The Pros and Cons of Clipping Coupons

As a self proclaimed cheapskate, I am always on the search for a new way to save money. However, you may be surprised to learn that I am not a clipper of coupons. Before I explain why I don’t clip coupons, let me explain where most people make mistakes when using their coupons.

Why clip coupons

Let’s be honest: the only reason that manufacturers print those coupons is to increase revenue. If everyone who used the coupons saved money, the manufacturers would not print them. So the first thing you must ask yourself is “will this save me money?” So as a starter the only time you should use the coupon is when:

  • It is for a product you normally use
  • It is for a product you have been wanting to try
  • It can substitute for a product you normally use

Buying a product just because you have a coupon for it will NOT save you money. Granted, if you had already been considering buying the product, this may be the perfect opportunity to give the product a try. And the item may be an alternate brand of a product you already use. However, remember that coupons exist for the sole purpose of enticing you to buy the product. If you have gotten by thus far without buying the product, odds are you can get by without it.

Even if the product is something that you use, you have to determine if the coupon will save you money over an alternative. For example, Let’s say you have a coupon for $.050 off brand A granola bars, which have a regular price of $3.00 a box. If brand B granola bars are normally $2.00 a box, then there is no point in using the coupon…..it is costing you money, not saving money. And frankly, if there is a store brand of that particular item, 99 times out of 100, the store brand will have the best price.

How much time do the coupons require

There are some people who only spend a few minutes each week looking at the sales flyer of the local grocery. There are also those who spend as much as 10 hours a week studying sales flyers, clipping coupons, and organizing the coupons. Personally, I don’t have that kind of time. I guess if you have nothing better to do with your time, you might as well clip coupons.

Why I don’t clip coupons

Each person must decide if clipping coupons is for them or not. Personally, I rarely clip coupons. In the local community journal (free of course) there is a weeklyflyer for the local grocery. I usually take a few minutes to check it out, but it is rare for me to clip a coupon from it. And as I said before, I don’t have the time to spend 10 hours a week scrounging for coupons. I save the bulk of my money by buying generics and store brands. Bulk items are another place where I save money, although I always check the price per ounce/serving to make sure I am getting the best bang for my buck.

Enjoy this article? Please feel free to leave comments! I would love to hear why others do or don’t clip coupons.

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