderful job of getting the word out. We appreciate all your hard work and effort. Yes, it would be nice to have a great show featuring the "good" points on Couponing and not focusing on the negative or extreme.

I do have quite a stock pile, but mine are for helping out those in need, family, and the food pantry. I limit myself to just two shelf units. Just gave out five recycle grocery bags full of food, personal items, and more to my family for Christmas. I am currently stocking up on Wesson oil for our summer camp. Will donate all of it to the kitchen. Not even bothering to save the receipts.

A reply on the $ donations to the food pantries. I would really appreciate those who are working at the food pantries to take the $ donations and use it wisely...super coupon with it when one can. Stretch it to the max for those non-perishable items that are so needed and one can't donate for health food safety reasons.

Well, your time was wasted and I would have been really

frustrated but at least your reputation is intact. I wish there was a way to share this with the viewers of that show but I guess it is like with all the misrepresented stuff in the media.

I trust Jewel, P&G and the like know the difference between hoarders and normal people.

The people that treated you not fairly while picking your brain, also had their reps tainted with you and who knows how many more. Be glad you do not have to do that for a living and can be honest!

food pantry donations

I am a couponer and I also volunteer (big time) at our local pantry. I know we do benefit from item (soup, toothpaste, etc.) donations from people. But if people really truly want to help a food pantry, then take the $5 that you might spend when buying multiple shampoos for free (I am talking $5 mainly being tax) and give that to the food pantry instead. Do you have any idea of how much that $5 can buy for the pantry from the Northern Illinois Food Bank? A lot. And a lot of stuff that the pantry doesn't usually get in item donations. (A case of chicken nuggets or a case of hundreds of diapers) So please think about donating just a small dollar amount the next time you are about to cut out a ton of Qs to buy a ton of toothpaste or shampoo or soup (or whatever) and consider giving the $$ spent straight to the pantry.


On whether or not your pantry is affiliated with the Northern Illinois food bank and can purchase goods at those lower prices. Many smaller pantries are not affiliated with them or have lost their affiliation (there's only so much to go around unfortunately so small pantries get dropped) and if your local pantry is not affiliated they may prefer goods donations to cash.

I applaud anyone who donates.Unfortunately the TLC show doesnt seem to focus only on donation but hoarding and obsession. Jill you are better off that this passed you by.