TLC’s Extreme Couponing: Does the Show Increase Theft?

Extreme Couponing is back tonight for episode #10.

Last week we saw Kelly & Rebecca putting their couponing skills to the test. Kelly from Georgia, showed her best friend her stockpile and took her on a coupon shopping trip.  Rebecca from Idaho brought  her  husband along to shop at Winco. You can see Rebecca and Kelly’s episode replayed tonight on TLC’s Extreme Couponing at 9:00 EST.

Tonights episode features Joni & Angelique. Joni from Ohio’s supports her family of nine and multiple charities through her couponing. She tries to get $3,100 worth of groceries for less than $100.  Angelique in Washington pulls an all nighter planning for her shopping trip. You can see this episode  tonight on TLC’s Extreme Couponing at 9:30 EST.

No Cable or Dish Network? You can watch these episod0es and previous episodes for only $1.99 on Amazon Demand Extreme Couponing.

Is Extreme Couponing Causing an Increase in Theft?

Last night Fox 12 KTRV did a story about local people stealing newspapers in order to get more coupons. I gave a brief interview talking about the increase in the popularity of couponing. You can watch the video here.  Last week Cathy gave a similar interview for this Idaho Statesman article. You can read the article here.

Stealing coupons? Really people are doing this? I do not think that TCL’s Extreme Couponing is causing the theft of newpapers, but the show is causing a heightened awareness of couponing. Couponing can save you 90%, but I do not think it will continue to be as awesome if it is abused. We have talked about the false reality that TV can sometimes bring. It is important that good coupon ethics are used so that couponing can remain fabuless!

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Still haven’t watched Extreme Couponing and not sure what we’re talking about? You can catch up on missed episodes for $1.99 on Amazon Demand!

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  • Jennifer

    It wouldn’t surprise me. Today I deleted my Google reader feed from another well-known couponing site because they promote using loop holes to make lots of money off of stores. It’s disgusting. I’m taking a break from couponing because (a) the local stores are (now) typically sold out of what’s on sale and (b) I can’t stand being identified with people on a show (or inspired by a show) I’ve NEVER EVEN SEEN!

    • marla lacer

      Most stores limit the number of items per transaction and per coupon, but tlc never seems to run into that…..

      • Monica

        They don’t follow the rules and thus produce a false reality. Couponing can save so much when you do it right!

  • Kelly

    I don’t think coupon theft has anything to do with Extreme Couponing. When I lived in Utah and they still had Albertsons. Albertsons ad & doublers would come in Tuesdays mail. A lady was caught going into her nieghbors mailboxs taking their doublers out. I don’t know some people are desperate I quess.

  • Terra

    I have also heard binders being stolen has gotten to be a problem. U turn around to look at something and ur binder is gone when u turn back around. Very sad

    • Monica

      🙁 Sadly that has been happening for a while. I think the reason it is happening more is because there are more people couponing.

  • Deanna

    I sent an email at my work asking if people did not use their coupons that I would take them. So I get 4sets from that and then I subscribe to 2 papers.

  • Jess

    In East Idaho the POST REGISTER has a coupon special for their subscription. It is $17 a month and you get 5 Sunday papers and one paper on all the other days of the week (except Monday).

  • anon

    I want to be able to get papers so cheap—our Sunday rate is $1.50/paper in WA (Tri-Cities). Help! (Would love to get an Idaho paper–any suggestions?)

  • tawnya

    My local Albertsons has had to press charges on 2 ladies for stealing coupons out of the papers. They said that this problem did not exsist 4 months ago. One of my local paper delivery guys told me he went to collect money and refill paper machine and they had paid for 1 and took all the papers. I’m sure we will see a decrease in couponing when the show goes off for the season. Also… a lot of new couponers I have talked to are already getting overwhelmed with keeping up with the inserts and all the clipping. It’s a temporary problem. I HOPE.

  • Rachel

    A Casper, Wyoming FYI: They sell Sunday papers later in the week at the Casper Star Tribune for $1. Its half off any ways…

  • Mindy

    I have had missing papers (I get 4, 2 different types) in my driveway. They take one of each paper once in a while. Really??? It’s not that hard to subscribe!

  • JenB

    YAY to FabulesslyFrugal…I saw you website on tonight’s show during Angelique’s segment! Way to go ladies, you’ve gotten national coverage!

    • lindsey

      I caught a glimpse and had to rewind and pause the dvr. I was VERY happy to see that!!! Love this website!!!!

