Frugal shoppers that do an extreme amount of couponing may find that the frugalness of couponing leads to more expenses in the dental chair when teeth rot from too much sugar instead of snacking on raw vegetables or fresh fruits such as an apple or pear, or small pieces of carrots, jicama, or celery, which tends a bit more to clean teeth after eating. Extreme couponing helps the poor. But how healthy are the foods offered by the many different types of coupons?
Post-holiday packaged food sales are booming. At this year's 75%-off holiday clearance sale at Target, for example, a shopper could buy a lot of peppermint Oreos for only 89 cents per bag. That's great for frugal shoppers, except if young children are trained from toddler days on eating cookies as a special treat in school lunches or see other family members snacking on commercial cookies, there's the possibility of sugar addiction.
Cheap cookies and coupons for processed foods are bargains until the dental bills pile up
One case scenario would be saving on food at the market but paying through your teeth at the dentist's office when a diet of commercial cookies rots kids' teeth, especially teeth sensitive to grains. Some children's teeth quickly rot when grains are left on the teeth for hours. Shoppers looking for food bargains at sales might have noticed that dental bills go up. Just ask any dentist what would be the idea school lunch snack you can include for under 89 cents a bag that cleans teeth, is healthy, and tastes good. Try peeled jicama cut into stick shapes to be used as finger food.
Another bill that might rise is when a child develops pre-diabetes because snacking on commercial foods full of sugar, corn syrup, or various fats and oils might create high insulin levels in the blood or high blood glucose levels. Better give the kid carrot sticks, celery stalks, or apples to chew on to get the biofilm off the teeth after that school lunch, instead of thinking how many packages of cookies you can buy for under a dollar per bag.
Jicama sticks are healthier than a school lunch box with processed commercial cookies
You can make better cookies with oat bran and apples, flax seed meal, and lentils ground into course meal or flour in an electric coffee grinder. Then just add some almond milk or whatever liquid you like, with or without an egg or two beaten into the batter. Bake the cookies until golden brown and serve. Or leave out the eggs and dehydrate the cookie or patty. A pinch of stevia goes a long way as does a banana pureed with the flax seed meal and oat bran to make a more natural cookie, baked or dehydrated.
Back in the fall of 2011, classes in various cities were popular on extreme couponing. See sites such as, No Clip Couponing in Sacramento | Fabulessly Frugal - Extreme Couponing, and Deals & Steals : Discussions : Extreme Couponing Class. Some people are setting up their own classes teaching extreme couponing in Sacramento because it has become so popular and continues to be a favorite of many families who watch the TV show, "Extreme Couponing."Extreme couponing is growing popular in Sacramento.
Couponing may be great for families with small children or with college students and women or men in college whose spouse earns under $35,000 annually or with parents of babies. But there's a problem with the health quality of the processed packages of food offered by many coupons, particularly if a family is sensitive to certain grains or sweeteners. It works with the young and healthy. But do people gain weight on the food or have other symptoms? Or does couponing get people to come back for more of the same because they're on tight food budgets for an entire family? See, Extreme Couponing - A Very Disturbing TV Show.
On the other hand, for one or two senior citizens, it may not be that realistic since most of the coupons are for processed foods rather than the so-called healthier fair such as fresh organic produce or organic meats and wild-caught fish, various raw products such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, gluten-free flours and fresh tree nuts, herbal teas, or black beans and black rice.
Check out the October 5, 2011 Sacramento Bee article by Kimberly Morales, "Extreme Couponing' features Elk Grove mom." Some extreme couponers load up on soda pop or packaged processed potatoes rather than fresh sweet potatoes or kale and other so-called "healthier foods." You'll find most of the coupons for bread feature wheat-based bread rather than gluten-free breads or the meals and flours to bake your own. The coupons often feature convenience-type, ready-to-eat foods.
Extrene couponing: How many discounts are for fresh organic produce?
Extreme couponing also is not for raw food enthusiasts, people on sugar-free or no-salt added diets, vegans, or those who don't buy milk and soda beverages. That leaves a lot of Sacramento women and men doing extreme couponing for items from over-the counter allergy medicines to anyone who is frugal with food purchases, such as people with smaller incomes and young parents.
In the Sacramento Bee article, the 24 year old wife, student, and mother of a one-year old clips coupons for her family. She sets aside roughly 20 hours a week to research, clip coupons and shop. And the extreme savings are well worth the effort. You can also check out Sacramento Connect, a network of local bloggers and see the site, Poor Girl Eats Well blog.
Many people who do extreme couponing can't afford fresh organic produce, Back in 2011, one woman on the "Extreme Couponing" TV show was described in 2011 as living with her husband and baby on his $25,000 annual salary and a strict $50 a month food budget. You can see how extreme couponing helped this family, according to the show at that date in time. The show made the point that besides couponing for her immediate family, she also coupons to help her older brother who is blind and deaf, and her father who is on permanent disability because of renal failure. The deals the woman has been able to obtain through her extreme-couponing measures have helped her relatives get through difficult times, according to the Sacramento Bee article.
The extreme couponing TV show follows deal-conscious shoppers from across the country as they use their couponing skills to maximize their savings from store to store
If you recall the fall, 2011 TV program, the cameras followed the woman through an Elk Grove supermarket where she buys food and over-the-counter allergy medicine using coupons. In fact, she tries to save at least 80 percent each time she shops. According to the Sacramento Bee, she sometimes doesn't have to pay anything for a couple hundred dollars worth of food.
As cameras followed her for the show (she appears in the second half), she bought 21 boxes of Zyrtec, a popular allergy medication used by family members. By using coupons from the Zyrtec website and combining them with printable coupons, she received $5 off each box. After also applying a store coupon, she paid nothing.
She also bought stocking stuffers--candy, actually 260 boxes of Tic Tacs, which become winter holiday presents. The candy sold for $1.29 but was on sale at 10 for $10. Using coupons for $1 off per box, she was able to get all 260 boxes for free. This works fine when you buy Christmas present stocking stuffers for lots of people. But would it work for one senior citizen on a vegan diet?
The reality is that most coupons are for processed foods
Once in a while a store, usually a supermarket that carries organic produce and has natural food aisles, may offer a coupon for produce, or some other type of discount, but it's not everyday with every store. When someone has to focus on food for special diets such as no-salt added diets, or food that isn't processed, it's harder because few coupons exist for foods that are not packaged and processed or ready-to-eat. How many coupons have you seen for no added salt foods or organic vegetables and fruits?
You may get a coupon for various spreads or breads, but it's rarer to find a coupon for extra-virgin olive oil in a dark glass bottle, leafy green vegetables, avocados, a pound of unprocessed tree nuts from a bulk bin, or coconut flour. Check out the coupons for processed foods, frozen foods, soda, and bread, for example.
You won't find many coupons for wild-caught canned no-salt-added salmon, for example, or some of the 'healthier' varieties of food such as organic sauerkraut in glass jars...or fresh fruit. But you'll find plenty of coupons for packaged cereals, cookies, candy, soda, and baking mixes for convenience. It's assumed most people don't have time to cook from scratch. Some people use coupons to buy candy and soda to hand out on holidays or to ship to soldiers overseas.