Coupons can either serve us or enslave us.
I've witnessed firsthand how GREAT the savings can be when done correctly as well as witnessed vast 'useless' spending because of what appears to be a 'good deal'. I've not had the ability to watch the 'Extreme Couponing' show on TV (we don't have cable/satellite TV) but I've heard the hording horror stories. I've also witnessed folks in line leaving with a cart full of goodies for less than $10.00 and been impressed beyond belief!
I've blogged here before about joining (aka: paying for) a grocery game thingy. The frustration with that was astronomical vs. the savings. I was not enjoying the journey (if you remember one of my favorite closing lines) so I quit.
Then one day at lunch with a friend of mine, Lynette, the light bulb went on in my head. She was speaking so clearly to me about what she does and how she works it that I began to see things far more clearly. So I've recently been 'back in the saddle' of my coupon adventure, and must I say loving it! While still far from a professional - I am learning. Here are some things I've learned (occasionally the hard way).
Let me give some examples of the pros and cons of using coupons or as it's known to many folks as the action verb of 'couponing'.
Savings. Yes they are real, but you have to know how to do it to get the most of your coupons. Use when an item is already on SALE.
You won't look at things at 'full price' again the same when you can pay 1/4 if your patient and I think developing patience is a "pro" not a "con" characteristic.
If you are a building a long term storage (to shelter your wallet as prices increase) using coupons really does help!
This actually used to be an issue for me to NOT coupon since we didn't live on a paper route, but....for the price of one Sunday newspaper, over the course of a month, it pays for itself over 50 times. Also, there are so many on line coupon sites, that even if you don't want to buy a paper, you can save some money.
If like us, you eat more basic foods that are usually not coupon friendly (produce, meat, etc) there's no reason you can't buy paper products, toiletries, etc with coupons ( I know realize this thanks to my dear friend Lynette - see more on her inspiration below*)
Coupons for eating out are a super great treat!
If you are not going to use it, don't buy it. No matter how great the deal may appear. Money spent on junk food you shouldn't eat or shampoo that fries your hair is still a stupid buy, even though the coupon gremlin whispers in your ear otherwise.
Don't feel the pressure of a 'sales date' at the store to use that coupon. Often just because you think the sale is running out, it may make you rush to go purchase an item, when in fact in just a short time another area store will have the same item on sale within a week or two and you can use your coupon then.
Don't buy if you have enough in stock already. This kind of goes with the first two 'cons' but resisting the deal for .79 cent ketchup with a .25 cent off (doubled) coupon is actually smart if you already have a two year supply of ketchup at home.
You will have to give up store loyalty to get the best deals. I think this was my biggest struggle, but once I saw the great deals as the less-favorite stores that I passed by every time I'd go grocery shopping, it was well worth planning trips there. However, I do save my favorite store sales for last to end on an enjoyable note!
Admittedly I am no couponing guru, but some light bulbs went on when I spoke with my friend Lynette because of how well she explained things. That' is why she is back on my radio show this month (and hopefully will be a regular each month) so, I hope you'll plan to listen as we chat (it may be helpful to hear my learning process!) on July 16th! Hey and if you're reading this later, no worries - the link will take you to where to download and listen to it later too!
As always, enJOY the journey and Best Blessings!