      • Monica @ Fabulessly Frugal

        Really? Guess I better go watch the show. I do not have cable, but it should be on Amazon soon. 🙂

  • Melissa

    I get the fabulessly frugal Idaho Statesman Sunday deal and get 5 Sunday papers. My carrier puts them right in front of the front door for me (very nice guy!), but unfortunately I have had all my papers stolen, just on Sundays mind you, 2 weeks in a row. I now have him bundle and toss over the fence. The scary thing is that we live in a pretty nice neighborhood. People are desparate I guess. I hope they needed to save the $$ more than I did! Very sad state our society has turned into.

  • AnnMarie

    I have regularly asked local restaurants and coffee shops that have newspapers for their customers if I could take their coupons. They are more than happy to have me take them. One lady actually told me I was helping them because it was less for them to throw away (although I made her promise that she was actually recycling them!!).

  • Dunna

    I get four newspapers every Sunday from the Idaho Statesman and I have on file at their office to but papers on my front porch hidden away from people driving or walking by my house. I have not had any problems so far and I have had a subscription with the Idaho Statesman from over 2 years.

  • Monica Flynn

    I have gone to buy the Seattle PI at Safeway and all the coupons were gone. From a newspaper sitting right there on the shelf. It’s so frustrating! Now I make sure there are coupons in it before I purchase extra papers.

  • couponer_before_ it_ was _cool!

    well if the statesman had actually prosecuted the women they caught red handed stealing papers and then made a story about it, they might have actually detoured people, instead all they did was say to people..hey go ahead and steal we wont do anythign, we will just “educate” you that is stealing, what a freakin joke!!! there is a cost to what we are doing there is a cost for paper, ink, printers, computers, internet services, time, gas, papers, or ordering inserts, buying coupons and lets not forget tax……this is why it will wear down after awhile because when they run all over the tv saying everything is free and its not even if you just pay tax its still not free!!

    the lady tonight was a perfect example she says she orders all her coupons and the way I fgigure it she got almost 1500 items valued at $3,000 she had to of paid at least$150.00 thats averaging them at only .10 each I am betting the 400 kitty food coupons that were 3.00 were probably .15-.25 each so walking out of the store paying $50.00 and then spending all that money on coupons not to mention the shipping which had to be 2 first class envelopes at 10.00 each its ridiculous to be like free free free…this show makes me insane….its like the train wreck you can’tt urn away from and with it being one of the highest rated tlc shows to date it is not going to be going away anytime soon!! as much as I hate the show i watch it so I can see all the aweful/fraudulent things they do and so I can defend my self against the comments about the show……..I swear if another stranger says, Ohhhhhh, your one of those ladies!!! I very well might snap, I dont even bring my binder in I keep all my “pulled” coupons in a little container and if I have to I go to the car to get a coupon, Its come to a point of being shameful to walk around with my pretty binder in all its glittery purple glory:-( its a sad sad time in the land of couponing

  • couponer_before_ it_ was _cool!

    and I really love how the statesman has managed to spin this whole no insert thing to be that all the couponers are stealing them when they are the ones not putting them in there, I have been at wags and at walmart when they cut the bundles open and they had no inserts…the statesman is once again full of bull and blaming the couponers…..NICE!!!

    • Kori

      I used to give classes (prior to my last baby) for the Press Tribune. They promised the inserts would be in the home delivery papers, but couldn’t promise that they’d be in all the papers sold to the stores…if they were short on inserts, the store papers didn’t get them. I was glad they clarified this point…because I’d always just assumed that someone was taking the coupons out.

  • Sarah

    I saw your site during Angelique’s segment, too bad she used the Similac wrong, it states Limit 1 per transaction. 🙁

  • Marie

    One of the reasons this may be happening is because they showed a woman on TLC’s Extreme Couponing that would go around picking up papers from the driveways of what she said were vacant, “foreclosed” homes.

  • Kori

    So, I can’t decide if I think the people who take the coupons from the recycling bins are stealing. If I put my newspapers in a donation box, I’d like that charity to receive the full donation. Maybe stealing is a strong word…it may not be legally wrong, but is it ethical?

  • Jenny Mertes

    My mom would love to use newspaper coupons, but she lives in a small town with no newspaper, and they don’t include coupon inserts if you subscribe by mail there. She’d have to drive 24 miles round trip to find a newspaper with inserts. Do other people have this problem? (It’s nice to have online, printable coupons now!)

