Sunday, March 1, 2009

Why coupons are worth it

For my very first post, I want to address the two most common questions people ask me about couponing:

Doesn't clipping coupons make you buy things you wouldn't normally buy? This can certainly be true, but you need to consider the circumstances. For example, if you need one box of brownie mix, but you have a coupon for $1 off 2 boxes of brownie mix, should you buy one or two boxes? If you are likely to make brownies again in the near future (or at least before the mix expires), then why not buy two mixes now and save a dollar? If there is a good sale on the brownie mix, it makes even more sense to buy two, or even four or six if you have enough coupons, pantry space, and a sweet tooth! But if you hate brownies and you're only making them this one time as a special treat for your dear Aunt Gertrude, who's visiting from Siberia and loves them, then by all means, just go ahead and buy your one box. But I must add that if the brownie mix happens to be on a super-sale for $.50, you could get two boxes FREE with your coupon. If I found out that you bought one box in this special circumstance, I would die a little inside. If something is FREE, get as many as you can!!! Share them with family and friends or donate them to a food pantry.

Doesn't clipping coupons take up a lot of your time? Sometimes, yes. However, when I get my Sunday paper and flip through the coupon inserts, I don't cut out all the coupons. That would be a lot of work, and chances are that I won't use every single coupon. I save the entire coupon booklet and file it away (I'll talk more about organization in a future post). There are coupon databases online that help me to quickly locate a coupon I need, so I don't waste time cutting out useless coupons. The most time-consuming part of couponing, besides the actual shopping, is searching through the store sale circulars and matching the coupons to the sales. Again, there are many websites and message boards to help out with the match-ups. I am a television junkie, so I plan my shopping trips in front of the tube while Taylor is sleeping or otherwise occupied. I don't consider this wasted time, as I would be watching TV anyway. But I coupon for sport (and yes, coupon is a verb!), so honestly, I would happily do this without a TV or other distraction.

Are your coupon savings really worth the effort? I guess my answer to this question is obvious, or you wouldn't be reading this blog. It is difficult to save money on grocery staples, such as milk, meat, poultry, and produce. But if you can get health and beauty aides, cleaning products, snacks, packaged foods, and much more for FREE or at a profit (and you can, I promise!), those savings help pay for your grocery staples and other items your family needs. I have gotten thousands of dollars worth of items for FREE in the past two years, and that is, without a doubt, worth the effort. I hope you think so, too, and keep coming back to learn how easy it can be. If you have any tips of your own, I welcome them!

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