5 reasons I don't clip coupons
I'm not a health nut, but the last thing I need is another excuse to buy a frozen pizza and Pop-Tarts.
This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.
People love coupons. According to Nielsen Clearing House, an industry leader in coupon marketing and redemption, 78% of consumers report using coupons on a regular basis.
I'm not one of these people. Though clipping coupons is usually the first thing that comes to mind when folks think of frugality and thrift, I argue that it's time to put down the scissors. Here's why. (See also: "Extreme couponing? 5 reasons why I'll pass.")
1. You usually have to buy something to get a coupon
Though some coupons are free or accessible online at no charge, most of them are still found tucked in that old standby, the Sunday newspaper. I don't read the paper, and I don't want to have to buy something in order to be offered the chance to save money. It seems contradictory and is a bit too complicated for my taste.
2. Coupons attempt to modify behavior
Manufacturers want me to save 50 cents on that pint of ice cream for one reason only -- to get me in the habit of eating it. It's simple. And it's a claim that the manufacturers and the coupon industry would be the first to admit. Coupons exist to suggest new products and to habituate shoppers to particular products and brands. Then later, at 3 in the morning when I need that pint of Rocky Road in the very worst way -- poof! No more coupons. No thanks. (Post continues below video.)
3. Coupons encourage overbuying
Often, the money we save with a coupon applies only when buying multiple items. Even though each item may be cheaper in the long run with the coupons, why should I have to buy multiples? What if I don't end up liking that new brand of coffee? What if that brand of cheese has a bad aftertaste? Who should be the lucky recipient of all my surplus java and Colby Jack?
4. The savings vs. time investment is low with coupons
Couponing requires the regular purchase of a newspaper at best. At worst, it requires joining some coupon exchange club and buying a handy organizer. Then I have to clip, file and wait for double-coupon day. And while I'm at it, I should also join my grocery store's loyalty program to boost my savings even more. With this much effort, are the savings really worth it? Wouldn't buying generic save me just as much without all the hassle?
5. Coupons typically push prepackaged, processed foods
I seldom see coupons for apples or broccoli. Maybe they exist, and I've just blinded myself to an entire category of things that require clipping. But it seems to me that coupons generally push convenient, prepackaged and processed food. I'm not a health nut, but the last thing I need is another excuse to buy a frozen pizza and Pop-Tarts.
Perhaps I've overstated my case, and I certainly don't mean to disparage diehard couponers out there. It's just that I can't quite see what all the fuss is about. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for saving money. I'm just not sure that couponing achieves that goal in the long run. Looking for sales on things I'd buy anyway, stocking up when I find a smoking deal on something I really love, gravitating toward generics and store brands whenever possible -- these are my tried-and-true tactics.
Still, Nielsen Clearing House says I'm firmly in the minority of shoppers with my coupon-free wallet. Heck, 1.75 billion coupons were redeemed in the first six months of 2011 alone. That's a whole lot of clipping, and I must be missing something. If you're serious about couponing, please fill me in -- I'm free most Sundays.
More from Wise Bread and MSN Money:
Do you use toothpaste? toothbrushes? Deorderant? Shampoo? Conditioner? Razors? Body Wash? Dish Soap? Laundry detergant?
Then maybe you might want to think about couponing. I'm 26 years old and I agree with you about the food items, however when it comes to items like those mentioned, I haven't paid a penny towards those items within the past 6 years of couponing. Which saves me more money then I could imagine, allowing me to enjoy a very good life.
WOW !!! The person who wrote this is way off base..I use coupons for what I like and need..Nothing else..If you feel like you are forced to purchase something because of coupons. I say --HMMM..Shop wisely...
P.S. Don't buy what you don't need
As in most things, there is a middle ground between always and never. I only use coupons for things I use. I'm a journalist, so I always read the Sunday paper -- kind of surprised you don't -- and it takes a few minutes to flip through the coupon section to see if there are coupons for any products I use. If there are, I clip. If not, I don't. It doesn't have to be extreme.
someone...obviously you don't know much about coupons. There are coupons for things other than food (household cleaners, toilet paper, paper towels, magazines, just to name a few), but also for healthy food such as kashi products, oranges, orange juice and yogurt. When I'm not sure on a topic, I don't respond because I don't believe that I know everything, and I don't want to seem ignorant.
This is a very ignorant article to suggest that all coupons are for food. Maybe some more experience and research would help.
OK people let me clarify - YES people like the one lady on extreme couponing who bought 100 boxes of cereal that no-one in her family would eat are yes STUPID! unless she were to turn around and donate it to a local food shelf! BUT for the rest of us SAVVY shoppers we ONLY buy things we would normally buy!!! DUH!!! so get off the rant about buying things you don't need!!
I havn't been couponing for a while but have not needed to buy TP for about 6 months! And got ALL of them for less than 15 cents a roll!!! That's not dumb that's very SMART!! Maybe you all are rich and can afford to buy things without coupons but for the rest of us average Joes WE WILL USE COUPONS and have enough items in store for at least a year!! How about you??? if we had a war TODAY how long could you survive on the few items you have in your house???
