Several thoughts about couponing have been running through my mind recently, prompted mostly by cashiers/managers and other consumers that have the wrong idea about coupons (and maybe my husband watching so much MythBusters lately.) This has led me to the the Top 5 Couponing Myths that I think need to be busted! After all, most of us who are already couponers can’t imagine why everyone doesn’t do it! I mean, who doesn’t like to save money, right?! Well, maybe some people out there just aren’t as educated on this process as we are. So here ya go…
1. Using Coupons is stealing from Stores.
You might think that stores are shorting their profits by taking your coupons but this is completely FALSE!! Stores are reimbursed by the manufacturer for all manufacturer’s coupons (and most of the coupons we use are manufacturer coupons.) Not only do the stores receive the face value of the coupon but they also get shipping and handling cost for the stores to send the coupons in to them. Look at it this way: if the stores weren’t getting paid for coupons they wouldn’t accept them and coupons wouldn’t be one of the top profitable revenues for them! If the manufacturer wasn’t making a profit, they would stop sending out the coupons. Remember, there are lots of consumers who happily pay full price for the same items we get free or cheap with coupons!
2. You can ONLY get JUNK FOOD with coupons.
Sure you can usually get candy and junk cheap with coupons but you can just as easily get healthy and organic products with coupons too! Basically, this is a personal preference. We eat our share of junk food but one of my favorite sections in our local Kroger is the Organic sections. One of my favorite recent steals: Mom’s Best Organic cereal for $.49/box after sale and coupons!
I know produce coupons and/or organics coupons are more rare but they are out there! Here are a couple of tips when buying organic products/produce. First, if there is a brand you like, contact the company’s website or call center directly to ask for coupons. Lots of times, they will send coupons directly to you if you ask! Second, find a blog specifically for good deals on organic products. A good one to check out is Organic Deals & Coupons or do a Swagbucks search for Organic Couponing Blogs.
3. To be effective at couponing, you have to spend lots of time on it each week.
I have said this before, and I will say it again…Couponing is not my life! It isn’t even my full-time or part-time job! I spend an average of 2-4 hours per week organizing, clipping, and sorting my coupons. Now, granted this does not include the actual shopping, only organizing. When I started couponing, it did take a little longer (maybe 4-6 hours.) As I refined my method and got to know what I was doing, I didn’t have to spend as much time on it. I use a binder-method for my coupons that is a little more complex and time consuming than other methods. But really, you don’t even have to spend this much time if you don’t have it. There are several methods like the “No-Clip Insert” Method or the “Envelope” System that may save even more time. The point is couponing should be fun and complement your life…not take it over! If you are using a complicated couponing method, chances are you won’t stick with it. And if you don’t stick with it, you won’t be saving any money!
4. All Couponers are HOARDERS!
We have all seen on tv where some couponers go insane and hoard 300 bottles of mustard or a 40 years supply of toilet paper or take over their garage with diapers they are hoarding (even when they do not have any children in diapers!) I will admit, sometimes people can go overboard with the stockpiling! But you have to realize that we are watching this on reality tv…and it is nothing close to reality! After all, reality tv is meant to shock and awe, it wouldn’t be so addicting with out the drama, right? I don’t know about you but I don’t have enough storage space in my home as it is…and no, I am not going to take over my children’s bedrooms to store 1000 tubes of toothpaste! Let’s be real here. Sales run on a 6-8 week cycle so really your stock pile should only be enough for 6-8 weeks. My “stockpile storage” is this: my pantry for food, 3 shelves in my garage for cleaners and things that aren’t affected by extreme temps, and 3 small totes under my bed for personal items/toiletries. Stuff isn’t taking over my house, and it shouldn’t take over yours either. The point is to save money on things that you need or can donate, not to just get stuff! If we are buying things, just because we have a coupon for it, we will be spending money on products we wouldn’t normally buy. This is never a good deal. Another great tip: Go through your stockpile every 3-4 months and donate some stuff to someone or an organization who will use it. It feels great to be able to bless others!
5.Couponers NEVER buy things without a coupon!
Of course this isn’t true! Everyone at some point or another buys something without a coupon. In fact, I do this on a regular basis. GASP! I know. But really, sometimes what you need just isn’t on sale and sometimes you just can’t get a coupon for it. If you are saving on everything else, one of two things in your cart without coupons aren’t going to matter that much. As I teach in my classes, if you need toilet paper…DO NOT use the napkin deal you got last week. Just go buy it. 😉 Your family will thank you!