You ever do something for a while and then all of a sudden stop? Then, you take a look back and think to yourself, ‘What in the world just happened?!’.
That’s where I am right now. I haven’t used a single coupon in nearly a week. Last year at this time, I was using a coupon on 90% of the items that I was purchasing. I guess I am just now realizing that I don’t need coupons and probably never did.
Not much has changed financially. I’m working more & we are living more comfortably. I haven’t seen a drastic change in our grocery bill either. But how could that be?
I just left BI-LO today and glanced at my receipt to check my savings. It showed that I spend $36 and saved $35. I almost saved 50% without even using coupons and I bought everything we needed.
I bought a lot of items on sale and a few that were not. I also bought a few generic brand items. I had a list of items that I needed but were not brand-specific. When I was using coupons frequently, I would strive for 60% in savings but rarely reached that.
So is couponing worth it?
It depends. I think it depends on the size of the family and/or your intentions. If my husband and I had a few more kids, I would probably use coupons more than I do currently. But for three people, I don’t see much difference in using coupons versus not using coupons.
I had a pretty large stockpile and have used a lot of it as donations. I like to donate to the homeless or to the church. Recently, I donated some supplies to the church for foster kids. I didn’t have much left in my stock pile so I went and spend $20 at Target on markers, Play-Do, and toiletries. It’s not much, I understand that. If everyone would just do a little, then they would have a lot.
It got me thinking about the donated items that I purchased with coupons. It was so easy to go into Target and spend $20 on those items. The items I bought were on sale and it was a hassle-free trip. I actually had a nice conversation with a cashier that I used to hate. I hated her because she hated me. Every time I whipped out my large stack of coupons, she would sigh. She was never friendly and never smiled. This past visit, when I didn’t use coupons, she was extremely chatty and kind.
Also, the time that I spent on accumulating that stockpile should probably embarrass me. If I had kept track of the time I spent, I surely wouldn’t tell anyone. Not to mention the cost of the newspapers for the coupons, printer paper, ink, gas, etc. It all adds up.
For people who like to donate massive quantities of items, I think couponing is probably their savior. I am sure they couldn’t donate like they would like if they didn’t spend the hours, time, and money that is really involved in extreme couponing.
For people with large families, I am sure that couponing does help out a lot. You just have to have the time needed to prepare for your coupon hauls.
I haven’t completely given up on using coupons. I am more active in eCoupons and money-saving apps like Ibotta, SavingStar, Checkout 51, etc. They take practically no time to check before you shop and are easy to receive your money. But I went from spending countless hours each week to only 30 minutes tops on preparing coupons for grocery trips.
And guess what?
I still save at the grocery store.
Bottom line is this: extreme couponing is a game. Like any game, it can take up a lot of your time, focus, and energy. It can turn you into a greedy monster that is only interested in getting “free” items with your coupons that you paid for with money and time. So its not free.
I really don’t think that extreme couponing is a healthy obsession. Obsessions aren’t good in general.
Take a step back and ask yourself if it’s worth it.
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