On this dreary November Thursday, we will be briefly touching on the topic of coupons. I say briefly because I'm not going to go into detail on how to coupon or tell you that couponing is totally worth it.
Back in March of this year, I did a whole post titled Sticking to my Grocery Budget and I am going to refer you back to that one if you want to know how I save money while grocery shopping. I don't want to be repetitive so I won't be doing a Thrifty Thursday post on grocery shopping. Unless you can think of a different angle I can take, then feel free to tell me and I will write you up a post!
Anyways, back to the coupons. Using coupons in Canada vs. using coupons in the States is a totally different story and is far too complicated for me to get into. I just want to talk about some benefits to using coupons and some downfalls to using coupons.
First up, coupons can definitely help save you money if used right. My first tip to using coupons is to only clip/print/order coupons that you will use. Clipping every single coupon you see and stashing them in an envelope or a coupon binder is most likely going to overwhelm you. And when you feel overwhelmed, you're probably not going to even use the coupons. So I like to look carefully at the coupons that I'm clipping and see if I will actually use it. I do occasionally get coupons that I won't use but I know will come in handy when trading with others. More on that later.
Second, don't buy something just because you have a coupon for it. If you wouldn't normally purchase an item, buying it with a coupon is still spending money you wouldn't normally spend. So in fact, you aren't saving any money but spending more than usual. If the product is free (with the coupon), then by all means get it and enjoy it. But if the item is still pretty pricey, even with the coupon, you are better off leaving it on the shelf.
Third, don't use coupons as an excuse to buy a ton of junk food. I find most coupons floating around are for processed foods or for new products. It's easy to justify buying a package of cookies or chocolates because you get a good deal on them with that coupon, but it's not going to help you eat healthier. Say no to the crap, even if you have a coupon. That being said, the occasional splurge to treat yourself is okay, just don't make a habit of it.
Fourth, trading coupons is a great way to get coupons you will actually use. Sometimes, a great coupon comes out. As in, it's for a product you use on a regular basis and the coupon value is good. But a lot of times, you can only order a limited amount of coupons from a company. This is when trading comes in handy. I am part of a Facebook group for couponers in my area and it is a great resource for making trades and finding coupons that you will actually use. Just yesterday, I got some high value coupons from a lady in the group for some gluten-free bread.
Coupons can be money savers or they can be money wasters, it's a matter of how you use them. Some people swear by them, others hate them. It's totally a personal choice and I can see both sides of the argument. For me, I use them on occasion but not that often. With my food intolerances and the diet we follow, there aren't many coupons out there for us. But when we do find a good coupon, we put it to use and feel good about the money we saved.
What about you? Do you use coupons? Like them or hate them? Any tips I forgot to mention?
Thrifty Thursday Mini Series
Week 1: Tracking Your Spending
Week 2: Monthly Budget
Week 3: Just Say No
Week 4: Mini Emergency Fund
Week 5: Buying vs Making
Week 6: Coupons
Week 7: Debt
Week 8: Christmas Gifts
Week 9: Thrift Stores
Week 10: Finale