6 reasons to ignore extreme couponing
Maybe you get the product for free, but it comes with other costs.
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Money Talks News.
The height of frugality? Perhaps it's to legally obtain merchandise for free -- something for nothing. This is what drives extreme couponers, who have mastered the art of combining discounts on household products to eliminate some or even all of their cost. And it gets some of them on TV reality shows like TLC's "Extreme Couponing."
But as The Wall Street Journal reported recently, major retailers are now cracking down on this practice. So maybe this is a good time to ask: Was it ever really worth it? Even when you get a product for free, it still has other costs.
Here are six reasons why most people maybe shouldn't aspire to be extreme coupon collectors (or TLC reality stars):
Tip: Many people can make money with other activities in their spare time. Keep track of how much time you spend on this hobby and decide if it's actually more worthwhile than other opportunities.
Tip: "Free" is just another price point, and price should never be the only factor in your shopping habits. Post continues after video.
Go for bigger discounts. We have a saying in my family: "Pinch twenties, not pennies." Are grocery store coupons really the most valuable discounts you can find?
Tip: If you are going to spend your time searching for great deals, set your sights a little higher than 10 cents off a packet of tuna fish. Far more lucrative deals are out there, from "travel hacks" to a myriad of savings on the Money Talks News Deals & Coupon page.
Tip: Focus on the unit cost of each item. For example, each week I find that a different-sized container of the same brand of orange juice has a lower price per ounce. And check out "7 things you should always buy generic."
Tip: Be aware of anyone in line in front of you who has a huge binder with them. And if you do engage in extreme couponing, be polite and forewarn your fellow shoppers in line.
Tip: Frugality is important, but unless you've taken a vow of poverty, it's not an end unto itself. Never forget that saving money should be a means to a better life, not just free stuff.
While I admire the ingenuity and dedication of extreme couponers, I question the value of their pursuit. I have yet to be convinced that extreme couponing is how my family should be spending its leisure time.
More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Nearly half of family caregivers spend more than $5,000 a year, plus caregiving affects their jobs and retirement plans.
- America's most counterfeited products
- Driver survey: Men irked by phone talkers, women by lane cutters
- 5 reasons to take the company buyout (and 5 not to)
- Tired of Fed-watching, saver? Check out these banks instead
- New software targets credit card thieves at gas pumps
- Thinking of holiday shopping? Do a reality check first
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'