OK, let’s get the big surprise out of the way first: Those extreme couponer shows are mostly fake. The deals are not real, the stores often played along or bent their rules for the show, and the mile-high stacks of coupons are often fakes.
In one case, the mother of a 16-year-old couponer had to pay the grocery store back for the 408 free rolls of toilet paper he got on an episode of “Extreme Couponing” using fraudulent coupons. Of course, the show didn’t let you in on that bit of information. Instead, viewers were left believing he walked out with a massive supply of TP on the cheap. Guess his mom got the crappy end of that deal.
Real extreme couponing isn’t really that extreme. Oftentimes, it involves a less-than-full cart of groceries worth $30 that you get for $5 or less. Sometimes, if you’re really good, you end up paying pennies or even get cash back, but those are rare moments.