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Archive for Monday, November 19, 2012

Eudora family uses coupon-clipping prowess to help schools, community

TLC’s ‘Extreme Couponing’ to feature the Topils on Tuesday

November 19, 2012

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Armed with a black Sharpie marker, 15-year-old Broderick Topil and his mother Becky scan through pages of newspaper inserts looking for coupons at their Eudora residence Monday evening. The pair, who spend about 10 hours per week cutting coupons, will be featured on TLC's "Extreme Couponing"  show Tuesday evening.

Armed with a black Sharpie marker, 15-year-old Broderick Topil and his mother Becky scan through pages of newspaper inserts looking for coupons at their Eudora residence Monday evening. The pair, who spend about 10 hours per week cutting coupons, will be featured on TLC's "Extreme Couponing" show Tuesday evening.

Video

Eudora family featured on TLC's "Extreme Couponing"

Members of the Topil family of Eudora aren’t your typical shoppers.

When they go to the store, they go armed with envelopes full of coupons. They can fill a grocery cart, or two, crammed with hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise. And when the cashier tallies it all up, they may end up owing only a few dollars.

And sometimes, the store actually ends up owing them money.

“I don’t know if I’d consider it a way of life,” says Broderick Topil, a sophomore at Eudora High School and the lead coupon organizer of the family. “But all of our stuff revolves around it, like grocery shopping and everything. If we don’t have a coupon, we probably won’t get it.”

A storeroom in the family’s home gives visitors the impression that they could open their own grocery store. Rows of warehouse-like shelves are stocked with things the family buys in bulk, everything from canned goods and bottled soda to shaving razors and paper towels. There is even an unusually large supply of feminine hygiene products.

Not all of it is meant for themselves, however. The Topil family also uses their coupon-clipping prowess to buy supplies for their school. They also donate some of their haul to charities, and they’re preparing to send a shipment of goods to the East Coast to help out victims of Superstorm Sandy.

“Right now, we’re planning on sending 200 packages of razors to the East Coast,” Broderick said.

Other times, Broderick said, the family stocks up on things they think other people in the community might need.

“Sometimes we’ll get things we don’t really need, and when that’s the case, we’ll give them away,” he said.

Broderick said he started becoming an aggressive clipper by watching the reality television show “Extreme Couponing.”

Tuesday night, the family will be featured in a segment of that show. The program airs at 9 p.m. on The Learning Channel (TLC), channel 268 on the Knology cable system.

“About a year ago, we were having trouble financially, so I kind of stepped up and tried to find a way make it work for the family,” he said. “I saw the show and decided to try it for myself.”

In the storeroom behind the shelves, the Topils have receipts taped to the wall like trophies to commemorate some of their more memorable shopping trips.

One in particular is a receipt for the purchase of 109 different items. After redeeming all of his coupons, and accounting for sales tax, the receipt shows the store paid them $99.23.

Gathering up all those coupons can be an extreme task in itself, requiring measures like “Dumpster diving” to find advertising inserts from newspapers that other people have thrown away.

The family also receives six Sunday newspapers at home, and it’s a regular family event where he and his sisters, Danelle and Michelle, sift through them all, cutting out all the usable coupons they can find.

More typically, though, Broderick says he goes online to various coupon clipping services where he can order large quantities of coupons and have them delivered for just the cost of shipping.

Admittedly, couponing isn’t a typical hobby for a high school boy. But Broderick says his friends at school have come to respect it, especially after seeing him followed around by a network camera crew for three days.

“They all thought it was really cool,” he said. “They all thought it was awesome that someone from small-town Eudora, Kansas, is going to be on national television.”

Comments

Katara 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm torn on this. Using coupons is an excellent way to help reduce your expenses and get your budget in line BUT TLC's Extreme Couponing is the worst place to get coupon info.

The show has already been outed as having some of the shoppers using fraudulent/fake coupons, misusing coupons (using them for products that the coupon is not for) and pushing stores into waiving their coupon policies (allowing unlimited coupons when there are limits to how many can be used in a transaction, doubling coupons when normally no doubling is allowed and giving cash back when there are coupon overages). It is a highly misleading show and gives couponers a bad image (Who needs 77 mustards in their stockpile if they don't like it and don't plan on donating it?).

I wish this family best of luck and I am very impressed that a teenager is being smart and savvy about money but think it is wise for them not to get mixed up any further in this TV show.

