Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why I don’t Use Coupons (Am I Missing Something?)

It’s Sunday. Coupon day.

Despite many (admittedly feeble) attempts to “score big” using coupons, I must confess that I simply don’t get it. It’s not that I lack resources, of course. The blogosphere is filled with moms who would be delighted to show me the way.

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that using coupons simply isn’t worth the time and effort involved — at least not for me. I just don’t think I have the personality for it.

That’s not to say I’m a spendthrift. On the contrary, our family can be quite miserly. We have one reliable car, we don’t have cable, we have a super-cheap cell phone plan, I probably own (I am not joking, ladies) maybe four or five pairs of dress shoes, and we still use the same television that my hubby bought more than 10 years ago.

The only area where I’m guessing we spend a LOT more than the average family is on food. We like to eat at nice restaurants, and our grocery budget is rather large for a family of three.

But I don’t think that coupons would improve our lives for three reasons:
  1. I buy minimally processed foods whenever possible. Our usual grocery haul includes fresh produce, meat, bulk grains/dried fruits, milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, eggs and bread. From time to time, we’ll also stock up on olive oil, spices, jarred tomatoes and other basic pantry items. What I find is that coupons rarely apply to these staples. So unless you buy commercially prepared processed foods, do coupons really pay off?

  2. I hate shopping. Well, I don’t mind grocery shopping a couple of times a week, but I certainly wouldn’t want to spend a great deal of energy doing it. Making a list and going to one store (sometimes two) is really about all I can handle. So you can imagine that comparing circulars, assembling binders and darting all across the city might be a bit much for me. So for people who don’t love playing "the game," are coupons worth the time and energy involved?

  3. I don’t have the room (or desire) to stockpile. Couponing seems to be predicated on the idea that you seize opportunities when they arise — even if you don’t need an item at that moment. This might mean that you buy 10 boxes of crackers because they’re almost free (or because you earn points/store credit for future purchases of things that you do need). My tiny pantry simply can’t handle that degree of stockpiling. And my brain can’t cope with that many “what if” scenarios. So if you only want to buy what you actually need on a weekly/biweekly basis, does couponing even work?

Am I missing something? Sure, I’m fascinated by moms who claim to feed their large families on $10 a week (or some other amazingly small amount). But for people seeking simplicity and minimalism in their lives, is couponing a boon or bane?


The Jahnkes said...

I agree- While coupon shopping is great for some- I am simply amazed at how some of these women do it. I don't buy the right kinds of foods to use coupons. There simply is not a coupon for half off a mango.

MollyinMinn said...

You are right. You are not made for couponing. Heck, I used to use them a lot more, too. But I was frustrated by the time so I have cut back on that, too.

Jami said...

I am right there with you! When I decide to use them they end up stuck in the bottom of my purse or on the floor of the van...never in my hand at the check out. Plus I don't use most of the products that coupons work on. I say time is money. Skip it.

Val said...

I totally agree Angie. I have tried using coupons many times over the years, and have saved some money doing so. BUT..... I have had more coupons expire in my purse than I have ever used, and you're right, most are for processed foods that we don't want anyway. Keep blogging, I love reading what you write. Love You! Val

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