Posts Tagged ‘coupons’

Are Coupons Worth the Hassle?

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

I’ve heard people say thare-coupons-worth-the-hassleat by clipping coupons, you can save up to $100 a month on your grocery bill. Back when I had no money at all and couldn’t use my time to earn any income, I learned how to do coupons just to survive. And what people say is true, but it is also tedious. Right now in my life, if I can spend an hour recording a workshop instead of clipping coupons, that hour will yield me money for the rest of my life instead of a few measly dollars for just one week.

When you’re desperate to feed your kids, you’re not as irritated by having to clip coupons. Ideally, you want the item to go on sale before you use the coupon. This way you can sometimes get the item for free. Strangely, sometimes I even came out ahead, with the grocery store paying me to get the item. I know it seems weird, but the manufacturer pays some of it, so the grocery store still gets money even when you didn’t pay a penny.

are-coupons-worth-the-hassle-2Coupons expire. And if you’re not a die-hard coupon person, if you’ve already spent money on gasoline to get to the store, you might as well use all your coupons on the spot and be done with it. To wait for every single thing to be on sale would take forever, and who wants to do that? Not me.

Instead of using coupons now, I just follow the major sales in grocery stores, called loss leaders. For example, a local grocery store has a cereal sale where Cheerios and other well-known cereals sell for $1.69 a box. I buy 70 boxes. Yes, you heard me right. If you find the rock bottom price, stock up. Your grocery bill will be lower for the next few months because you are buying no cereal. You’re saving a ton of money.

Despite the fact that I don’t do heavy couponing any more, I still use coupons to my advantage with virtually no work on my part:

1. I use Costco coupons. While my husband drives to Costco, I flip through the booklet of coupons we’re sent in the mail, and I tear them out. These are coupons for toilet paper and other things we buy all the time, and it’s always several dollars off, not just 25 cents. And since I’m sitting in the car doing nothing anyway, it doesn’t take up time.

2. Resale shop coupons are fun. There are five resale shops in my neighborhood that are quite good. (I realize that Goodwill-type stores in some towns are nasty, icky, and musty, but other cities have awesome, expensive name-brand stuff for a dollar or two.) Whenever I have a coupon for a resale store, I use it. The item I’m buying, like a new-looking jacket for my son for $4, ends up costing only $2 with a 50% off coupon. If a whole stack of clothes are 50% off, you can get a fresh wardrobe for your children for the new school year for just pennies to the dollar.

3. Coupons for going to an expensive place are also worth using. Places with roller coasters, for example, often have coupons for $10 off. Sometimes it’s buy one, get one free, and if the ticket to get in is $38, you’ve just had fun for a lot less money if you wanted to go there anyway.

These three types of coupons (Costco, resale shops, and expensive places) are the only coupons I do now. So to answer the initial question, “Are coupons worth the hassle?”, when I had babies and toddlers and was in a mental fog and had no money; yes, it was. But now that I’m not in that situation, my answer is no, they’re not worth the bother.