Is couponing really frugal?

United States
December 22, 2010 10:15pm CST
I get four sunday papers. We just went down from eight. Im trying to decide if I could do better by skipping the coupons all together. I have to pay for the paper so that offsets some of the savings. Most of the coupons we get are for highly processed items that I wouldnt have bought otherwise. But there are often items that are free and that helps. I think I could live cheaper with a little extra work. What I am wondering is if I could do better by just working a little harder on where we get our stuff. I can buy wheat and oats in bulk and just buy them every few months. I think we will eat the same things over and over again but is it really that bad? Where do you stand?
3 people like this
17 responses
• United States
23 Dec 10
Sure buying the paper is yet another expense, but you can also get the same coupons for free online, the only thing is that now it uses your ink from your printer so we certainly cannot catch a break. Can we??
• United States
27 Dec 10
I think its a delicate balance. Its a matter of making sure there are less pennies going out then going in. There has to be a better way to make it all work. Ive been looking into the ecoupons that you can add to the store cards, but I still have a lot to learn about those.
• United States
27 Dec 10
I disagree - there are coupons that you can get in the newspaper that you cannot print online! That said, there are coupons online that you cannot get in the newspaper. So I tend to use a combination of them!! I love that I get bonuses from the online ones from other sites as well. Definitely a win-win there! My problem with ecoupons is the stores with the best prices dont seem to participate in those programs. So I rarely am able to use them.
• United States
27 Dec 10
Sorry I could not be of additional help, as I simply provided another resource.
@FrugalMommy (1450)
• United States
23 Dec 10
Maybe. The trick is to not stop looking for a better deal on products when you have coupons for them. I print coupons from the internet for products I use and am planning to buy. When I go to the store, I always make sure to compare prices between the product I have the coupon for and the other brands on the shelf. A lot of the time, I find I'll save more by buying the store brand than by using my coupon, and I end up leaving it there on the shelf for someone else to use. Do you normally end up with a large number of coupons you don't use from your Sunday papers? A lot of people seem to make a bit of extra money by offering them on eBay. It's something I would consider doing if I purchased the Sunday paper. I've started buying beans, rice, and oats in bulk at Sam's Club. I also buy spices in bulk, and stock up on meats when the Extreme Value packs are on sale at Safeway. I use Supercook to find recipes that use only ingredients I have at home. It really helps me save money on groceries and plan meals for the week. No worries about getting bored with the same old thing, either! http://www.supercook.com/
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Dec 10
I cant count the number of times I have walked in with a coupon that I thought made a great deal and ended up walking out with a store brand item instead for less money. I always to the math to break it down to cost per oz or unit. To me if I know I will use it, which I am very good at using what I have, then if its cheaper per use to buy a bulk load of it thats fine with me. We go to Costco and I was thinking about getting rid of the card but Im just not sure I can go with out it.
@pokumon (647)
• United States
23 Dec 10
I think you should stop getting the papers because I don't think it's worth it. There are other places you can find coupons that will actually pay you to use their coupons. Two off the top of my head are Inbox Dollars and Swagbucks. You can just print them off your computer. You shouldn't buy food you wouldn't otherwise buy.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Dec 10
I have used coupons printed through Mypoints before. I forgot all about them. I did wonder about the cost of the ink but if I am only printing the ones I am using then the coupon should offset any ink costs. With the newspapers I end up with a ton of extra papers that I need to recycle, that never needed to be printed in the first place.
• United States
23 Dec 10
I try hard to make different meals. I get tired of food real fast. I stopped ordering the paper because the coupons were causing me to buy things I would normally not buy. so,I spent more than I saved. I don't cut coupons anymore. I get them free every week in the mail.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Dec 10
I didn't think about getting sick of the meals. That could be an issue later on. I wonder if really the right option is a combo of both coupons, bulk and frugal shopping.
• United States
2 Jan 11
I think it depends where you live. If you can double all those coupons and get a deal where it's cheaper than a store brand and or Aldi then go for it. If you can't then you are wasting your time. But that's just my opinion. As my mother used to dumpster dive when I was a kid for coupons and soda cans. You know she did ok w/ the coupons because there were not alot of store brands then and no Aldi's at the time. Like I said if you can get an awsome deal on things then do it, if not then it may not be worth your time to even bother.
• United States
3 Jan 11
I dont have any stores around me that double coupons at all. Id love it if they did and I think then there would be no choice but to use the coupons. If these coupons I was getting were double valued I could work wonders with my budget and still have room to splurge. We dont have any Aldis around us either, I have heard great things about that store. I guess its all time to evaluate things.
@patgalca (13962)
• Orangeville, Ontario
12 Jan 11
Yeah, no double couponing days here in Canada.
• United States
12 Jan 11
There's always save-a-lot as well that's cheaper as well but they are only in the "city" not the suburbs. I've heard so many people buying numerous sunday papers to get all these coupons and get them doubled at places like Kroger and walk out with huge deals on things. Here there's only one store that does it & they limit you to 5 coupons & only on a certain day & you have to buy an additional $25 in items besides. I only want what I can double & that's it.
