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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

True Confessions: Why I don't Use Coupons

Every time I read the message boards on the crazed couponing sites (Grocery Game, for a fee, or other freebie sites), I'm filled with envy. Why can't I get peanut butter for a quarter? Rationally, I know it's not that simple. It takes time and money and mess to coupon. PLUS many coupons are for things I don't want to be tempted to buy, things like air freshener and rice-a-roni and hamburger (or other) helper. PLUS the biggest savings are on freebies from the drugstore, and I can get those myself without following couponing sites. PLUS I spend so little on food anyway; the payoff would not be great.

Also, I'm too messy to add another layer of mess to my life.

Temptation came in the form of a free newspaper thrown on my driveway. There were coupons. I flipped through and noticed two 50 cent coupons for items I was going to get at the drugstore anyway. Oh, a dollar saved! Thrilling!

So I clipped the two coupons and got ready to go. The drugstore was on my way to somewhere else I needed to go. I pick up my purse and the coupons are nowhere to be found! I do a quick search and STILL couldn't find them. Finally, I decided to go anyway. On my way out, I noticed the two coupons on top of the recycling basket. How did they get there?

I put the coupons in my wallet. Then I noticed that some school stuff was in my bag. Didn't want to carry that around, so I went back in and put my gradebook and other things on the table. Went to the drugstore. When I reached the checkout: NO WALLET!

In a moment of madness, I thought: Oh, I'll go home and get the coupons. Then I did the math. That would be insane, in terms of time, money, and gasoline.

So I bought my things and went home, since I didn't want to continue on my errands without my wallet. There was my wallet, next to the gradebook.

Now do you see why I don't use coupons? Does anyone want the coupons?


Funny about Money said...


I've had similar experiences: clipped the nuisance coupons, added the purchases to the shopping list, got in the checkout line, and then either didn't have the coupons or, better yet, was informed they had expired.

For me the big problem is most coupons are for junk food, prepared food full of salt and sugar, and products I don't use. So to find one for, say, fresh meat or veggies, you have to paw through page after page or waste hevvin only knows how much time online. Boring. Life's too short.

Then I look at a wad of coupons taking up space on a counter or in my purse and if I didn't have ENOUGH paper to deal with!

More trouble than they're worth, unless you feed a large family on packaged macaroni & cheese and Hamburger Helper.

Suzy said...

LOL! I've noticed every time I've gone through the coupon sections that I'm lucky to find 1-3 coupons each month that I might use. The woman I used to rotate shifts with is pretty savvy with the couponing though - hubby who eats 'junk food' and loves hamburger helper(she prefers cooking from scratch and using healthier ingredients), 3 teens and one with a boyfriend who eats like a horse. She has her system down though and an her it's not just saving money but the whole process is fun like a hobby for her. And she's buying stuff she'd buy anyways and not overstocking on it. She says she's saved $20 and up on her weekly shopping. She doesn't play the cvs 'game' though or figure out what to buy with a coupon to get the overage for something else - like this website where the guy eats for $1 per day buy using coupons and store sales to buy 100 boxes of cereal where he's 'owed' money by the store and uses that $50 for bananas, etc then donates 98 boxes of cereal to the food pantry. I find it fascinating and if someone pointed out to me what to buy(he got his coupons free by scavenging for the most part)and I had the coupon handy I might do it but overall it's NOT convenient and my time is valuable!

I've also had some good coupns and need to get a better 'system' into place..the best ones are from emailing the company - I emailed Dole about their diced up ready to eat frozen fruit and they sent me some coupons for $1 off..and just emailed the Simply Potatoes company because 2 packages went bad in less than 30 hours and they're sending me coupons per the email..these are both products I use fairly regularly but I ended up losing a couple of the fruit coupons when they got lost in the purse. :-( so that's like losing $2

Duchesse said...

I don't get grocery coupons, I don't mean conceptually- literally. Canada hardly coupons. Not sure why not. But when I get a 25% off at the bookstore, or buy 3, get 4 I'm there!

Then again, I'm somewhat lax about food prices, not b/c I am rich (ha) but b/c we conscious as we cook, more aware than at checkout. If I had a large family to feed, I would not be so blasé. (I do refuse to buy certain items out of season and we eat very little prepared food.)

Anonymous said...

Another reason we don't use coupons. Generally they get stuck on the refrigerator until they expire. (And agree with FAM that there are rarely coupons for things we use anyway.)

We *do* use coupons for our favorite pizza place. They come in the mail once a month and we keep them on the dining room table until the next ones come because we're slobs. And we eat pizza at least once a month. Like tonight. And possibly the rest of the semester. When is winter break again?

Anonymous said...

This is so true! During the two years we were scrimping to pay off our mortgage, I did coupons. I clipped them from the newspaper and left them in the glove box of our vehicle. We probably used about a third of them. I've stopped now that the house is paid for. But, it bugs me that the coupons are actually factored into the cost of many items.

I think I've discovered that most products that need so much advertising I don't actually NEED.

FB @ said...

I don't use coupons because 99% of the time, it's for stuff I don't buy.

I check all the coupons eagerly but they never appeal to me.

Frugal Scholar said...

@All--Thanks everyone for agreeing with me! I think you have to build them into your system--intermittent use is time-consuming and frustrating. And since I don't want to do that...thanks for telling me it's more than ok to relax.

Anonymous said...

The only way I have had success with coupons is by using them in connjunction with a website like They tell you exactly what's on sale and where to find the matching coupon for it. I print the shopping list from their site, clip the right coupons, and stuff everything into an envelope that I snap into my wallet. I save significant amounts of money. And constant couponing has shown me that the idea that coupons are mostly for junky food is just not true. Yes it exists but as much as it does for personal care items, household items, baby items, and healthy food too.