I've just started using coupons. I've already saved a great deal and have found I have to shop very differently. In the past, we would only shop for what we need and go to the stores that carried that item for the least. I now match up sales with coupons and although I might be buying something that I don't need yet, I will eventually need it and I am now saving a great deal. I recently bought 8 tubes of Crest toothpaste for 25 cents a tube by combining my coupons with a great sale. I don't need 8 tubes right now, but we will go through them. Last night we bought 6 boxes of Chex cereal for $1.17 a box. That's not a huge sale, but Chex cereal is usually twice as much. I try to buy more than one newspaper. Some of our stores (including our Walmart) will not accept coupons printed from the internet.
My 9 year old has watched the extreme couponing show and wants me to go dumpster diving. I guess he thinks it looks fun. I've had to explain to him that I won't be doing it and that I'm not extreme. Taking coupons/newspaper from recycle bins at the end of driveways is not illegal where I live. Once it's put out as trash, it's considered anyone's property. However, going through mailboxes is against the law. Dumpster diving without permission is also against the law.
In hard economic times, I think if someone were to ask neighbors for the inserts they do not use, most people would go out of their way to assist someone in trouble. I agree that people do extreme measures when they are faced with meeting basic needs. I do believe, however, when you behave ethically and morally even in extreme situations of survival, that blessings will come your way that far surpass any gain you can get by behaving in an unethical and immoral way.