Back when I first started couponing it was just starting to get more popular. I was in my early 20’s, living with my parents, sister and boyfriend (now husband) and had plenty of debt (yikes). Because I loved shopping so much I spent my free time looking up great deals and couponing for items for the family. Though I tried a few times to revive my passion and excitement for couponing, I just haven’t been able to get back into it and here’s why.
Too time consuming
I just cannot find the time to keep all of the coupons straight and, even more so, to keep up with all the deals! Between working from home AND being a stay at home mom to my son I can hardly find time to wash my hair let alone spend an hour everyday finding deals and planning the shopping trips. And let’s not even talk about having to keep coupons organized. You either collect all the coupons you can get your hands on and keep them organized, or you order specific coupons online and hope that by the time they get to you the deal is still available.
We’ve stopped using most items with coupons
I would estimate that close to 70% of our grocery budget goes to produce. We don’t eat a lot of prepackaged food and focus on whole, natural food so the coupons that we actually use are pretty minimal. Even with health, beauty and home items, I do my best to go natural and cruelty free which greatly limits the coupons that are useful to me since most coupons are for mainstream products. I used to get inserts and would end up keeping 1 or 2 coupons and giving the rest away!
Out of stock
Back when I did try to get back into couponing most stores would run out of items so quickly! Unless you make sure to be there the very first day of a great coupon deal, chances are you won’t be getting it. And even then, I’ve encountered plenty of items sold out the first day.
Time is money
Since I work from home and I’m also a stay at home mom, my time is worth more than I would be saving by spending even an extra 5 hours a week couponing. And realistically I spent probably closer to 8-10 hours a week between clipping, deal finding and shopping. For our family my time is better spent making money and building my businesses than saving money.
Buying what you don’t need
One trap that I would fall into is buying items I didn’t need because they were a good deal. Spending $1 on an item you don’t really need is still spending $1 when you could be spending $0! I would often stock up on so much stuff that I would think I’d use and then end up giving it away.
Even since I’ve been obsessed with simplifying and decluttering I just can’t stand to have a ton of stuff in my house, even if it’s neatly organized. I remember having a bookshelf in my parents garage with like 20 boxes of cereal that it took us 4 months to go through. Sure we got a good deal, but now that I’m in a home of my own and I prefer not being crowded in with items I just can’t bare having shelves full of stockpiled items. One or two I can do, but 10, 20, 30 of the same item is crazy!
Couponing isn’t the only way to save
While couponing is a lot of fun, it’s not the only way to save! Because I don’t coupon, I find plenty of other ways to save money. I still know what a good deal is and jump on those when I can. As of now I can still feed my family of 3 and buy all of our consumables on about $75/week. I know for a fact I could have it even lower, but it’s a number I’m comfortable with.
Other ways we save without couponing
- Weekly Meal Plans
- Shopping Weekly Ads
- Shopping Our Pantry
- Stocking up at good prices
- Apps (Cartwheel, Ibotta, etc)
I am not against couponing! Actually, I do occasionally use a coupon here and there if I see one in the store that works for what I’m buying, but not at the capacity I once did. Not even close. I think we all need to do what works for us. Maybe if I had more children, wasn’t working and used more products that coupons are offered for I would get back into it, but for now it just doesn’t make sense for my life.