The schedule of an Extreme Couponer can be taxing, to say the least. Cathy has a room in her home which functions as a storage area containing months of both food and non-food items. Days and evenings are focused on coupon organization and targeted shopping. While these women shop, research, and clip, they also blog. All of this is chronicled in the show devoted to the lifestyle that these two women have pioneered.
One almost has to step back and wonder at the sort macro-economic, mass-psychological irony and obviousness of the show. In an age of reduced incomes and reduced hours at work, people are almost bound to fetishize and become fixated on reduced prices. One wonders if a show like this could have taken off anytime during the period book-ended by 2007 on the one side and 1945 (the end of the Great Depression and WWII—when "war-rationing" was a hip way to be patriotic). From Groupon’s IPO and the proliferation of Groupon clones, to the bounty of online coupon sites that can help you save money on anything from a pizza to a haircut (like Valpak, for example), our collective consciousness seems to be expressing our relatively new cultural anxiety about our weekly and monthly budgets in the form of coupon mania!
But this is not just the story of how fearless women struggle to obtain the best food discounts. It is a story about how two very smart women have taken a newly learned skill and used it, with no financial investment of their own, to build a successful business. They are beholden to no one but their audience, and according to statscrop.com, their business/blog, Fabulesslyfrugal.com, is only three years old and currently worth $241,325. It brings in $157 a day or $57,305 per year.
You’ve got to be impressed by these fabulous moms, who with no money and no MBAs are forging a successful living from a hobby developed out of desperation.
For the moms, couponing may be a way of life and it is certainly a business. But without direction, it can probably be dangerous to many consumers. Most food coupons are for processed food. If discounts on this type of product are tempting buyers to eat less healthy food items, then people are putting their health at risk. It is possible to save hundreds of dollars in food bills, just by eating a more vegetarian diet and seasonal produce.