It makes me sick to go to the store and have to buy something without a coupon and without it being on sale!! Hamburger is over $4.00 a pound!!! Holy cow!!! Butter too. I'll get it when its $2.25 a pound and I will have a coupon for at least 25 cents off!! How much will you pay???
and as far as standing in line while someone uses all their coupons...1. I always let people go before me and warn anyone who comes behind me that I am using coupons....PICK A DIFFERENT LINE!! 2.You had all the time in the world to shop so be patient with people who are broke and NEED to use coupons!! PICK A DIFFERENT LINE!!
Also the one guy on Exteme Couponing was EXTREMELY SMART!! He got over $22,000 worth of stuff for $275.00 (like toothpaste, tooth brushes, shampoo and conditioner, soap etc.) and said "I know I can't use all this stuff in my lifetime so I'm going to get my friends and neighbors together and make care packages for our military service members." NOW NOT ONLY DID HE DONATE $22,000 WORTH OF STUFF BUT HE ALSO CAN GET A TAX BREAK FOR THE DONATION!! WHAT A SMART MAN!!!!
If your not into coupons that's fine but don't bash the people who HAVE to use coupons to survive!!!
Ok Kentin Waits.. want some cold hard facts since you will have sunday morning free to read them? Lets address some of the points you make and debunk them with reality. First off, as a disclaimer, I am not an extreme couponer. I have been couponing for less than a year, and as of January 1st I began tracking my sales to see how I am doing. So the data below represents 1/1/12 to 4/25/12
1) Spent on papers $98
2) Saved with coupons from those papers: $1027.64
3) Overall savings: $929.64
Not bad for an investment of $98 right? So lets get some more numbers rolling. BTW this is for a family of 3, with a small child, and I used to spend anywhere from $200-$250 a week with diapers, wipes ect included. I had no stockpile, and no plan. We eat healthy, though we also have treats. I now have a small stockpile to last until the next great sale as well.
1) Total retail value of products purchased: $3954.85
2) Actual price paid for products OOP (out of pocket): $1418.06 ($83.41 average per week)
3) Total saved by price matching, couponing, buying whats fresh and seasonal, buying what is on sale at a rock bottom price, and using my stockpile to menu plan: $2536.59 (64%)
This takes me about 2-4 hours a week. So Kentin, I have to ask.. is 2-4 hours of your time too much to ask to save that much money?
I use coupons regularly. I turned my $200+ a week grocery budget to $50 a week or LESS. That includes toiletries, diapers, cat food, cat litter, treats, and food for a family of 3 + baby sitters 5 days a week so they are here for lunch. Stores like Target and Publix CONSTANTLY put out store coupons for vegetables, organic food, healthy food. We eat healthier now than we ever did
Also, there are more coupons than food coupons. I get name brand deoderants, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, soap, shampoo, conditioner for free regularly, if the store isnt "paying" me to take it out of the store for them. I also get name brand cleaners, laundry detergents for pennies on the dollar. All stuff I use regularly. And you do NOT have to buy 1 million of them either. You can get 2 or 3 or how many your family needs. How much do you non-coupon clippers pay to stay clean and fresh? Too much, I guarantee it. Walmart and Dollar General are now the MOST EXPENSIVE stores around and I refuse to step foot in them. When you stack coupons on top of sale items and pay $1.00 for a $6.00+ item originally, you are beating even Walmarts price of $4.
And the absolute BEST coupons in the whole world? a $5/$25 order coupon. it means you will get $5 off of a $25 order for anything in the store. doesnt matter. so you want to pick up $25 worth of fresh vegetables? you will get them for $20. And they stack, meaning you can use other manufacturer or store coupons along with that coupon.
Last, you all need to know I do not live in a state where coupons are doubled, tripled or anything like that. The value of the coupon in my hand is exactly what it says it is. I can only imagine how much more I would save if I did have a store that doubled the coupon value.
Huge Savings with coupons is real. If you want to stretch your paycheck, pay off bills faster, have extra money for vacations with your family, have food in the cupboards at the end of the month, you will learn how to coupon. For those of you that dont need extra money, please by all means keep shopping the way you are. If anyone is interrested in learning how to coupon to really save money for your family, go to krazycouponlady dot com or southernsavers dot com
I get the sunday newspaper only just for the coupons and i love them. They pay for the paper ($1 per week) and save us some extra money. However, I don't fall for items that we don't use or processed food. My faves are regular personal care items (yes, they are mostly new products coming to the market but my family and I get to try the best out there for less, like toothpaste) and necessary household items (cleaning, zip lock bags, detergents, etc.) I only like a coupon if it's close to $1 OFF or more and I buy the smallest size package allowed at Wallmart to get the most bang for my buck. Sometimes we get great coupons for coffee and tea and we get to try new flavors which we wouldn't have bought otherwise. Being flexible about the products we use is key. OH, before I forget, the newspaper is also good for high end restaurant savings - we treat ourselves to a nice dinner at Black Angus once every few months for a special occasion using their coupon and save $15 off the bill. :)
I treat coupons like found money. I never count on them. First, I only use coupons for items that I am already going to buy. This keeps the clutter down and saves on the temptation to buy something that I normally wouldn't. And, to make the time issue pay a little better, I only use coupons that are for 75 cents per item (not 75 cents when you buy 3). Granted, this system really limits the coupons available to me, but then, the couple of bucks a week that I save is like finding cash on the sidewalk. It's never very much, but is still fun to get.
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