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The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Coupons=spending more?

I was recently given a HUGE bag of coupons. Why? No idea. Maybe I was wearing my ugly boots or something. I've never been one of those coupon ladies who can feed a family of 5 for a week for like a nickle. I've always been amazed by them, but just couldn't do it myself. I'm waaaaaay too picky about what I eat and I've realized that a lot of them buy what they have coupons for, even if it's not what they would normally eat. Me? No way! I'm brand loyal. I buy Classico Roasted Garlic pasta sauce because it has no added sugar. I buy Ritz crackers because they are the BEST (believe me, I've tried all the similar ones, but there is nothing like a Ritz) and I buy Small Steps napkins, tissues and paper towels because they are recycled. BRAND LOYAL. That's me. Most of the products I buy don't have coupons (I wonder why), but occasionally I'll find one and use it and feel ridiculously thrifty.
When I got the bag of coupons last week, I thought I'd give it a try. Being thrifty that is. Mr. HH and I went through the bag (it was a big ziplock) and picked out only the things we thought we would need and the things we normally use. Mr. HH was not as discriminatory as I was. )Today I went to the commissary (military grocery store) with my list and coupons and started shopping. Mr.HH had thrown in some laundry detergent coupons for things I don't normally buy, but I decided if it was less expensive with the coupons I'd give it a try. I had a $1 off coupon for Gain. I likethe way Gain smells, but it's a bit pricey. I looked at the price ($5.99-42 loads). I looked at my normal detergent (Purex, in case you're wondering), which is $3.29 for 42 loads. Even with the coupon, the Gain was $1.70 more. I really had to debate with myself. I had a coupon! It felt wrong not to use it, even though it was more expensive. In the end, I saved $9 by using coupons, but I bought some things I wouldn't normally have bought, just because I had a coupon. I had one for $1.50 off a GE Energy Saver bulb. Said bulb was $3.42. Granted I paid less than $2 for it, but that's still more than the $.70 I would have spent on a normal light. We don't pay electric (it's part of our military housing), so it's not going to save me any money in the long run either. I actually think I spent more with the coupons than I normally would have. Actually I know I did. I've decided I'm going to pass the bag o' coupons along to someone else and only use the ones for products I normally by and feel smart and thrifty.


11 comments:

Allison said...

I'm totally the same way. I never even look at coupons because I know it will just make me buy things that I wouldn't have bought otherwise.

Today they were handing out fliers of coupons when I walked into the commissary. I ended up using just one: buy one get one free Febreeze candle. That, to me, IS a good deal. Those candles are expensive but they last forever and smell SO good and I definitely would have bought one without a coupon :)

Bonita said...

I kind of sort of am one of the coupon queens. My biggest conquest was buying $58 worth of groceries and paying $1.03. The cashier actually got mad at me even though I hadn't done anything wrong.

Like everything else I do, I went way overboard in the beginning getting free stuff and using coupons on things we don't even use. In the end it proved okay because I was able to give away a full meal to a needy family on both Thanksgiving and New Year's of that year and most of that food I'd gotten for free or for pennies on the dollar.

In the last few years I've learned to balance it out and I do have a few items for which I'm completely brand loyal. I'll always be a thrifty shopper both by nature and by necessity. I still clip coupons. But I'm a much pickier shopper and in turn I save a lot less than I used to, but on the flip side we actually consume the things I buy.

It's become a bit of a game or sport for me. I love the thrill of the hunt for a great deal, at least most of the time.

Anne said...

My MiL (Mother in Law) is the coupon queen, she not only does coupon she also go advertisement shopping. Meaning if Walgreens has their milk on sale for $2.00/gallon she will drive 10 miles to get it, because she said it safe her money (not that it does since she does have to pay the gaz to get to the store to buy milk and only that milk that is on sale)
So I tried to be a good daugther in law and ... failed!! Ah ah!! I just like my brand too much too, and why buy stuff that you would not buy normally just because you have a coupon that said you can save money? I don't think so!!

Crazy Shenanigans said...

I feel that way too! The cupons are usually for stuff I don't already use and in the end I could save less by buying what I already use

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

You know what? I think you're right. I only pull the coupons for things I know we'll use. I'm not going to buy some crappy frozen sandwich meat or something just b/c it's $2.00 off. I WISH I knew how to plan my shopping and menus around the coupons and circulars of brands and circulars/stores I like. :)

Good post!

C N Heidelberg said...

I was never a big coupon user either, for similar reasons. They are almost never for stuff I would actually buy, and the discounts are pretty sad. Also, I used to cut coupons for my mom as a kid and I think the deals have gotten crappier over the years. Now a lot of the time you have to buy 2-3 of something in order to use the coupon.

Sandy said...

I'm with you on that! I only cut and use coupons for the items I always buy. Once in a very great while I will try something new or different with a coupon but not often. I think they make you spend more, just as you said.

Cole said...

Oh I love Small Steps paper towels! I even had a buy one get one free coupon for them recently. It was like Christmas!

Emily said...

I have recently tried couponing and have found the same thing. You really have to be diligent (which I am not) to make the coupons work for you!

satakieli said...

I can't do it. I'm far too picky about what I use!

The only time I ever use coupons is if I'm going to be buying that item anyway. The same goes for things on sale.

I have my grocery list and that is final!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I can't even imagine how gorgeous the Gaylord is at Christmas....isn't that staircase the coolest??! :)

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