Thursday, May 20, 2010

Saving money on groceries (why coupons don't work for me)

You might recall a while back I wrote about how I was going to give couponing a try.  And also how before even starting, I was already getting overwhelmed.  I quickly learned that couponing, in the traditional sense of the term, is not for me.  Here is why.

1.  It takes time to collect the ads, go through the ads, cut the coupons, organize the coupons, match them to what's on your shopping list, etc.  Then you have to remember to actually USE the coupon when you're at the register.  We all know I'm not great about that.

2.  I have found that coupons tempt me to buy items I would not typically buy.  For example I might have a coupon for $1 off Hot Pockets.  Normally I wouldn't buy those because they're expensive and not very healthy.  But with my $1 savings, I now think that maybe I should just keep them on hand for a quick meal.  Next thing I know, I saved a bunch of money on things I didn't need.

3.  Along the lines of my previous point, it seems that most coupons are for pre-packaged, highly processed foods.  Not good for the environment or my body.  I have yet to see a coupon for $1 off asparagus, or some other fresh-produce item.  Now THAT's a coupon I would be interested in.

4.  Are you really getting a great deal?  I know people who will exclaim with joy how they just saved $30 on a basket-full of food.  Here's the thing though.  They bought that stuff at the premium grocery store which already jacks up prices, plus the items they bought are usually name-brand.  I would venture to say I could do just as well with some careful shopping at a discount store, without the headache of managing coupons.

5.  Too much of one thing.  Yeah, sometimes you really can legitimately save money on items with coupons.  I heard of someone who bought 50 boxes of cereal because she got a great deal.  And six gallons of ice cream.  But now what?  Your monthly budget is gone and you will be eating ice cream with cereal on top.

Now I don't mean to completely knock couponing.  There are times when I come across a coupon for an item that I already buy, so I save it and (try to remember to) use it.  But for me, the pros of couponing just don't outweigh the cons.

Next week I will be sharing the biggest secret I've learned for saving on groceries. 


sandraknight said...

ok... i am waiting!>???


shell said...

yup i am with you! ONE time i have seen a coupon for clementines. that is IT! i am not a big coupon person either! can't wait to hear your secret! :)

Renee said...


jmae3 said...

Girlfriend we share a brain. I'm like Uh who really buys that? Are you buying just cause it's a good deal? Isn't that going to go bad before you get to it? Where the heck is the fresh food coupons? lol...tempting-I'm liking your method better...the spreadsheets!