I did and had fairly mixed emotions. First of all, I am only a casual coupon user by any means. Once a year (going on right now) I use a lot of coupons and "stockpile" enough bath and beauty products to last my family for a year. And then I stop. I do use them sporadically for food, but we tend to eat the kinds of foods (fresh meats, vegetables, etc.) that don't have coupons. I always look for a coupon code when I order something online (favorite source: retailmenot.com) and keep up with what stores are having great deals (free items) on hip2save.com (which has a great discussion going on about "Extreme Couponing").
My main issue with couponing is I buy a lot of things that I don't necessarily need. Like this week, I went to CVS to get some shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. I ended up buying make-up. It was on clearance, I had a coupon, and they gave me money back. In the end I spent less than $20 and got $64 worth of makeup, 3 2-liter cokes, plus the bath products I went for - plus $5 back to spend on whatever I'd like. It was a good deal, but definitely not a "need" by any means.
That was my biggest problem with the show - although the participants are speaking up that they donate a lot of their haul, it looked like people buying too much of things that they couldn't possibly need, much less use by the time it would expire. It's just another version of greed.
Anyway, my mom came up with a nice alternative to the coupon binders a lot of people use. Two of the people on the show were shown using the conventional coupon binder - basically a large binder with clear plastic inserts similar to the kind a baseball collector would use. Similar to this:
|From You Paid What?!?|
When I came to my parent's house, my mom showed me her coupon binder and once again proved that you don't have to spend a lot of money - just use what you have on hand. What she had was an old magnetic photo album. The kind where you peel up the plastic, put the photo underneath, and then seal it up again? These albums are actually not very good for storing your photos - but it's perfect for couponing. We upgraded to a larger (100 page) album she also had on hand (with a price sticker of $3.99, but I'm not sure where she originally got it) to get more room, and also because it has 3 rings so you can even punch holes in your ads or add pocket folders.
Here's a (crappy) picture of the outside:
See how you can fit all sizes of coupons without folding? And I love the stiff pages versus the flimsy baseball card holders. And you don't have to worry about anything falling out if you turn it upside down.
I'm sure my mom isn't the only person in the world who has thought of this - but I would have never come up with it, so I thought I would share.