Broderick1 2 years, 1 month ago

I can agree that this show is extreme, but so am I and that is why I decided to move forward with this opportunity. This show is awesome and I got my chance to show the entire nation how I can coupon. I do not shop like this all the time, though. I ALWAYS save 50% on everyday groceries. My actual trip for the show took WEEKS to prepare. I really hope that you guys watch the show and see how the coupon kid does it!

Katara 2 years, 1 month ago

I have similar savings and it is great that you pay attention to sales so you can match coupons but TLC's Extreme Couponing show is incredibly misleading. It portrays your big savings as something that happens as a normal use of coupons. Both you and I know how it works and that savings of 100% or getting money back all the time does not happen. They can call it "extreme" but it still is portrayed as normal couponing behavior.

People watch the show to learn about how couponing works but as I said before this show does not teach actual everyday couponing that would benefit people and it has promoted & aired some very shady practices. Teaching people how to misuse coupons hurts everyone. The stores loses money on those products because they can't legitimately redeem them with the manufacturers. Shoppers are hurt because stores put more restrictions on coupon usage because of coupon misuse and the loss of money.

I will be watching the show tonight and will be rooting for you.

brokenwing1026 2 years, 1 month ago

Personally, I think that it would have been great if a local store had been at least featured, but no, Piggly Wiggly was where the show was taped. The closest Piggly Wiggly that I know of is more than 1 1/2 hours away. My guess would be that no local store would allow the show to tape here. I didn't see any receipts on the wall of fame from Piggly Wiggly. And conveniently Missouri charges tax on the value after coupons have been deducted rather than before like Kansas, so that was worth about 9% of the pre-coupon total. It's all for a show. Sure Wal-Mart will give overage on coupons when the amount of the coupon is more than the sales price of the item, but they aren't going to allow taping. Dillons (here in Lawrence anyway) has a limit on the number of like coupons that they will accept & they do not give overage. Hy-vee does not double and will not give overage, same for Price Chopper and Target. Henhouse has doubling up to $.50. Other local stores may double up to $.49 or even $.50, but they don't allow customers to profit from using coupons.

Also, ordering bulk coupons online is expensive. It isn't just the cost of shipping. There is a "clipping fee" assessed per coupon. Add the cost of the coupons, the fuel to get to the store, the weekly newspaper subscriptions, and all of the time involved, are you really saving all that much? To coupon on an extreme level is not all that beneficial. Airing these shows creates greed. And it makes the manufacturers decrease the values of coupons and stores to limit policies, stop doubling, etc. In the long run, it's not a win for anyone. Sure getting 6 papers per week is reasonable, but "extreme" shopping is not. And if you are ordering coupons online, keep in mind that while you may not have obtained those coupons illegally, it is very likely that the source did. I'm willing to bet that the majority of the time these coupons come from a newspaper carrier who risks his/her job every week by stealing the inserts from unsold papers and selling them to the coupon clipping site or selling them directly. It's greed. It's theft.

I use coupons. I often get 5 copies of the paper. However, because of this show, many stores, cashiers, and customers either are moody when I use the coupons or super nosy because they think I'm "extreme". How did you get those coupons, what do you do with your stuff, are you an extreme couponer, etc are often normal questions asked. Um, I got them from the paper, I'm going to eat the popcorn, and no I'm not extreme. I'm normal. I'm trying to save a few bucks here and there buying products that I can use.

brokenwing1026 2 years, 1 month ago

Fantastic, this family is sending razors to help hurricane Sandy victims. Really? Am I supposed to be really excited about that? Is that supposed to make it a feel good story? Do you think that is the most needed item right now? Everyone is running around lost without disposable BIC razors? I doubt it. However, in the show, this family did actually "make" money ($1.50 each I think it was) on each of the 200 razors purchased. Donate the razors to a local homeless shelter or other nonprofit organization & send that money that was made to the red cross to help the hurricane victims. That is what is helpful. Not the razors.

In reality, this show is isn't but. It's staged. It's planned. Yes, the purchases happened. Yes, the totals were real. But like Broderick said in his previous post, he spent WEEKS planning for this trip. That is because it takes weeks to obtain those coupons and for a sale and the coupons to align in the universe just right. The point of my post is to let people realize that coupons can be used on a regular basis by normal people to help save money for their families without being extreme, without taking WEEKS to prepare, and without taking advantage of something that will inevitably change the way that coupons are made available for everyone.

Katara 2 years ago

So, I watched the show. I really hope that the disrespectful behavior you displayed toward your mother and sisters is not your normal behavior. I don't know what it is about this show that brings out such rudeness in people.

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