• United States
27 Dec 10
I never use coupons because I always find the generic brand is cheaper. And most of the stuff they print them for these days I am not interested in. I am trying to clean up my family's diet of processed foods. That said, there is a system I read in a book once. I can't for the life of me remember the title, but he said that he always bought stuff if it was $1 or less. That was a good deal to him. And I think its a pretty sound bit of advice. It does however, limit your diet a lot. Meat is hard to find under a dollar a lb, but I have seen it.
• United States
31 Dec 10
We are quitting the processed foods for the most part this year too. We are looking for ways to get healthy foods in bulk to help cut that cost. We want to be more natural but our budget hasnt jumped to make room for it. We are going to dig out a larger garden this year to help a bit.
• United States
1 Jan 11
Isn't it real sad how hard it is to get quality food. Yet junk is accessible and highly publicized. No wonder everyone is getting fatter. At least in America. I just like how I feel when I eat natural.
@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
2 Jan 11
It can go both ways. No sense spending money to drive around town to save money on certain groceries that are on sale at different stores. YOu just spend in gas what you save at the store. That only works if there are two stores right near you and you could go to each of them for their sale items. But couponing...again..only good if there are coupons for things you use and if the store/generic brand is not cheaper than the name brand with the coupon. My problem is that last few years...the coupons that come out are for things I don't buy, don't want, and evne with the coupon they are to expensive. You just have to look at what you are buying. Often, I'll have a coupon for a name brand and I know the store brand is just as good, and without a coupon, the store brand is still cheaper than the name brand. It helps to watch sales and match up your coupons to the sales. Gotta watch expriation dates tho. It takes about a month or so of collecting and using before you can know that it is working for you. Don't expect to go tomorrow with a few coupons and come out with a cart loaded for only $5 cause of coupons. It takes time for things like that to happen. And now a days the coupons are not like they used to be. Used to be $1.00 off one item. Now it is 25 cents off 3 items! Not to much savings there. I can't afford "healthy" foods. And seldom see coupons for them either. When I had kids I used to do coupons faithfully and it saved me alot, but these days shopping forjust two and the coupons not being so great all the time...I just do it generally speaking and watch more for sales and buy/stock up while on sale.
• United States
3 Jan 11
When my kids were younger and we were going through diapers and wipes those coupons were priceless. I dont think we could have gotten by without them. Now that the kids are older we are still using the coupons for things that our household uses but the food isnt as easy. We are trying to eat more healthy and more natural and those items just dont put coupons in the paper. You are so right about the coupons being less value. There were great deals to be found all over the place and as the economy has been rough the coupons have been less lucrative as well. I guess these companys are feeling the pinch too.
• United States
1 Jan 11
Some grocery stores like Kroger will let you load their coupons right onto their super saver card. I don't remember what they call their card, but it's a store card you get for free and it entitles you to store savings. But, you can also visit the Kroger store website online and select the coupons you want and those coupons will go right into your store card. Of course, you have to register your store card with the site first, so they will know where to send the coupons and that way you don't even have to use ink. Most of the coupons are for highly processed foods as you mentioned. But, if that's what your family likes, then it's probably what you will want to buy. So that works out. As for eating healthy, there are a lot of basic things you can buy and prepare including beans, chili, homemade soups, cornbread, etc. Every meal doesn't have to be fancy. Just nutritious and beneficial! Good luck with your hunt for the ultimate money saving technique.
• United States
3 Jan 11
The more I try to learn about health the less I feel like I can eat from the boxes we get at the store anymore. I guess that is part of the reason I feel like coupons are losing their value for my family. I think that there are great deals on things like shampoos and deoderants that I will still look for and stock up on though. That is one area I wasnt considering like I should have and that is a big part of the family budget.
@dorannmwin (36636)
• United States
29 Dec 10
I tend to be of the school of thought that coupons are a great thing if you are using them on items that you are going to be buying anyway. However, I do think that getting four newspapers is a bit excessive. I would try to cut that down to just one newspaper and see if there is a coupon exchange or even friends and family members that don't use their coupons that would be willing to give them to you. That, in my opinion would be the more frugal option.
• United States
31 Dec 10
It is also wasteful in the fact that we have 4 papers to get rid of. That is a few extra trees that are cut down just to get me my coupons. I do use them though and when there is a good deal with a coupon I have 4 so I can stock up. I got one for each member of my family.
• Canada
29 Dec 10
I order coupons off of sites like websaver.ca (U.S. citizens have a lot more coupon sites than us Canadians do) which saves me the money buying the paper! I sometimes ask friends that don't use coupons if I can take a glance through their papers. To people who don't use coupons, they are just so much junk to throw out, so they don't mind giving them up.
