Why Do Coupons Scare Us?

by Michael Nolan on 25 January 2014 · 2 comments

in Saving Money

coupons

I started writing about frugal living when people thought the term frugal lifestyle meant that I was a hoarder who kept the same pair of worn out tennis shoes for 20 years, reused tissues and wrestled homeless people for a penny I saw on the sidewalk.  Then our generation’s Great Recession began and people began to look on this frugal thing a bit more favorably.

As recently as a few years ago, the person in the supermarket who is thumbing through her coupon organizer and handing that stack of coupons to the cashier would be looked down upon though for the life of me I simply am unable to comprehend why.  In my mind I don’t see using coupons as anything other than a different form of currency and if you learn how to use coupons properly you will never again see them as anything other than money in your wallet.

Somehow we – the few, the proud, the couponers – have become less laughable these days as more and more people are looking for ways to save money where ever and whenever possible.  Now it isn’t quite so cool to spend ridiculous amounts of money when you don’t have to.

Even with a recession I get people who tell me things like:

“Using coupons takes too much time.”

People say this to me all the time and I generally debunk it in under a minute by asking them how much they get paid for an hour at work.  In an hour of coupon research I can make $20 or more. 

Notice I didn’t say I could save $20?  That’s right folks, I make that money.  I have to eat so I am going to the supermarket one way or the other -with or without coupons and sales.  I’m going to buy (for example) a can of corn regardless, but I have a choice.

A choice?  Yes, a choice. 

The supermarket is having a BOGO sale on a different brand of corn (Buy One, Get One Free).  You can spend $1 on one can of the brand you usually get or get two cans for the same price.  Saving money will sometimes require us to be brand flexible, so be prepared for that.  You opt to get the BOGO corn and feel pretty good about yourself, but wait, there’s more!

The brand of corn that’s on sale? There’s a coupon online worth $.55 when you buy two cans of corn.  Now I know what you’re thinking, I didn’t buy two, I got one of them free and while you may technically be right, it is still seen as you purchasing two of the item.  Now let’s do some quick math:

2 cans of corn @  $1 each  =   $2.00

BOGO price for same 2 cans  $1.00
coupon worth $.55              -$  .55
FINAL PRICE BEFORE TAX 
 $ .45

And just like that you bought two cans for forty-five cents.  You saved $1.55 – more than 75% off the original price.

I’m not going to suggest that you are always going to save 75% off your grocery bill but if you saved that much just once every other month wouldn’t it be worth it?  What if you only managed to save 25% every week?  Let’s say your weekly grocery budget is $100.  And let’s do some more math:

52 weeks of groceries @ $100/week      $5,200.00
Less 25 %                                                   – 25% 
                                                            $1,300.00

Now can you say that saving over a thousand bucks on groceries isn’t worth it Again this is just an estimate; I know people who save 25% without trying.  If you put in a little effort you can routinely save 40-50% easily.

Need some coupons to get you started? We just so happen to have free coupons that you can print from your computer:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kat White January 25, 2014 at 5:29 pm

It’s not that coupons scare me so much as they are for things I don’t buy. So many of them are for heavily processed items and stuff Michale Polan wouldn’t describe as food. You can save some money, but at what cost to your health overall?

Michael Nolan January 25, 2014 at 9:04 pm

I agree that most coupons are for things that we have no business consuming, but there are coupons for lots of items that are, at least, okay. I would never recommend someone use coupons for items they would not normally consume, and processed foods are something I recommend that no one consume!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: