Tag Archive for Coupons

3 Reasons Couponing Wastes Money

3 Reasons Couponing Wastes Money

3 Reasons Couponing Wastes MoneyIf 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.

Wasted Time

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?

 

Photo courtesy of: itkannan4u

4 Non-Traditional Ways to Get More Coupons

Coupons

12772284883_025a4c1f2c_zAre you a big fan using coupons to save on groceries and other items, but struggling to find ones for products you?ll actually use? I used to have the same problem. I?d guess that most people tend to think of the Sunday newspaper as the best place to get coupons for groceries and household products, but sadly in my hometown we don?t have a Sunday paper and none of our papers have coupon inserts in them ? ever.

Because of that, I?ve had to get a little more creative and think of non-traditional ways to get coupons so I can stick to my grocery budget. Here are four non-traditional ways you can use to get more coupons too.

Print Them

The first way I started to get more coupons was by printing them off from websites like coupons.com. There are several coupon database websites that you can use to print coupons on your home printer. Just be careful to avoid going overboard and printing coupons you don?t need or won?t use. This becomes a waste of time and money as you?ll be using paper and ink for coupons that won?t save you any money.

Buy Them

I learned by watching Extreme Couponers that you can actually buy coupon lots online. It sounds counterintuitive, but buying a lot of 20 identical coupons for something I want to stock up on does save me money. I usually set a maximum price I?m willing to pay for the coupon lot so I can maximize my savings.

For example, if you pay $2.50 for a pack of 20 coupons that will save you $1 on each item, you are still netting a savings of $17.50 with the coupons.

I?ve even bought coupons in lots of 20 and re-listed 10 of them because I didn?t need all of them. Another idea is to split them with a friend. One time my mom bought a lot and I bought a lot and we shared them half and half so we could both save money on groceries. If buying coupons is not an option, you can also consider using rebates?sites that offer cash back by shopping through their portal. Sites like?Swagbucks?allow you to earn cash back from your normal shopping – thus a similar benefit to a coupon.

Ask for Them

Most people?s beef with couponing is that you can?t find coupons for specific products or brands when you need them. One way to get around this problem is by simply asking for the specific coupons you want. You can write a very complimentary letter to different brands and manufacturers, and also ask them if they have coupons available that they could send you.

I always mention that providing me with some coupons will encourage me to continue using their product, even if it is a little more expensive than a competitor?s.

Additionally, I?ve heard of people getting coupons from doctors? offices, dentists? offices, and more by asking the doctor, assistant or receptionist. If the doctor recommends a certain over the counter product for you, it never hurts to ask if they have a coupon for it.

Trade Them

I already mentioned this one, but trading coupons with others is a great way to get more and different coupons than what you?ve found yourself. When I still worked in an office, we had a coupon basket in the breakroom where anyone could put clipped coupons they weren?t going to use. There were no written rules, but the implied coupon etiquette was that you could take some only if you gave some too. This was a great way to get extras of some coupons, or find different coupons that I didn?t find via my other methods.

Using coupons is a great way to save money on food and products you plan to use anyway. If you get creative with these non-traditional methods you?ll be able to find more coupons and save more money.

 

 

What sources do you coupons? Have you ever bought coupons as a way to save money? If you do use coupons, how much time do you use each week to locate them?

 

 

Photo courtesy of: Tricia Adams

How to Use Coupons and Not Be a Jerk About it

Coupons

10866048103_89ca6e3fdd_zI used to use coupons like they were going out of style, but I found that I was actually spending more money to ?save? rather than actually saving money. I got so obsessed with using coupons that I was buying things I didn?t need or larger quantities of items I do use but they would go bad before I could use them all up.

These things actually cost me more money rather than saving me money like I had intended when I started couponing in the first place. Honestly, I think my obsessive couponing phase was born out of watching the TLC show ?Extreme Couponers?.

If you?ve ever watched that show, the people on it are really extreme. They walk out of the grocery store with four shopping carts piled up with goods they?ll never be able to use before they expire, and yet they only had to pay about five percent(or less) of the original retail cost.

When coupons are used properly in a non-extreme way, they can still be a great way to save on groceries and other household products. But there are a few unwritten etiquette rules you should keep in mind when you are couponing.

Don?t Clear the Shelves

One of the most annoying things about wannabe couponers is their selfish desire to clear off entire shelves of products. It might look cool when the people on TV sweep their arm across the shelf effectively putting all of the products from that shelf into their shopping cart with one fell swoop, but in real life it?s simply rude and annoying.

I hate going to the grocery store?only to find out that they are completely out of the sale products that week, especially when I go on the first day of the sale before many shoppers have even been to the store either. Usually they are out of stock due to an ?extreme couponer? having been there right before me.

Stealing all the Coupons From the Store

You can commonly find coupons placed with products around the grocery store, including ?peelies? that are attached to product packaging, or ?blinkies? which are usually spit out by a blinking machine attached to the shelf of the corresponding product.

These coupons are there for your use, but they are not there to be abused. If you really feel that you need to steal the coupons off of and buy 30 packages of Oreos be my guest. I guess I didn?t really need them anyway. But it is even more irritating when couponers do this with products I do actually need, like household cleaners or personal care products, like deodorant.

Shopping During Peak Hours

Couponers take longer to shop than most everyone else because they have to be extremely organized and detailed to get the best deals. I understand that and I can respect that. But these couponers should keep in mind when peak shopping times are, like right after 5 p.m. on any given weekday, and right after church on Sundays.

During peak times the grocery store is busy and it?s not very fun to be stuck behind one of these extreme couponers?in one aisle after another as they make their way through the store. If you plan to use a lot of coupons and take your time shopping, please consider shopping during non-peak times.

At the Check Out

One last thing. At the checkout please be kind to the cashiers as they ring up your items, check over your coupons, and apply your discounts. Your orders can be really complex and they are doing the best they can to do everything correctly. Sometimes computers mess up and ring an item in at the wrong price.

When this happens, don?t hesitate to point it out but please do so kindly. You should also try to avoid doing multiple transactions or large transactions during peak shopping times, again this is highly annoying to the after-work and after-church crowds who usually just want to pick up an item or two before heading home to make lunch or dinner.

 

What other coupon etiquette can you think of that should be followed? Do you use coupons or do find other ways to save money? How many packages of Oreos is too many in your opinion? 😉

 

 

Photo courtesy of: Carol Pyles