If you read many advice articles on how to save money each month, many of them will suggest the use of coupons.
After all, coupons are all around, and they are designed to save money. You probably get plenty of them in the mail each week, and they certainly come to your email box day after day.
Companies love to send out coupons as a surefire way to draw interest in specific products that they are trying to sell.
So, coupons are an easy choice for the thrifty consumer, right? Not so fast.
While they aren’t all bad, coupons might not be as attractive as you have been led to believe in those advice columns. Following is a list of three reasons why you might want to skip over couponing altogether.
Buying Things You Don’t Need
This is the biggest problem with coupons. When you get a coupon in the mail, you may notice that it is offering a discount on a product which you find interesting.
Do you actually need the product? No – probably not.
Regardless, you find the product interesting, and you are now thinking about making a purchase. Suddenly, in the time it took you to open your mail, you have started to think about spending some of your hard-earned money. That’s how marketing works.
It is one thing to use coupons to buy things you need, or were planning to buy anyway. For example, grocery coupons usually make sense, because you have to buy food. Or, if you are planning on making a big purchase in the near future, you can start to watch out for coupons in an effort to save a few dollars.
However, when it is the coupon itself that triggers your buying decision, you have probably made a mistake.
In the age of the side hustle, you can actually waste so much time looking for coupons that you would have been better off simply working during those hours rather than shopping for deals.
Here’s an example – let’s say that you have an online side hustle which usually lets you make about $15 per hour. So, you could invest one hour of your time in that pursuit and make 15 bucks. Or, you could spend a half hour looking through coupons online and in the mail, trying to get a deal.
In the end, you find a few coupons which you can use, and they add up to $5 in savings. Are you better off? Of course not. That half hour could have made you $7.50, which would have been better than saving $5.
Buying Too Much
Coupons don’t always give you a discount if you buy just one item. Sometimes, you have to buy a specific quantity in order to qualify for the sale. This isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes it does lead you into spending too much.
This is particularly a problem when it comes to perishable goods. Buying three loaves of bread might get you a great deal, but are you going to use them all before they go bad? Maybe, maybe not.
Think about your actual needs and don’t let the coupons unnecessarily influence your decisions.
Do you use coupons? Do you think couponing actually saves you money?
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