Are Coupons Right For You?

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A little over a week ago, I published a post about how online coupons can be used to actually save money on things you want to buy. This is in contrast to print coupons which, in my opinion (for the most part), just make you spend money on things you probably don’t need at stores you don’t need to be in.

For example, let’s say you are a consultant and need to meet face-to-face with clients in another country. However, you don’t want to pay for the plane ticket every time you need to meet. So, you decide you want to buy computer meeting/desktop sharing software. Indeed, you could easily go online and search for “GoToMeeting coupon” and find promo codes that could make this acquisition a little less burdensome on your wallet/business cash position.

Of course, this is all well and good. However, another important consideration to think about is whether or not coupons are a good fit for you/your situation in the first place.

To start out, let’s take a look at when, in my opinion, everyone can benefit from the use of coupons.

When Can Everyone Benefit From Using Coupons? – Larger, Infrequent Purchases


Even in the case of my stingy, Great Value generic-brand-buying self, I honestly believe there is an important place in everyone’s life for coupons.

What is this place? Easy! I believe that everyone can benefit from the use of coupons/deals on “one-off,” larger, infrequent purchases such as laptops, iPods, cars, kitchen appliances, etc. These are the purchases that are typically planned out in advance, and one can easily find the time to search for any deals that are on offer at the time.

However, in the case of everyday purchases, the answer to this question becomes slightly more complex.

When Does The Advantageousness of Using Coupons Become Situation Specific? – Everyday Purchases

For me personally, when I go to Wal-Mart once a month to purchase mass quantities of food (most of which is Great Value brand) for my $2 per meal or less consumption, the last thing on my mind is coupons. Buying Great Value is a coupon! 🙂

When it comes to every day purchases, the question of whether or not to use coupons becomes very situation-specific. Because of this, I’ve tried to summarize some of these situations/considerations below.

  • Do you buy generic items?
    • In my experience, the majority (if not all) of the coupons I have seen were for brand name items. Has anyone ever seen a coupon for Kroger brand corn or Great Value brand green beans? 
    • Because of this, if you tend to buy a lot of generic items, it most likely won’t be all that advantageous to cut/clip coupons. 
    • However, if you and your family likes brand name items (for example, my mom absolutely will not buy anything but brand name items for special dinners at Thanksgiving and Christmas), clipping coupons can save you hundreds of Dollars throughout the year! 
  • Where do you shop?
    • Being honest with yourself about where you typically shop is important as well. 
    • If you do most of your shopping at places like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Costco, you are probably saving quite a bit of money just from the mere act of shopping there, so coupons will probably be less crucial to save you money. 
    • However, if you do a lot of shopping at smaller, boutique stores (natural food stores, vitamin shops, etc), the prices can be much higher. And, it becomes very advantageous to plan out what to buy there in advance and obtain coupons for your purchases.

  • Do you enjoy clipping coupons?
    • Personally, I obtain no pleasure whatsoever from clipping coupons, since most of what I buy is generic brands. Also, I’d much rather be doing other things like learning more about index investing, asset allocation, or blogging.
    • However, I have a lot of friends who really enjoy sitting down with a magazine or newspaper on the weekends and finding deals. If this is the case for you, clip those coupons and enjoy it! It’s probably one of the cheapest forms of entertainment you can do! 

  • What’s your time worth to you (or to your family)?
    • The last consideration relates to the economic shape/state of you (or your family). 
    • If your family has a high net worth and both of the “breadwinners” of the family make $50-$100 per hour, it probably isn’t necessary to clip coupons. However, if you all enjoy clipping coupons, go for it!
    • On the other hand, if your family is in a more modest economic situation, you need to be looking for every little way to save money.

So, those are the main considerations I could think of in order to help you determine if coupons have a place in your life. I hope you got some value out of this post!

How about you all? Do you use coupons? If so, when do you use them? Do you know any one that uses coupons for everyday purchases? 


Share your experiences by commenting below!

    ***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/24218656@N03/4589929510/sizes/m/in/photostream/

    Comments

    1. I use coupons, and when combined with store sales, they can make products significantly cheaper than store brands. Sometimes items are actually free. I don't spend much time on coupons. I write the date on the insert and then file them. Once a week, while going over store sales fliers, I go online to see what coupons match with the store sales fliers and just pull out the coupon that is matched. Internet sites do the matching for me and it takes very little time to pull out just the coupon I need.

      I do most of my shopping at a grocery outlet and low-cost grocery stores.
      This week, there was a coupon for cheese and one for yogurt, both in brands that I would use and that will go on sale before the coupon expires. I would buy cheese and yogurt anyway and the coupon can help me to get them for much less than the store brand.

      You can see my reasoning, and my math, on a post I did about using coupon deals to meet my financial goals: http://thesavedquarter.com/2011/02/how-to-use-dru… In the scenario from this post, I earned about $26 per hour by couponing. Not bad for a little effort!

      • Thanks so much for sharing your experience SavedQuarter! It may be time that I do another comparison between the price of name brands with coupons compared to the generic brands. The last time I did it, I was amazed with how much cheaper the generics are, that I might have given up too quickly. That would be very interesting to revisit!!
        My recent post Cheapskate Jakes Frugal Ramblins 3 – My Ultimate Cheapskate Meal Idea!

    2. I use coupon mostly for toiletries but sometimes you can find a great deal for frozen veggies or cheese that bets the generics. I always check my match-up sites just in case as well as mypoints for coupons for things I already use. In addition, for every coupon I use at tops I get 10 points, get 100 points and I get 10 cents off gas. I normally only go to Tops for great deals, but even then I have gotten 10 cents off once every few months.
      My recent post Frugal and Busy Summer has Begun

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