May 13, 2009

Step 1: Overcoming the Myths of Couponing and Bargain Shopping.

Myth #1- Won't I be looked at as "cheap"? I thought only poor people use coupons?

Well, we all know the current state of our economy! Many people are losing their benefits, taking paycuts to stay employed, and even losing their jobs. Even if we haven't realized one of these scenarios in our own lives, we still need to be very smart with our money right now.

According to Charles Brown, Vice President for worldwide coupon processor NCH, "Marketers have historically distributed more coupons when the economy slows in an effort to motivate consumer purchases, and consumers tend to be more apt to respond and redeem during periods of economic decline."

The recent Kraft coupons are one example of this marketing!

Also, according to statistics, only 72% of people making less than $25,000 use coupons compared with 82% for people making between $50,000-$75,000!

Besides, when did saving money become a BAD thing? Past generations never spent their money as freely as the current generations. Right now is the time to start saving our money the "old-fashioned way" and one way we can all do that is by using coupons wisely!

Myth #2- Shopping at dollar stores will save me more money than using coupons!

I personally know this myth to be false. Before I started couponing, I purchased 2 tubes of toothpaste every 2 weeks from the dollar store for my family. You can't get toothpaste any cheaper than $1 consistently....right? Well, I was wrong! By shopping the drugstores like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid, you can often get 3-4 tubes of name brand toothpaste for that same dollar! And, basically that dollar is just the sales tax on them. If you use your coupons correctly, you can save significant amounts of money!

Myth #3- Isn't is just cheaper to buy generic items?

Well, this one kind of ties in to the previous myth. Generally if you just walk into a store with your clipped coupons and go up to the shelf to buy something, the generic will probably still be cheaper. But, if you're willing to change your way of thinking and purchasing things, you can purchase the name brand items for a fraction of the generic price!

Myth #4- You should only use coupons for things you would normally buy.

I have found that by being less "brand-loyal" and by being more creative with our meals, I am saving a significant amount of money by buying the products with the best deals. I have an example from just this week, I never would have dreamed of buying Kraft Bagel-fuls, especially at $2.50 a box, but between the coupons and the Kraft Promo running at Albertsons, I was able to get 4 boxes of them for FREE. If I hadn't changed my thinking in this area, I never would have gotten those free items because it's not something I'd "normally buy".

Besides, you just might be pleasantly surprised by some of the items! During my whole married life, I have always bought the cheapest razors I could find. But, at the end of last year, there was a great deal on Bic Soleil razors. I gave them a try and found that I love them! So, in the future I am always looking for Bic coupons and will buy multiple copies of the paper when they come out so that I can stockpile them when that good sale comes along.

Myth #5- People who use coupons end up spending MORE because they get caught up in the good deals.

As with anything, you could certainly go overboard! But, sales are cyclical and once you realize that the "great deal" will come around again, you won't be so tempted to wipe out the shelves with your life savings.

Generally speaking, products rotate about once every 3 months. So, razors will go on a really great sale and manufacturers will be issuing coupons to get the inventory moving, about every 3 months. Sometimes it's a little longer and sometimes a little shorter. I personally figure out how much of an item our family will need for the next 3 months and try to buy that much of it. So, if our family of 7 uses 1-2 bottles of shampoo per month, I'll buy 6 bottles when I can get it free or close to free. That should be plenty to last us until the next great deal on shampoo comes around. If the shampoo goes on sale again 2 months later, I will go ahead and get some more, just in case the next stretch is longer than 3 months. But if it's only 2 weeks later, I'll go ahead and hold off.

Myth #6- It takes alot of time and energy to clip coupons and shop at multiple stores.

Well, this I guess depends on your situation. If you're working 60+ hours a week, and you really aren't very strapped for cash, the time and energy might not be worth it.

But, take me for example. I am a stay-at-home mom. My husband recently took a 40% pay decrease so that he could keep his job. I picked up a p/t job to help make up but I hardly make a dent in our deficit. So, I started couponing out of necessity. Money I don't have, time I do!
It takes me around 8 hours a month to clip and sort coupons, plan my trips, and do the actual shopping. But, I am saving a running percentage of 40% or about $2oo per month on our groceries and household items. If I take that $200 and divide it by the number of hours it takes me, I'm in essence paying myself $25.00 per hour! That's 3 times as much as I make at my p/t job. For our family it definitely makes sense!

Even if you aren't in the same position as we are, think of the things that you can do with your coupon savings! In my situation, it equals about $2,400 a year. That's enough to take a vacation with! Put the money you "saved" couponing into a savings account and go on a cruise....debt free! What about putting it into a college fund for your kids? What about applying it to your mortgage to accelerate the payoff? There are just so many things that you can do with it if you are willing to put in a little time and effort. That's the thing though, you have to be willing. You will only get as much out of this lifestyle as you put into it!
Step 1: Overcoming the Myths of Couponing and Bargain Shopping.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


  1. Thanks for this post - I'm new to couponing so I really needed it. Thanks for your great blog!

  2. You are welcome! I have 11 more coming in this series so check back!