As promised, my next article for TheStir.com is “7 Reasons Couponing Is a Colossal Waste of Time (And 3 Things to Do Instead)“. It went live today, so be sure to check it out! My next article is about things you should be buying second-hand, that you probably aren't. Brace yourself, there are some doozies in there. Here's part of the couponing post…since we're here…and all chit chatty and such. Hope you enjoy!
“As a frugal living blogger, I often get lumped into the same category as coupon bloggers, and am regularly mistaken as a “couponer.” I like it about as much as the U.S. likes being mistaken for Canada.
I am not a couponer. In fact, I am captain of the Anti-Couponing Team.
I've tried couponing. I've attended the classes, read the blogs, and shadowed experts. I am here to say that while it may work for some, just as a lifelong crash diet of lettuce and raw flax might work for some, the rest of us prefer a sustainable life of hearty food and juicy steaks … which we can buy it for a good price without having to surf the recycle bin first.
Many people think that to save money on groceries, or be frugal in general, they must become extreme couponers and dumpster dive for the Sunday paper. While I'm not opposed to the occasional dumpster dive (hey, you can find great treasures in there!), I am here to give you the top 7 reasons why couponing is a waste of time! And since I like you, I'll give you my top 3 tips for saving major moola at the grocery store — without having to clip a single coupon.
1. Time is money
What money you might be saving, you are most likely wasting two-fold in the amount of time it takes you to properly shop with coupons. It's downright complicated. You have to subscribe to the newspapers, clip, sort, and store the coupons, find the store's deals that week, figure out what coupons can work with the deals, go shopping (often times having to visit multiple stores), and then, additionally, plan out and shop for the things your coupons don't work for (but you still need). If you spend part-time hours clipping coupons, go get a part-time job and actually make money. I promise it will work out better for you in the long run.
2. Name-brand, shmame-brand
Coupons are meant to bring down the price of name-brand items. But, have you noticed that name-brand items are typically more expensive to begin with? One of my favorite frugal living secrets is that store-brand items are usually made by the name-brand factories. Those Kirkland batteries? Made by Duracel. In most cases when you buy name-brand items you're paying extra for commercials, advertising, and market testing expenses — not product quality. Stick with store-brand items and you'll save more money in the long run.
3. I hope you like processed food …
Most coupons are for pantry items. It's next to never that you'll find a coupon for fresh produce, dairy, or meat … which is typically the stuff that we go through the fastest, and costs us the most. But hey, who doesn't like a good cheese puff every once in a while …
4. Raise your hand if you need 44 boxes of tampons!
The purpose of coupons is to get you to purchase a product that you most likely haven't tried before. Translation = IMPULSE BUY. If you wouldn't have put it on your shopping list to begin with, don't waste your time clipping a coupon for it! Additionally, just because something is a good deal — whether you use it regularly or not — doesn't mean you have to buy a three-year supply of it. I believe in stocking up when there is a great deal on something you go through quickly. But 44 boxes of tampons and 18 lemon cake mixes? Good deal or not, I'd bet money you just don't need it.