Everyone loves a deal, but most of us don’t fall into the “extreme couponer” category. The average shopper doesn’t spend hours per week scanning for deals and coupons. Conversely, the extreme couponer has their nose to the ground like a bloodhound, searching for bargains and getting expensive products for little to no cost to them.
While there is a place in the shopping experience for the casual use of coupons found in the Sunday paper, some folks are turning a bit nuts, going so far as to commit coupon fraud for free items.
This video explores the dangers of couponing and the outrageous lengths some people will go for the best possible price:
So I think we all agree that the extreme couponing phenomenon is getting out of control.
Here are some pros and cons of what I call “casual couponing”:
You really do save money. If you are organized and diligent in your couponing endeavors, you could cut your grocery bill in half. You could get the same products for 50 percent less if you wait for good deals on food you actually buy.
You may buy things you don’t need. Many people see a great deal and go a little bonkers, convincing themselves they need something that they would never buy if they didn’t have a coupon. Not to mention the fact that many coupons are for unhealthy, boxed and processed items. You don’t often find coupons for produce, which is what you should really be buying in the supermarket.
More purposeful, focused shopping. The average person often spends unnecessary time wandering aimlessly through grocery-store aisles grabbing whatever foods suit their current mood or craving. If you go into the store with a set list and a handful of coupons and knowing exactly what will fill up your cart, you are less likely to deviate from your plan — increasing your shopping productivity levels.
You will spend more time on the overall chore of shopping. While couponing may decrease time spent in the grocery store, you’ll definitely be spending more time and effort at home searching through newspapers or couponing apps. A lot of that time will be spent fruitlessly, never finding a coupon for something that you will use.
Tips and tricks for the casual couponer
- Don’t buy things you don’t need! If it’s not on your normal grocery list, don’t buy it — even if you do have a coupon.
- Limit the amount of time you spend looking for deals. Be careful not to get addicted to couponing. Set an amount of time each week to spend bargain hunting and stick to it.
- Make a weekly grocery budget. Make a list of your staples and the money they cost you so that you won’t be taken aback every time you see the numbers on the screen at the checkout climbing higher. There will be some variation week to week of your grocery necessities that requires you to deviate from your allotment, but at least you will be prepared for the price of your weekly food expenses.
Use your best judgement, be frugal and thrifty but don’t deny yourself healthy, necessary foods just because you don’t have a coupon for them!
Taylor lives in the mountains of Arizona where she enjoys an active lifestyle including hiking, horseback riding, kayaking and backpacking. She is a Certified Wilderness First Responder and spends a great deal of time educating others on how to enjoy the wilderness safely. An avid reader, writer, photographer and blogger, Taylor believes that being active and spending time in nature are essential to good health.