Why We Hate Coupons and What We Do Instead to Save Money

We hate coupons.  It is as simple as that.

Coupons are magical pieces of paper that save you money on items at the grocery store.  All you have to do is hand it over to the cashier, and POOF – 25¢ or 50¢ or even a dollar is deducted from your bill.

They are great in theory, but they have never worked well for us.  For one, you have to actually remember to take the coupons to the store with you.  Then, you have to remember to hand them over to the cashier.  These are two things we would forget to do often.

It is hugely popular now to save money, which is great! But people don’t want it to hurt or have to change their lifestyles to save money.  They want to just use a few coupons and call it a day.

In fact, there are even classes that people pay for that teach you how to have huge binders full of coupons – like 14 copies of each coupon.  It works for some people, but I will never like them.

Back before it was popular, my grandmother was a master at using coupons.  She had everyone saving their newspapers for her so she could cut the coupons out of them.  She spent hours cutting out and organizing coupons, another thing that doesn’t appeal to me.

Why I don’t use them:

Coupons have this innate ability to cause you to spend money on way too many of an item you don’t need.  Just because you can save a few cents doesn’t mean it is worth it if you did not want or need that product to begin with.  Another brand of an item may be cheaper, even, but the coupon sways you to buy a certain brand.

Coupons are not so easily available all of the time.  You have to buy a newspaper or ad paper to get them, and most of them will be for stuff you don’t want anyway.  Or you have to scour the internet looking for the coupons you do want and use your own ink and paper to print them out, sometimes negating the savings you are receiving from the coupon.

My time is worth money.  We only have so many hours in the day, and it would cost me a lot of time to find and cut and organize coupons.  I already feel that I need more time with my family, and I do not want to give that up to save 25¢ on a tv dinner that I would not buy anyway.

Another reason I cannot use coupons is because I forget to take them to the store and give them to the cashier.  They do me no good on the counter at home or in my wallet.

Why I don’t like other people using them:

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These next few reasons I hate coupons are really just complaints because it inconveniences me.  Most of the time, it does not bother me if other people choose to use coupons.  But the ‘extreme couponers’ drive me nuts.

For one, there are times when all of a certain item is gone.  I go to the store and cannot get the laundry detergent I normally buy because someone with 10 coupons bought out the whole inventory.  I still have no idea what she will do with 20 bottles of laundry detergent, unless she has a house full of toddler boys – they love making messes!

Sometimes, I will go to the store and cannot get down an aisle because two ladies with binders open on their buggies are parked right beside each other, taking up the whole lane. I don’t know if road rage applies to the grocery store, but that is the feeling that stirs in me when I can’t even maneuver around someone in a lane 2.5 carts wide.

For some reason, I always choose the wrong lane when checking out at the grocery store, right behind the ‘binder lady’ pulling out bookoodles of coupons.  I have to stand there in line acting patient while the poor cashier scans enough coupons to fill a small car.  And heaven forbid if a coupon be expired or there are too many per order – then I have to wait even longer while the cashier rings the same lady up 50 – not exaggerating – different times so she can use each and every one of those coupons.

What we do instead:

So far, you have just heard me complain about how much I hate coupons.  But this is a frugal family blog, so I better tell you how we do save money instead of using coupons.

We typically do our weekly grocery shopping at Publix.  While it is not the cheapest grocery store, they run some amazing deals.  Every week, their sales change.  We plan our meals around what is on the current buy one, get one free sales.  We stock up when they are on sale, and keep them on hand for when we need to use them.

A lot of the items we buy are generic items. We cannot tell a difference in frozen vegetables offered by Publix or Bird’s Eye.  We also enjoy the Publix bread very much, and don’t feel the need to pay more for a name brand.  Through our research, we have found that some items are not as good generic, but we make a note so we don’t waste money trying it and disliking it over and over again – peanut butter, for one.

Monkey is allergic to cow’s milk, something we hope he will outgrow.  But until that time, we will only purchase it at Wal-Mart.  We have price checked that milk in every store we can find, and by far, Wal-Mart has the better deal. Many items will be similarly priced in several stores, but every once in a while, a single store wins out.

Another habit we have is that we buy staples in bulk.  We know we will use up a lot of rice and toilet paper, so we buy it at Sam’s Club.  But pay close attention to prices, because bulk is not always a better deal.  Sometimes is it outright more expensive.  And sometimes you will not use up all of an item before it goes bad.

But I do use coupons, sometimes.

With all of the bad flak I give coupons, I actually do use them every once in a while.  We get some in the mail from Kroger and Publix every few months.  I use them only if it is something I am going to buy anyway and I will be going to that store before the coupon expires. And every once in a while we will get a coupon in the mail to a restaurant we want to go to.  In other words, I will use them if they don’t inconvenience me.

If you hate coupons, like me, have no fear – this blog will not tell you that you have to cut coupons to retire early.

What tricks do you use to save money on groceries and other household staples?

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