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Ann Haney: The danger of becoming an extreme couponer

Ann Haney • Updated May 15, 2016 at 8:00 AM

We have all heard of extreme couponers. You might even be on the verge of becoming one yourself. What is an extreme couponer exactly, you might be wondering? The dictionary describes “extreme” as drastic or far beyond the norm.

Let’s look at some warning signs and see if you have the symptoms of this condition:

• An extreme couponer gets behind on their household duties, but ahead on their groceries.

• An extreme couponer will not rest until they find that one item the store was out of at another like store.

• An extreme couponer will get a rain check from every like store for the same item.

• An extreme couponer will take all that’s left on the shelf, saying it’s for the needy, but forgetting the needs of the other shoppers in the store.

• An extreme couponer will boast of their savings, but use them to buy more of something they don’t need, just to let it sit on their shelf.

• An extreme couponer will barricade the end cap until they have received all they want from it. Yes, this really did happen to me.

• An extreme couponer will be at the store when they open the first day of the sale.

• An extreme couponer will try faithfully to beat their last record and that of their best friend.

• An extreme couponer will take updated pictures of their stockpile with their cell phone so they can send it to all their friends. 

• An extreme couponer will station their children on “blinkie duty” to make sure they oblige the machines generosity. Yes, I used to be one. Keep reading to see how overcame this obsession.

As funny as these all sound, I know you have done at least one of these if you have couponed at all. No doubt, couponing is a lot of fun. However, extreme couponing can lead to disappointment. We often put such high expectations on ourselves, that it makes the possibility of success slim and causes us to endanger the success of others. 

Let me explain. Saver Susie arrives at the store when it opens. She piles the deals in her cart, clearing the shelves. She pays for her treasures then heads to the food bank where she is well-known for her generosity. She takes the rest home, still able to supply a community in case of a natural disaster. It only took five hours, all in a day’s work.

Meanwhile, Mary, mother of three, has planned some of these same deals on a $20 budget, all she has left for the week. She knows this will be enough to put food on her family’s table for one more week and is so thankful for the blessing of coupons as she heads to the store. She arrives at the store to find the shelves wiped clean. In tears she accepts the rain check not knowing how she will feed her family the rest of the week. Mary has now become a candidate for the food bank. You see, what Susie Saver meant for good, actually increased the need of others. The disaster is occurring and she is contributing to it.   

Often this leads others to discouragement in trying to use the resources God provides to increase their standard of living. The result is a person who often quits trying to improve their circumstances and settles for food stamps.  

Extreme couponing can be a contributing factor to poverty not prosperity.

This may sound crazy, but many people find themselves in circumstances just like Mary. I used to be one of those like Mary. Mary’s would much rather go to the store to buy these deals for her family, than to the food bank to receive them for free. All women want to feel the satisfaction of accomplishment through finding deals and providing for their families. Share your coupons with Mary and build her sense of accomplishment.

“Give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little...if I ‘m too full, I might get independent, if I’m poor, I might steal,” Proverbs 30:8.

What we do affects the lives of others. It is crucial that we maintain balance as to not hinder the lives of others in our pursuit to help. Let me go a little farther; you may have heard the saying, “give a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime”.  We can be over- givers and hinder the ability of others to stand alone. People can easily become dependent on charity. If you buy your teenager a new car every time he wrecks it, he will never have a need to want to drive safely. It is the same with charity. We must give, but give within reason, to encourage hope in one’s own abilities. People need to find their value through who they are, not who you can be to them. 

“A leech has twin daughters named “Gimme” and “Gimme more,” Proverbs 30:15.

Let’s look at one more aspect of over giving. Extreme couponers often keep others from having the ability to give; thus hindering their receiving. Everyone should be given the opportunity to give, but not everyone has a big budget to do this from. We know that scripture tells us, “Give and it shall be given unto you,” Luke 6:38.

However, one person was not meant to do all the giving. Couponing should be consumers working together as a team to make a positive impact on our over-all economy. Blessers are those who find balance in their blessing and budget in their buying. 

One more note on extreme couponers – they leave managers with the unpleasant job of explaining why the shelves are empty on the second day of the sale. Managers do not want to issue rain checks all week because Saver Susie arrived on day one of the sale and cleaned them out.

Deal wisely, wisely give, and give hope to the lives of others. Don’t let the “Extreme Coupon Critter” infect you.

If you are interested in learning how to apply God’s word to your life concerning your finances and couponing, you will not want to miss “Changing Your Life Through Couponing,” an in-depth five-part teaching series from a Biblical life application perspective. Contact me at ann@annhaney.com to schedule this class at your church.

On Wednesday from noon until 1 p.m., I will be at Greenhouse Ministries in Murfreesboro. 

On May 21 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., I will be at New Heart Christian Church at 49 Business Park Drive in Lebanon. Contact Casey at casey.see.pw7a@statefarm.com for more information. 

Ann Haney is homeschool mother of 19-plus years to six children, including five entrepreneurs, ordained minister, CEO of Aaron Publishing, founder of Ann Haney Ministries and Living In Abundance, nationwide motivational speaker, coupon specialist, television host, empowerment coach and bestselling author of 18 published products, including her books, “Exploding Into Successful Entrepreneurship,” “Single Steps In A Married World” and “Changing Your Life Through Couponing Financial Empowerment Series.” Contact Ann at ann@annhaney.com to schedule a speaking engagement, individual coaching or view her website for more information at annhaney.com.

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