TLC’s 'Extreme Couponing'—the back story

By Sandra Gordon on February 11, 2013 12:01:00 am

Thinkstock119210835_SSBLOG_CouponshealthyI don’t know about you but I’ve always wondered how real people get on reality shopping shows like TLC’s "Extreme Couponing." So when extreme couponer Jessica Hacker came through my inbox, I gave her a call. The 27-year-old mom of four from Caldwell, Idaho, spends just $160 on groceries per month, and that includes toiletries, cleaning supplies, medicine, and, until not too long ago, diapers. That impressive fact netted her a spot on three "Extreme Couponing" episodes. How did she do it?

After seeing the pilot episode of "Extreme Couponing" in 2010, Hacker was disgusted. “People on the show were couponing to buy candy bars, ramen noodles, and (soda) pop because they were free,” she says. Meanwhile, she had spent the previous four years carefully using coupons on healthy staples to feed her family. “The economy hit us hard,” she says. Hacker had lost her administrative job and her husband’s contracting business wasn’t exactly thriving. Couponing for necessities was a necessity.

As a result, “ 'Extreme Couponing' infuriated me,” she says.

Hacker joined an e-mail petition against the show and mentioned her more practical couponing techniques to make ends meet. TLC producers, apparently lurking in cyberspace, saw Hacker’s post. That led to a surprise phone call, asking Hacker to be on the very show she was protesting.

After saying “Thanks, but no thanks,” payment was mentioned—$500 per episode, which can buy a lot of groceries, especially if you’re a coupon shark like Hacker is. With three teenage stepchildren to feed and a baby in diapers, Hacker said yes, appearing on three episodes of "Extreme Couponing" in all.

Hacker’s experience getting on reality TV was serendipitous. But her couponing and money-saving techniques are what sold her. They are more direct routes to getting on reality shopping shows these days. If you think you’ve got what it takes, why not apply? TLC’s Extreme Couponing is currently off the air. But the network is casting for other reality shows, such as Extreme Cheapskates.

In two weeks: Tips for slasing those grocery bills.

Subscribe to ShopSmart today!
Sandra Gordon

Sandra Gordon

Posted at 12:01:00 AM in
Bargains | Coupons | Family | Featured | Food & Drink | Home | Money & Shopping | Sales | Sandra Gordon | Saving money | Shopping

Print This Page

Patricia frye

05:26:25 PM on Thu Feb 21 2013

Please put the digital subscription on the I pad.

Robin Melen

01:33:06 PM on Fri Feb 22 2013

We're working on it, Patricia! ;)

Post a Comment

All comments are reviewed by our moderators, and will not appear on this blog unless they have been approved. Comments that do not relate directly to the blog entry's contents, are commercial in nature, contain objectionable or inappropriate material, or otherwise violate our User Agreement or Privacy Policy, will not be approved. Approved posts generally appear within 24 hours of receipt. For general inquiries not related to this blog, please contact Customer Service.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In