Tell Me about Couponing...

Omagh, Northern Ireland
December 7, 2011 8:21am CST
I'm aware the Couponing craze is established in the US,and here in the UK there was a show on about it and Frugal Living on TV last week that I saw a bit of..I saw a Woman doing her shopping and being presented with her total,and then handing over coupons that saw that amount reduced by about 80%..Which made her very happy! They then interviewed her family,and her kids seemed to have mixed feelings about some of the food She'd scored over time..Yes,it was cheap or "free",but I felt shouldn't being able to enjoy the produce be as important when shopping? If the stuff was nasty,"cheap or free" shouldn't be a reason to buy or eat it..or should it? The other thing that struck me was,there didn't appear to be much in the way of fresh food from the foods on their dinner table..packaged meals,frozen pizza,Ice cream desserts..they have their place as convenience foods,but you have to think about healthy foods too!
1 person likes this
7 responses
@peavey (15096)
• United States
7 Dec 11
Most coupons are for convenience foods, that's true. I made my living writing about frugal living for many years and I can tell you that many people don't understand the basic idea of saving money. Getting any kind of food or product at such a reduced price or free is a very narrow view. It isn't frugal if it's of poor quality or something no one even likes. What's the sense in that? Also, a lot of these "coupon queens" spend hours and hours and hours each month and even get their kids involved, then call it "free." It isn't free. If you'd put that kind of effort into a job or income producing activity, you could pay full price for the food plus pay the mortgage, too. It's a game, but it's not a smart one. Couponing to an extreme hurts the economy because it makes it harder for those who need to use coupons to get them and it makes the idea of thumbing one's nose at the producers, the transporters, the grocery stores and their employees, seem right. It isn't. I think it was a dumb idea to make a show out of it and I hope that it doesn't last much longer. Too many people get the wrong idea from it.
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• Omagh, Northern Ireland
7 Dec 11
Interesting that you made a Living writing on this subject! as for the TV show,it falls in with the budget saving mentality of the TV channel,in creating "Reality TV" shows..I'd agree that taking the thing to extremes takes it out of the area of a hobby and into something more like a compulsion...
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@peavey (15096)
• United States
8 Dec 11
It's the "compulsion" part that I object to for the TV show. People have enough problems without pushing something like this.
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@peavey (15096)
• United States
8 Dec 11
Oh, I agree, coffeebreak, and didn't mean to come across as if I disagreed with all couponing. Companies don't put out coupons to support people like this, though. They put them out to entice people to try their products and/or to continue buying them. I use them myself when they make sense - as in, when it's for something I would have bought anyway and when it makes a name brand cheaper than the equivalent generic or store brand. I also agree that companies factor in the cost of coupons into the price of their products, but they're in it to make a profit and that's part of the business. If they couldn't make a profit, there'd be no reason to stay in business.
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@ShyBear88 (16862)
• United States
7 Dec 11
I live couponing but not like these people. Thy have made coupling harder now. You can't use double coupons and all the stores have different rules when it comes to coupons.
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• Omagh, Northern Ireland
7 Dec 11
I might make use of a suitable coupon if I had one,but coordinating my life around shopping this way is going a bit far,IMO..
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• Omagh, Northern Ireland
8 Dec 11
Working your shopping trips around where you can actually use the coupons gathered must take even more planning..and if they'd impose limits on the number you can use,and windows when you can or can't use them,it's beginning to look like too much hassle jumping through hoops to get that "Bargain"...
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@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
8 Dec 11
Yeah, thats the way they are making it for the rest of us. A few spoil it for the masses! I don't mind having a limit on how many coupons you can use if I can get some of them doubled. I go to one store only. THis traveling around to other stores, just uses up time and GAS at nearly $5 a gallon! They never mention that! But yes, the hoops are coming!
@Fortunata (1137)
• United States
7 Dec 11
Couponing for some people is like a sport or a hobby. I agree not everything that is couponed is that great or good for you. I'm pretty picky about what I use a coupon for, so it's hard sometimes to get what I want, lol. But if you have a large family it can be a godsend. Stores don't give many coupons for produce, I guess because it spoils too quickly or they figure not that many people would want it. Over here people get freezers so they can store a lot of food. If you have a lot of mouths to feed, it's essential to have one. When my grandmother lived on ranches, she was a ranch cook and she had to freeze a lot of things, especially bread and other things.
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@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
8 Dec 11
Freezers are a great thing to have and a good money saver. Buy the meat that is on sale and seperate it into meal quantities and freeze it. Totally intelligent thing to do! No, they never have coupons for fresh foods, meats, most dairy and other parishables. Why? THey know you will buy them without coupons and can't stock up on them in anyway so why offer you a discount on what you need? But they can't be quite like that on other foods....if you don't buy that canned stuff this week...it'll be on sale next week etc.
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• Omagh, Northern Ireland
12 Jan 12
Seems to me here that much of the fresh food is being sold by multipack or BOGOF promotions..so you either need a freezer or a lot of planning to make best use of the amount of produce you're bringing in..otherwise,wastage is going to cancel out any savings you might make with the original purchase..
@cher913 (25897)
• Canada
7 Dec 11
i find these couponers a little excentric. i read about one woman who was a couponer in the US and got great deal with her coupons but she ended up paying $100- per week for newspapers. where is the savings in that?
