This morning, my inbox was full of emails from all of you about an article that appeared today in Yahoo’s Personal Finance section by Amy Fontinelle entitled “8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Coupons.” Although I am not really surprised that this article was printed (I have often encountered coupon skeptics), I was determined to write something in return. So here is my personal rebuttal entitled “8 Reasons Why You Should Use Coupons.” If you have additional reasons to add, please do so in the comment section below. I will also be emailing the author, Amy, my article in the hopes that she will re-consider her reasons for not couponing.
Amy, if you are reading this, I am personally inviting you to join me on a “Follow You Monday” adventure…you pick the date and the store and I will personally join you with my coupon binder in hand…I guarantee that I will make you a believer in the value of coupons! :D
**Please keep in mind the sentences that are in bold below are taken directly from “8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Coupons”
(1) You have to buy a newspaper.
You do NOT have to buy a newspaper to be a couponer. You can snag coupon inserts from family, friends and neighbors who are not avid couponers. In addition, contact local coffee shops and restaurants and ask if you can come by every Sunday evening and recycle their Sunday newspapers; you can then take the inserts and drop the remainder of the newspapers off at a recycling center. And, check out this post here for ways you can snag multiple copies of coupon inserts for free. Finally, be pro-active. Contact your local newspaper and ask if they offer a discount if you buy several Sunday papers each week. Also keep in mind that many coupons do not come from the newspaper but instead are available online. You can access many high value coupons online on sites like Coupons.com, Smartsource.com, and Redplum.com. Even if you pay as high as $0.10 per printed coupon (due to ink costs), it is still worth it as you will save anywhere from $0.35-$5.00+ off the cost of an item.
(2) Clipping coupons takes time.
Clipping coupons does take time, but it is time well spent! According to an MSNBC.com article, the average savings per coupon is $1.44. If we assume it takes a minute to clip and organize one coupon, this means for one minute worth of work, you can save an average of $1.44. So if you spend an hour clipping 60 coupons, you will in essence save $86.40! I would also encourage all of you to check out my Follow You Monday video filmed back in February in Tampa, Florida at a Publix store…after coupons, we spent $3.45 out of pocket for $258.24 worth of items! Now, wouldn’t you agree clipping coupons is well worth your time?!
(3) Getting a newspaper invites lots of additional advertising into your home.
Couponers welcome advertisements because ads allow us to be more informed and savvy shoppers. Staying informed of all the latest ads in your area enables you to decide where to spend your time shopping during the week. In addition, advertisements enable couponers to take advantage of price matching which is available at large stores like Target and Walmart (price matching policies may vary from store to store). Check out my personal price matching story here that depicts how I succeeded in scoring Toy Story 1 and Toy Story 2 Blue Ray Discs for only $6.99 each!
(4) Many of the coupons will be for things you neither need nor want.
Although many of the items may be for things that you do not need or want, you can always find a use for these unneeded/unwanted items. For example, many Hip2Save readers will take personal care items that they snag for free (thank you coupons :D) and donate them to a local charity. Check out this video where I go to the pound and a local Women’s Shelter to donate my freebies. Or consider taking these items and making a nice gift basket for a friend…for example, I was able to put together a gift basket of household and personal care products (that I had snagged for free over the last few months) for a friend who recently purchased her first home. How great is that?!
(5) Coupons can tempt you to spend your grocery dollars on things you shouldn’t
Yes, coupons can tempt you to spend your grocery dollars on things you shouldn’t. SO can an empty stomach, a screaming child, a TV advertisement…the list goes and on and on. For the most part, couponers come to the store prepared with a shopping list in hand and a shopping budget in mind. Staying organized and focused prevents the desire to spend money on unintended items.
(6) The same coupons tend to be offered over and over again.
Thank goodness the same coupons are offered over and over again! In my mind, you can never have enough $3/1 Huggies coupons, right?! And, yes, I do agree with the statement that you often won’t use all the coupons you clip by their expiration date. However, that does not mean that you need to toss the coupons in the trash. Instead, you can put your expired coupons to good use. U.S. military families stationed overseas are able to use coupons on base for up to SIX MONTHS after the manufacturer’s expiration date! So start collecting those expired coupons and check out the post here for information on how and where to send your coupons.
(7) You might become a slave to coupons.
Yes, it is difficult to buy something without a coupon once you get used to using coupons. Knowing that you can get cereal for less than $1 makes it extremely difficult to spend $4+ on it, right?! For this reason, couponers know that when they find a great bargain, they take advantage of the savings opportunity. Couponers stock up on sale items, so that they never have to pay full-price for an item. Check out this stockpiling picture here from a Hip2Save reader.
(8) Shopping takes longer.
Organization is key! An organized couponer will not be in the store any longer than the average person. Check out my post/video found here for tips on coupon organization.