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8 Reasons Why You SHOULD Use Coupons!

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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.ย  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! ๐Ÿ˜€

**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 manufacturerโ€™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.

Collin founded Hip2Save in 2008 and has over 10 years experience as a deals and lifestyle editor, strategist, and creative copywriter. She is debt-free and has been featured in Parents Magazine, Today.com and MSNBC. Connect with Collin on LinkedIn

Join The Discussion

Comments 237

  1. Alicia

    Woo Hoo! Ditto! Right On! And any other encouragement I can give for your very well-framed rebuttal. I agree whole heartedly with all of them. And I’d like to add to your #2, that I always weigh the value of my time with decisions I make, including decision about convenience items vs. their price. In my book, time and time again, couponing is beyond a great return on my time investment.

  2. Aliviah

    Normally I try to find the positives in things and try to keep from being negative.
    However, I can honestly say without any regrets that that article was uninformed, very negative and judgemental.

    Why is spending time clipping coupons, while watching television, a negative thing? Especially if one enjoys doing that. How can you mop the floor, which would most likely be in the kitchen or bathroom, while watching TV? Wouldn’t you miss key elements in your favorite show?

    I find clipping and organizing coupons to be highly relaxing for me; the repetitive motion helps me to chill out and knowing I’m saving money, imperative while being on a fixed income, to make it more than worth it.

    Thank you, Collin, for your rebuttal. I hope it’s taken into consideration.

  3. Kristen

    To be fair, she had a good point in that if you are not the kind of person to devote the time to it, it’s probably not worth it. I’m one of those people. I was recently called by the local paper to try to sell me a subscription and said I get all my news online. I hate the extra paper lying around. So then he tried to take the coupon savings tack and I argued that for the few couponed products I want to buy, I generally save more if I just buy generic store brands. Yes, I’m sure there’s a way to research and match coupons to sale products but I just don’t have the time. Often I go to the store and walk out of my house without the coupons I DO have. My food stores have ones I can download to my saver card, but by the time I’m in the store I’ve forgotten the specifics of the coupon (was it $1 off one or two? Was it the crunchy or the chewy granola bars?). I prefer to do one trip each week for the week and when I try to save by savvy shopping and couponing, I’m going out to two or three different stores multiple times a week and adding to my stress level of squeezing it in with work, errands, charity work, and other commitments. I also find myself cooking more processed foods rather than fresh when I use sales and coupons to create my grocery list rather than other criteria. For me, most of the time, couponing is not worth it, and it’s good to read an article that justifies that decision.

    • robyn

      just out of curiosity… if couponing is not worth it to you, why do you follow blogs like this?? i’m a little confused.

      • Angela

        I agree with you… I was thinking the exact thing while I was reading her post. Why waste additional time reading these blogs if you don’t get enjoyment out of it?? Yay for coupons!!

        • Kristen

          I subscribe on a feed reader which gives me just the headlines. The freebies by mail and the dining coupons (like Quizno’s) are those I’m most interested in. Most of the time, I’m working long hours and cooking for one; I’ll make two or three meals from scratch in a week made of ingredients like fresh seafood and vegetables, and eat leftovers for the whole week. It takes me much of a year to use a tube of toothpaste and my apartment is so small that I have trouble buying even paper towels or toilet paper in multi-roll packs and storing them. I learned about Jasmere through this site and love it, and find about one savings opportunity a week here, which is worth the time to skim through headlines once or twice daily.

          I certainly don’t look down on people who coupon and am amazed that the dedicated can save as much as they do. But I have to agree with the author that couponing is not for everyone, and she listed some reasons why that is true for me.

    • Brittany

      Kristen – I totally get what you’re saying. I tried and tried and tried to perfect the art of couponing (for over a year), but I just kept feeling frustrated when I saw a minimal difference in my grocery totals and had to go to different stores to get what I needed. The icing on the cake was when I thought I was getting this great deal with coupons and sales at CVS, then walked into Walmart and saw that if I had used my coupons there I would have saved $.50. It wasn’t the amount that bothered me, $.50 isn’t a lot at all, but it’s the fact that I thought I was getting a great deal and it ended up being a waste of time. I felt like I was spending all this time trying to find deals instead of playing with my kids, spending time with my husband, and taking care of our home – clipping coupons isn’t what I want to be doing when I’m in front of the tv because that’s usually some of the only time I get with my husband after he’s been working all day. For those that can take care of the coupons and all their other responsibilities – I think that is awesome, but for me it’s just not realistic.

      And to Robyn – Although I’m not using coupons anymore, I still occasionally check Hip2Save because Collin does a great job of posting other things as well, and just because I’m not using coupons doesn’t mean I want to pass up the chance to get great deals on other things.

      • Jessica A.

        I don’t even clip cpns until I have a grocery list and I know which cpns I need. I use Coupon$ense (I live in AZ), and on their website they list ALL the weekly and monthly sales of all local grocery stores including some smaller markets and chain stores such as Target. I can specifically choose which store I want to go to and and the list begins with what is free and goes down to the most expensive sales items (usually alcohol, diapers and expensive meats). Us coupon$ensers don’t clip any cpns from the Sunday papers we get on discount, instead we just file them away according to the week, and when I make my grocery list online, my list will tell me where to find the cpn I need to make that sale happen ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s great! I have saved nearly $2,000 just from cpns in 1 year!!! So I make my grocery list once a week, clip only the cpns I need and shop! All together, I spend maybe 1-2 hours on coupons and that’s it. This is the first year I’ve ever done couponing, I’ve tried before but really sucked at it, this is way easier and faster and I spend hardly any time at all on the matter. I went from spending about $800 bucks a month (family of 5) to $300-$400. Couponing is definitely worth it to me! I love it!!