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• Omagh, Northern Ireland
7 Dec 11
I can get that people will do couponing to save money,but things have shifted away from that when the aim is to get as much stuff as possible for the outlay,regardless of whether or not the items will be of any use to them!
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@hvedra (1623)
8 Dec 11
What Peavey said! Also, I saw the show - just started my own discussion over on Frugal Living about the Coupon Queen! I'll restate my thoughts here, she may have come out thinking she had £60 WORTH of groceries but I don't. She had groceries that COST £60 but I'll note that you didn't get to see what they were - already bagged and hidden from me which was annoying because I'm a very nosey person! . Give me £60 and I can FILL a trolley (hers wasn't even half full) of good, basic, healthy foods and they would be WORTH the money. Most coupons are for junk or stuff that was overpriced to start with. Even with a coupon many branded goods are more expensive than generic. Also, she got a lot of her coupons by complaining about products and saying they didn't like them rather than there actually being something wrong with whatever it was. I think she'd got carried away with getting stuff rather than saving money. To me that's just consumerism on the cheap rather than frugality. It's participating in the system rather than trying to beat it.
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
8 Dec 11
That'd be the thing I'd be concerned about..getting a load of stuff cheap isn't much good if it's going to take years to shift the quantities you got,not to mention where you're going to have room to store it...
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@hvedra (1623)
8 Dec 11
I do wonder about the storage. I will store somethings - like bread flour - because we only shop where it is cheapest once in a while. I do also build up a little stock for the festive season by buying long-life treats in the months and weeks running up to it - but this is only a boxful, not half the house!
@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
8 Dec 11
Yeah, they don't show you everything! Seldom do they show that they bought fresh produce or meats or dairy things. They seem to buy Most of it is stuff that is considered "non essentials". 129 bottles of roll on deodarant, 75 candy bars, 49 bottles of soda, things like that. Yeah, they are good, but 129 bottles of deoderant will dry up long before you even hit the 100 mark! And no offense to anyone...but most people don't need 75 candy bars! IF you dont' eat them..they will also go stale. I hadn't htought about the complaining about an product to get free coupons...good grief how much complaining can a person do? But then again...they say they spend 60 hours a week at it, so maybe that is just sitting at the pc and writing letters or emails of compaint.But still...how many will they send you on a complaint? I think that they have a good idea...just that it is way out of proportion. I mean, why go through all that if you aren't even going to be able to "reap the rewards"...stuff goes bad and stale...then you toss it...where's your reward?
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@Arieles (2474)
• United States
8 Dec 11
I dabbled in couponing for a time, and saved a little money. Fact is, it takes a lot of time to save a few dollars on products that are doing an injustice to our health. There are reports everyday about all the negative side affects of processed foods, from heart disease to cancer. I believe the real savings comes from buying produce that actually benefit the health of our families, and that is something that my family is worth, even if it is more expensive.
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
8 Dec 11
I Agree with your experiences and am being wary around processed foods....I'd tend to check out offers on fresh produce in store more than collecting coupons on items manufacturers were trying to discount to get them shifted off the shelves..
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@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
8 Dec 11
Problem with "healthy foods" is that they are to expensive for most to afford. I know they are for me. I mean a small box of a natural dry breakfast cereal is $5 but a much larger not so natural (like Cherrios) box is $3.75. If you got kids, you most likely can't afford the "healthy" one. I can't and it is just me and my husband! And maybe if the healthy ones would provide coupons, it'd help us to be able to afford the product, plus give them a tax write off! Coupons are good on both sides! In the produce, they don't offer coupons as they know you will buy and can't stock up. SUpply and demand. You can only use 2 heads of lettuce a week, and can't buy when it is on sale for 75 cents and freeze it or store it in your pantry. So they put a little sale on it, and it is bought. Why bother with a coupon if it is going to be bought regularly without? I have also looked at "natural" produce..again, i can't afford it! A small hand full of organic carrots for one meal or 2 bags of "regular" carrots that will make at least 5 meals? That's what most are dealing with. We'd love to eat the healthy stuff..just can't afford it and do the best we can with the "other " stuff. Like Cherrios instead of a sugar covered cereal.
@zzyw87 (1261)
• Philippines
8 Dec 11
Wow, she saved 80%! That is a lot. If it was me, I would be so happy to be able to save that much. Actually, collecting coupons make me happy. Maybe it is because I feel that my money was well-spent on a fair or lower price. For the money saved, I would be able to buy other things. I agree with you that we should choose wisely what we will buy. I don't buy something just because there is a coupon.
@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
8 Dec 11
I get fast food coupons all the time online. I print them and use them often...just for snack time. Sometimes the value menu is cheaper but a free item...can't beat that! I also joined places I like and get regular coupons for things from there..like Michael and Joanne's craft stores..every week they have a 40% off one item coupon. Book stores have the same. I print out only a few of the grocery store item ones...just dont' use those that they have. And they only replace them the first of the month, so I just check on thefirst day of the month, print out what I want (can usually print 2-3 per coupon anywhere) and then that's it for the month! I have joined sites like Olay and other certain favorites and I get promos from them too. But it works well if YOU choose what coupons you want instead of a bunch of junk mail online.