In the past few years, couponing has become very popular due to shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing.
I’ll admit that I had dreams of saving hundreds of dollars off my grocery bill by simply following their methods.
So I subscribed to the Sunday paper and every week I checked couponing blogs and tried to match up store sales with coupons.
But you know what? I didn’t get the same results as the people on TV.
I didn’t save hundreds of dollars, only a few dollars or enough to justify the cost of a Sunday newspaper subscription!
I couldn’t amass a stockpile of canned goods or toilet paper, not that I had room for that anyway.
I felt like a failure.
What did I do wrong?
Well, the TV shows aren’t realistic. The show features people who are shopping their biggest “scores”.
They’re not doing regular grocery shopping. They admittedly spend months putting together these once-in-a-lifetime deals.
Is it worth the cost of Sunday newspaper subscriptions?
And I felt like the couponers on TV never accounted for the cost of Sunday newspaper subscriptions into their budget! Did you feel this way?
They would say,”I saved $500 off my grocery bill”. But how much did they spend on newspaper subscriptions and couponing clipping services?
After those costs, how much did you really save?
I went to a couponing workshop sponsored by my local newspaper. They brought in an extreme couponer to give us tips. At the end of the workshop, they were selling us 5 newspaper subscriptions for $90!
After that, I knew that it wasn’t worth it.
If couponing works for you, then good for you!
But it doesn’t work for me.
Are you buying foods that your family will eat and products they’ll use?
My family has food allergies and chemical sensitivities, which means we don’t buy a lot of processed foods. We don’t buy a lot of canned goods, frozen meals, junk food, soda, or snacks.
I suffered through food allergies during the time I was subscribing to the Sunday paper. And each week, I’d pour over the coupons and pass over coupon after coupon of foods I could not eat and products I could not use. I felt like the newspaper subscription was a waste of money since I didn’t earn my money back.
We don’t buy the food that we see on the couponing shows. And the majority of the coupons are for processed foods and products that we don’t use.
I also believe the key to health is not in a new food product that claims health benefits but in eating the foods that will help your body be in balance. And that’s different for each person.
We buy whole foods and natural care products. Unfortunately, Sunday paper coupons do not help us.
Is that deal really a deal?
Plus, I also noticed that although CVS has great deals and coupons, they’re not really deals. I compared CVS prices to those at Target and Target was cheaper without coupons! What the heck?
Is it worth your time?
Yes, there are deals out there where you can get products for pennies on the dollar. But I never felt like driving out 10 minutes to the store, with my 3 year old daughter in tow, and spending 5 minutes to get the item and wait in line were worth saving me $3. The gas and my time weren’t worth it.
As much as I can cut my expenses, I realized that that wasn’t going to be enough to pay off debt, pay the bills, and to earn enough to have “extra.”
The key to solving my money problems is to make more money.
There, I said it. You have to make more money no matter what.
You have to find ways to bring in more income in order to dig yourself out of debt, in order to have enough to make ends meet, in order to have more than enough.
Do you know any millionaires who couponed their way to riches?
That being said, I do coupon with printable coupons (if it takes less than 10 minutes) and for other things, like searching for coupon codes for big ticket items because that doesn’t take a lot of time. Today, I saved $37 after 2 minutes of Googling.
What do you think? Do you coupon? Is it worth your time?
I used to have a friendship with a lady who is still buying stuff for practically nothing, it is just her and her husband..Her kids have long gone from the nest, he makes excellent, they jump into a dumpster and retrieve glossies and she pounces upon food like she was starving to buy it that is…Well I don’t even talk to her anymore we have nothing in common, we are retired now and I would never live like that..I watch what we spend, but we volunteer for food and homelessness and against domestivc violence in our communit…I don’t have time to do what she does, it is just my hubs and me, I occasionally read the sunday paper from a big city Seattle were we travel to tulip festivals and small towns with people we made friends with when our only child went to the state university in one of the lushest and lovely towns in all of Washington state Bellingham…We save for what we truly need, saved like the dickens to reture and live and always did below our means, I squeezed every dime I made and used coupons and made food from scratch, we do well, I am an old hippie from California I know how to live off the land..We don’t understand people who don’t cook, eat out all the time, never save a dime and live for the moment..I told our only child often, don’t spend what you don’t have, save save save, read and walk and bike everywhere and enjoy nature’s beauty and the people you love, you are not taking anything with you when you leave this terrestrial, faith, familia and food was my parents motto and it served them well, a loving familia, food to share with your familia and faith always..happy Passover and happy easter, ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I meant to say retired, and also love your blog..You got the right stuff and ideas about living..why do people think they need to buy 5 sunday newspapers, one can make great recipes from scratch..we bake and roast and make food and eat vegetarian a lot..simple and happy is the way to go..Love is more important than coupons..we are on this terrestrial only once..enjoy the journey not the destination..ciao!
Thank you so much for your comment! Love that you lived frugally and are enjoying your retirement! Sometimes, I think extreme couponing is an addiction, the thrill to save. My parents were very frugal but never couponed because we didn’t have much processed foods at home. They did cook a lot from scratch, we ate well, and I’ll always remember that.
Fanny, I totally agree with you. Total waste of time. We get the newspaper but I may only use two or three coupons at most. What I noticed about a lot of the people who did the extreme coupons on TV is that many were overweight and their families were too. I think time would be better spent planning healthy meals. I buy things on sale when I can and prepare slow cooker freezer meals. Saves time and money.
You’re totally right! I lost a lot of weight when I cut out processed foods. It’s better for your health in the long run to eat whole foods anyway.
I am not a coupon fanatic, but I have learned to combine coupons with my local grocery store sales and loyalty card promotions. I generally save anywhere from 25 to 35 percent. We don’t eat convenience foods either. Cheese, cereal,and health and beauty items account for most of my savings. I enjoy cooking from scratch and enjoy buying quality ingredients so I stretch my dollar any way I can!
Rhonda, that’s awesome!