• United States
31 Dec 10
I should be asking friends and neighbors that dont use their coupons of I can have them. I know a lot of my family think it is to much work to save a few cents here and there. My hubby used to think it was embarassing but after he saw the savings he was okay with it all.
• United States
27 Dec 10
There are a lot of factors to consider. My sister and I had been buying a newspaper each week from the store. That meant that we were paying full price! Not very smart. Instead, I finally signed up for my local Sunday paper. We are sharing the coupons. For a 26 week subscription, it cost me about $21 dollars. I got my first newspaper yesterday. I used 2 of those coupons and already saved over $10. I used 2 manufacturer coupons and a store coupon. That meant that I paid $2.76 for 2 bottles of shampoo and 2 bottles of conditioner. They were Pantene and Herbal Essences. So they are good brands. That means I am already halfway to the cost of my newspaper and I only use a couple of the coupons from 1 newspaper! I already have plans to use another $1 coupon tomorrow. CVS has Dawn soap on sale for $0.94. I have a coupon for $1 off two!! That will mean that each of the bottles of dish detergent will be only $0.44. And that is only the coupons that I am using! I will pass the coupons onto my sister - the ones I wont use. So she can pick out which ones she wants. She will pass the remainder onto another person. It really does add up!! That said, Im not sure if it is worth getting 8 newspapers. I would keep track of your savings from coupons each week to determine that.
• United States
31 Dec 10
I know I get more then the value of the paper each year, many times over. I have a million things of deoderant, basicaly I will never have to buy any again. (assuming that they have a decient shelf life.) I have five years worth of laundry detergent and the list goes on. Food is harder to stock up on since the coupons are never as good and things go bad. If I did the math I think I would still find out it was way over worth it if we only used half.
@Pisces54 (49)
• United States
27 Dec 10
If you are trying to save, why do you get 4 Sunday papers? If all these are free then it is all right but if you are paying for the 4 Sunday papers, I think 1 is enough. In 1 Sunday paper you will have enough coupons for a month. Yes, it is advisable to buy in bulk but it should be non-perishables and watch out for the expiration dates. I tried using coupons on my groceries but I got tired of it. But i still use coupons once in a while. What I do is just buy things enough for 1 month so I do grocery only once a month. It saves time and money.
• United States
31 Dec 10
I get the four papers for the four sets of coupons. In the past I did really well on cliping the coupons but I got a bit tired of all the work. I keep wondering if I need to put more work into clipping all the coupons or just working harder to get more deals on the food I need. Coupons were a life saver when the kids were in diapers.
@megamatt (14333)
• United States
23 Dec 10
No, I call it smart. I think that its really just spreading your financial resources as much as it can. There are times where things are available in bulk. Therefore I really do purchase them in bulk whenever I can. It is just the best thing to do. It is not a cheap thing, it is a smart utilization of your resources. Nothing more, nothing else. Especially if they keep, then you would be kind of foolish not to buy things in bulk.
@cutepenguin (6458)
• Canada
23 Dec 10
I try to just buy things in bulk. Sometimes we get good coupons for clothing stores and shoe stores, and these are things we need to buy anyway. Like we just used a coupon for $10 off $50 for a clothing store where we bought two Christmas presents. That helped a lot. And coupons for things like diapers and cleaners can be useful if we actually use that kind. I avoid coupons for processed foods, etc.
• United States
27 Dec 10
When we got the coupons we were thinking it was to cut our food bills. Really there is more then that we get from our coupons. Our sons birthday is this week and there happens to be a coupon to Red Lobster which happens to be his favorite restarant. Its only a few dollars but every penny adds up.
@cher913 (25895)
• Canada
23 Dec 10
it is to a certain point but i have often found that the store brand prices are cheaper than the brand name item is even with the cents off coupon so i generally go with the store brand.
• United States
27 Dec 10
I have found some great deals with coupons but I have found some great deals with out them too. I think its more a matter of how hard I am willing to work to get the deals. I have a lot going on in life and sometimes cutting these coupons out and getting organized to go shopping is just another thing to do. The store brands are often cheaper then the coupons anyway so why spend all that time cutting the coupons out?
@lingli_78 (12852)
• Australia
23 Dec 10
not really... if the coupon is really useful and we can use it, why not??? even if it means that we are being frugal, i don't see what is wrong with that... especially in nowadays economy... we need to save every single penny that we can in order to survive... take care and have a nice day...
• United States
27 Dec 10
Sometimes for us it saves me more to not go into the store. I need to get better at just buying what I went on for and skipping out on the other great deals I could have lived with out. That would save me a ton of pennies right there.
@patgalca (13962)
• Orangeville, Ontario
12 Jan 11
I don't purchase newspapers. I live in a small town so our two newspapers (one twice weekly, one once weekly) are free delivered to all households in and outside of town. But I think buying in bulk or no name products are probably cheaper than using the coupons for popular name brand products. I try to use the coupons when the items are on sale to get better value but that's the best I can do.