I recently read an article where the author gave 8 Reasons Not To Coupon. I understand that it was probably an assignment given to a “journalist,” but overall the article kind of annoyed me. I do not coupon directly, but I do save a ton of money using the coupons that my wife prepares for me. Using coupons with sales at drug stores I am able to get several items each week where I can buy products for free or even make money. My wife puts the coupons into groups with the corresponding savings card and I do the shopping. Here is a brief rundown of the articles complaints:
You have to buy a newspaper each week to get the coupons: My thought is that plenty of people already buy the paper and it would not cost them extra to use the coupons. I also know plenty of people who ask others who do get the paper to save the coupons for them. I am not sure where this person lives, but the Sunday paper where I live costs $2. That was not a typo. I did not forget a 0. It really only costs $2. I know this because when there are a lot of good coupons in the paper I buy more than one. That is right, not only do I buy a paper, just for the coupons, but I may buy another as well. There is a resource called the Internet that tells my wife about the good coupons in the paper. The Internet also has plenty of printable coupons that I can print on my printer, in black only, with a refilled ink cartridge.
The act of couponing takes time: She refers to doing coupons as she watches TV as a distraction from many other things that she could be doing as she watches TV. I view the watching TV as the distraction. My wife and I cut and sort while we talk to each other. We do this instead of watching TV. Sometimes I can do another chore while she works on coupons and we can talk about our day.
People will spend more money because they are using coupons: This is the basic claim for her next three points. She claims that people will go to a store that they normally do not go to in order to get one thing with a coupon. While they are there they will obviously fill their cart with other things that they do not have coupons for, thus making any coupons savings moot. She also claims that they may only need to buy one 50 cent tub of yogurt, but be forced to buy four for a dollar and a half because of a coupon. Another is that they will buy a national brand item with a coupon instead of buying the store brand next to it that would have been cheaper.
If you do not have the willpower to go into a store and only buy what you need, you are going to overspend. But if you have coupons, you may not overspend by as much. If I go to a store that I normally do not go to for one item that I have a coupon for, I walk out with my item and then go to the next store. I will also note that I will not use more gas than the savings. Maybe I am smarter than the author of the article that I read, but I imagine that I am not alone.
On that same note, I can do simple math in my head to determine that the store brand for $1.79 is cheaper than the national brand for $2.35, even if I have a coupon for 50 cents off, but the national brand is cheaper if I have a coupon for $2 off if I buy three. That covers the buying more than I need of an item as well. You see, I have an object in my kitchen called a refrigerator. It allows me to store those other three containers of yogurt in an environment similar to where I found them in the store, until I am ready to consume them.
There are so many repeat coupons: It seems like every week while she is shirking some other chore while she watches TV, the author is cutting out the same coupons from the paper that she did not want to buy. When I see the same coupons, I usually say ‘Yea!’ because that means I can get more free stuff at CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid etc next month. If there is a coupon for an item that you do not use and will never buy, swap it with someone who does or (shock of shocks) do not cut it out.
You will become a slave to coupons: She goes on with an elaborate story about going to the grocery store and wanting to buy a $4 tub of ice cream. She will just buy the ice cream whereas the coupon slaves would wait until there was a coupon for it. Then they will pine for the ice cream and it will tear the very fabric of their soul to not have the ice cream.
If I am a slave to savings, so be it. I would not buy the $4 ice cream — period. I am not going to pine or cry about it, just not buy it. For the record I think I paid a total of $10 for the last five tubs of ice cream that I bought, plus I have a rebate check on the way from one of the tubs as well.
Coupon shopping takes longer: On a recent trip to a grocery store with triple coupons, I did indeed spend an extra ten minutes looking for a few items that I had a coupon for. I also saved $49 with my coupons. $294 hour is an acceptable rate for me. Some people might make more than that and would indeed not want to “waste” those ten minutes. I doubt that they would throw the coupons away to speed up the trip if they realized that they could save $49 though.
In all seriousness, couponing is an art. Some artists are better than others. I think that everybody could benefit from at least checking the Internet for coupons from their favorite brands. Most people would make back several times the cost of the paper if they used coupons for the items that they were going to buy anyway. A few people can end up with an almost never ending stream of free items to either use or donate. I have a friend who ends up with so many groceries that she gets for free or nearly free, that every other month she will go a week or more without buying anything. She simply uses the surplus from her pantry. I think it is silly to give reasons why saving money is not all it is cracked up to be, which is what the article was saying.