    • Tracy

      I’ve heard that Red Plum mails inserts to areas that don’t receive them in the paper. It wouldn’t include the Smart Source or P & G, but it might be worth a try. Some coupons would be better than nothing.

  • cara

    I noticed that my neighborhood no longer gets the free newspaper on Tuesdays…the one with the free smart source inserts. Or, someone is stealing them, since I sometimes see the occasional paper that the thief missed as I walk my dog in the neighborhood. We used to get them early Tuesday mornings up until November of last year. It’s too bad because I don’t get the Albertsons or Safeway inserts, anymore, either. They just take the whole thing.

  • Katie

    After reading the article in the Statesman about the thefts I got online to see Statesman reader comments on the whole couponing thing. It was really eye opening to read what people who don’t coupon think of us couponers. Of course there were some really over the top comments, that we are all mormons who need to get a real job instead of spending time sneakily and illegally obtaining coupons to hold up the lines for the customers who actually pay for their groceries type of comments. Some mentioned the addiction and hoarding, I’m sure we’ve all seen some of that around here. One thing that I realized is that it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of trying to get something for free or cheap and not realize that most of the stuff that we are fighting for is junk food. Is it worth it to get up at 7 am on one of my two days off to fight for some processed food that my family probably shouldn’t be eating anyway and spend hours of my day off going through the line multiple times? I hope that if the show does continue that it gets more realistic and quits showing shifty and illegal behavior, stealing coupons from driveways and coupon fraud, come on how irresponsible is that? I wish the show would just go away, it makes me ill to watch 2 minutes of it, but it sounds like it’s a hit so it’ll be back. I for one am happy to see many of the Walgreens and Rite Aids have limits, that means I no longer waste my gas and get to leave with a couple of deals lately, yay!

  • JeanetteM

    I have a little different take on the coupon theft. I have couponed for years and in 2006 became a newspaper dealer for The Oregonian in my area. I have had problems over the years with coupon insert theft from inside papers as well as flat out full newspaper theft where people either pay for one paper in a rack and then take a stack or steal them out of someones driveway. If someone pays for one paper and steals a second I have lost any income I would have made. I think people who do this think of me as a faceless corporation, but this is part of the income that pays the bills at our house. I get very annoyed as a couponer and a business owner.
    Second – I get audited at least once a year for the unsold coupon inserts. I have to let them know and sign a document stating that I have either shredded or otherwise disposed of the inserts where they can’t be used. I am not allowed to donate them to churches or other charities either. I don’t know if this is strictly the case with this newspaper or if it is a nationwide law.
    So – to answer the question – YES the problem has increased since the TLC show, but my paper sales as well have increased.

  • Coupon Lady

    Ok perhaps we should all open a law book for our state or local laws on scavengers. or the collection of trash for purposes Because in my state…the MINUTE you throw something in your trash… becomes public property….hence the reason they try to educate people about what you are throwing away because ANYONE has the right to rummage through your garbage. Once you toss it in the dumpster and drive away it is NO LONGER your property. Once you toss your trash in the can and put it out to the curb it is NO LONGER your property. People seem to think that they can pick and choose what LAWS are really in effect…..the LAWS do not cover you once you throw something away…..
    THE ONLY THING I have noticed since the show started is increased petty and snarky people bickering about what so and so did and what others do……I take the inserts from the recycling bin at the school MY CHILD ATTENDS….that I PAY for her to attend….she doesn’t not attend public school. This is what I do…..every Sunday I go and I buy 12 papers…..I pull my inserts out of them……then I take ONE newspaper….I read it and then on Tuesday I take the huge pile of newspapers I bought……then the huge piles of newspapers from my husbands work they give him…..AND I take ALL the extra clippings that are left from the inserts from Sunday Clipping…….and I go in and I take all the inserts I see…I don’t dig…..and I then put the FIVE loads of recycling in there………..I do that because in my opinion they are getting more for their recycling fund but my dropping five LARGE loads in there……than by my taking MAYBE 10-20 inserts …….if you can try to steer away from petty banter about people “stealing” perhaps you can take the average larger metro city newspaper from Sunday….weigh it…and multiply it by we will say 20……..then take a stack of 20 inserts…..weigh it…….see which is more beneficial to the school MY deposit or donation ……OR those measly inserts………..because I have recycling pick up every week on Tuesday morning…..I could just as easily not waste the gas to make an extra trip up to the school every week in addition to my regular trip….so watch calling people theives unless you know what they are doing and if they are giving back. Honestly I think that the show is to provide us with an outlet or a way to see that we are like others out there……that we aren’t the freaks.. I have been couponing for about 8 years…..and also when I was growing up with my mother. In MY OPINION the newer shoppers the GREEDY people that clear shelves and cannot leave things for everyone….because we never cleared a shelf even though I have plenty of coupons…….Or my favorite telling everyone you are DONATING your stockpiles…..but not really doing it just to look at it and preen or show your friends like it is some exhibit. I dont always get free, nor do I care to try really. But you women that are all over the place pointing fingers and running your witch hunts on couponers that have done a million times better than you (yes even if they don’t have cutesy manicures so they get their hands dirty getting something that is tossed out………….
    What I do not agree with is people that DO steal them from your drive way……or from the store….THAT is theft and those people SHOULD be talked about…….the recycling thing…no you are out of your minds if you think that picking up trash and RECYCLING it in a progressive way is stealing….lmao……if I pulled out a plastic milk jug from trash cans up and down the block….and then washed it and cut it open and made it function as something….would you people think that was stealing……no…..because you don’t get to something or want to try something…..dont hide your jealousy behind the guise that you think that they are stealing…..they are also recycling and then re recycling the leftovers.

