Recently TLC launched "Extreme Couponing." Unfortunately they are using their tried-and-true genre of exposing the unusual behavior of those profiled. The subtitle of the show could be "A Special Subgroup--Close To Becoming Hoarders."
The general perception of active couponers might be negative; but about a year ago a local coupon blogger, Coupon Katie, laid out the truth. Fortunately when I read it, I was in a teachable mood. She stressed that "It's all about BALANCE." At that moment I pledged to, indeed, keep it balanced.
After you have been couponing, you understand that there are cycles of sales. You'll get your chance at that super-duper toilet paper sale in a couple of months, so a couple months stockpile is probably going to hold you until the next great opportunity to buy cheap.
I am a business school graduate. One important thing I learned in school was "money now is worth more than money in the future." So, even a dollar or two applied to get a sale isn't worth it if you are not going to use the product until months later. Those dollars could be used TODAY to reduce your debt load or put into your retirement plan. That is why I don't understand people who save coins--make those pennies work for you!!!
If you DO get big into couponing, don't let the missed opportunities obsess you. Couponing is much like a sport. If you get news of a deal that, with a coupon, will actually MAKE you money, for example, and somehow you don't have that coupon in your file: show some character and take the loss gracefully. Think of yourself as a golfer who constantly looks at ways to take a few strokes off. Sometimes you get the shot, sometimes you don't.
I'd like to add that you need to look at the big picture--your entire life--and make sure that there is balance. For example, my husband is not a big fan of my couponing; so when he suggests doing something on a Sunday afternoon (that traditional time when couponers all around the nation are at their kitchen tables, gleefully mutilating the Sunday newspaper inserts), I would never say "nope, gotta get caught up on coupon clipping." Husband comes first and way before couponing. (We've been married 36 years). Another note: whatever he suggests, however, better be cheap or free. Last Sunday we went to the East Tennessee History Center--it's free on Sundays ($5 other days).
Finally, a tip on how to respond when you are at the store and someone makes some "funny" comment about your notebook or your big stack of coupons that you pull out. I tell them it's my hobby, and "if you have a hobby, does it MAKE you money?" They can't respond. end of conversation. Cha-ching!