  • Coupon Lady

    not directed at “you people” Directed at the snarky people that actually consider removng the inserts from the trash as stealing. Once that can is put on a curb……it it no longer your property, it is actually tax payer property from the city/state. When you “abandon” your refuse….it is no longer yours. That is why we need to be careful of the confidential items we put in the trash. Because ANYONE has a right to go through your trash unless your city ordinance has an actual law in place for scavengers……which it more than likely wouldn’t because if it did it would block a lot of people that are dumb and throw things in the trash and then get arrested for the evidence….anyone and everyone can go through your trash…

  • Dawn

    Thanks for the GREAT deals at Sac Bee!!!!

    I get one sunday paper and I paid the 2 paper FAB FRUGAL Price – I am going to call to see if they can fix it and get a few more papers.

    Can you try to get a deal at the VACAVILLE REPORTER ? They are a local paper and carry the ads for my area which the BEE does not. They are a rip off!!! I was lucky that I got a special but get this! — They would only let me get ONE paper at the special deal AND to make matters worse if you lucked out and got a special they won’t deliver a 2nd paper to your address even at the regular price.

    They make no sense!! You would think they would want to sell papers!

  • Tracy

    In my city there is an ordinance that once something goes into the trash bin and it is put out on the curb for pickup, the contents are the property of the city. This is to prevent theft of recyclable bottles and cans, which help offset the cities costs. I don’t see how taking newspaper inserts is any different. I don’t think anyone would ever get fined for this however. Also if someone is desperate enough to sort through my bin, I figure they really need what’s in there and that’s not a problem for me! I think the issue that people are complaining about is missing coupons from papers or newspaper theft. That is a problem!

  • cindy

    i live in springfield mo and there is a older lady that goes out about 4 am every sunday and buys on paper from several stands and takes all the inserts. me and some of my other co workers have went over there before we knew about it and wasted $1.75 on a paper and NO inserts! she also goes to local businesses that are not open on sundays and swipes there newspapers. several of us contacted the springfield newleader and told them about it and they said they cant do anything! cant do anything about this lady stealing hundreds of sunday papers! it has got so bad here that they are even digging through the papers at walmart and buying one paper, and taking the inserts out of the rest of them and stuffing them in the one paper they buy! and the real frustrating part is there is “someone” which we know who….that is selling inserts on ebay in lots of 5 for almost $6 a pop that is from springfield! so she is buying one paper, taking 30 inserts and profiting hundreds of $$$ every week! this is really frustrating. i think in my town they should not put coupons on sundays in the stands, and make you either sub to the paper or go in to a gas station to buy them. this would cut down on alot of this crap.

  • Mom to boys

    Looking at the Sunday papers in the racks at the front a grocery store on a Monday, all of the inserts had been removed. ALL OF THEM! I told the manager of the store and we brainstormed for a few minutes, the only solution we came up with was to put the papers at the register for purchase.

    I now get multiples delivered to my house (I coupon for multiple households). My carrier gives a very polite, quiet knock at my door when she delivers the Sunday papers and she will be tipped extra for doing so on our bill. So far, I have made it to my papers before unethical couponers.

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