      • Kristen

        That’s pretty much what I mean. My weekly grocery bill without coupons is about $50, so spending a lot of my meager free time to save on that isn’t usually worth it. I generally buy the same things every time, almost all store brand or fresh (produce, cuts of meat or fish), and rarely see coupons for the things I buy. I’m not much of a shopper beyond the supermarket, and only recently went to Wal-Mart for the first time in over a year to buy a sewing pattern I couldn’t find elsewhere. Just not a lot of opportunity for couponing; I would definitely end up buying things that I wouldn’t otherwise if I set out to begin doing it.

  4. Jaime


    You pretty much summed it up. Obviously the author has not experienced the high or joy you get from paying next to nothing for groceries and well just about everything in between. She really needs to be schooled in the art of couponing. Before I started following you I may have believed her but you have opened my eyes to a whole new world of couponing and I would never go back.

    Thanks for all you do!

  5. jessica

    everyone has pretty much said it all… i wish i hadnt wasted 3 mintues of my life reading that.
    yay coupons ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. muser

    I think that this person, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, has a few screws loose. Even if her “published” article serves as a counter to her coupon tips in her blog, it still comes across as extremely one-sided and anti-coupon and discouraging, when obviously that’s not her stance.

  7. Tonya

    I can actually see both sides. If you are working a full-time job and trying to coupon it is probably not that realistic. At least it was not for me. I got into couponing when I was laid off and found myself with not much to do like when I was working. Since that time, I have totally learned a new way of shopping and am loving it. When I was working we would eat out at least 4-5 times per week due to our schedules and I would still spend $300 – 400 per 2-3 weeks at WalMart for “junk food” and household items. However, I am now shopping at Publix (my favorite store in the world) buying brand name items and spending maybe $200 per month maybe a little more. My pantry is overflowing and I love trying to decide what to cook for dinner and then going to my pantry and actually having the items that I need to cook my meal. Yes it is work but like most others I clip my coupons while watching TV. When I am finally able to return to work I will make sure to make time for my coupons. I will never ever return to shopping any other way. I actually feel bad when I get something without a coupon but somethimes it cannot be helped. Thanks for all the help.

  8. Mary Anderson

    Even if you don’t use the “food” coupons because you don’t want to be cooking “processed foods,” the HBA coupons are TOTALLY worth the time! I have a HUGE stockpile of deodorant, shampoo, soap, bodywash, toothpaste, floss, etc. that I paid nothing or next to nothing for. And, they are ALL name brands……not generic. I hated going to the store when I was out of shampoo, and the brand I use would not be on sale. Forking over $4 or $5 dollars, when the week before, it was on sale just made me mad. I started couponing about a year ago, and I have saved a TON of money on my HBA products. Free is definately better than $5.00!!! Having that extra money in my wallet is worth the extra time I spend clipping coupons and matching them up to sales.

  9. Kati

    For Wisconsin savers: I worked in a gas station for a while and learned that the Wisconsin State Journal doesn’t pick up the left over papers. Employees of the store rip the dates off the papers and those are what get sent back. The rest of the news paper goes to the junk.
    Simply ask your favorite gas station(s) if you can pick up the left over Sunday papers on Monday morning after the dates are ripped off ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Karrie

    Great comeback Collin!!! I couldn’t believe it when I saw that article yesterday..I work Full-Time and yes sometimes I have a hard time keeping up with my coupons especially this summer since we would rather be outside, but I will shop no other way than with My coupons, I actually had gone to Kroger yesterday before I read the article with my coupons on hand and making sure to count my items for the mega sale, I was almost out of everything so it was almost a restocking trip I spent 72.00 oop and Saved 103!!! I’ve done better than that but it was sure worth it to only have to put out 72 compared to 185!!! One day I hope to be able to only spend 3.00 at the store and come home with a buggy full of groceries!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Sarah H

    Did anyone else laugh at how she said using coupons will entice you to buy unhealthy foods, but then said you should rush right out and spend an extra 1.50 on ice cream rather than wait 3 weeks to get it on sale? Hilarious!

  12. JL

    There is so much I would like to say about this article but I believe Colin covered most of it, I do believe that the author acted a bit irresponible by writiing that coupons do save lots of money but there are too many drawbacks and the thing about being a slave to coupons. This country is trying to drag themseves out of an economic crisis and the mentality that couponing takes too much time to save money is absurd. She is a finance author for goodness akes. That is the thinking that gets peopkle in trouble with thier personal finances. The I want it now so I am going to get it now with as little work as possible attitude. Yes she was right about the icecream. I will not by icecream unless it is on sale and I have a coupon. It is something that should be viewed as treat not a neccesity!!!! Thanks for letting me vent

  13. Lynn

    I clip coupons from newspaper and print from the website with html format only.
    I am still skeptical about “installing” the coupon printer to print out coupons. I don’t risk my PC for saving $.50.
    I don’t need 100 tubes of toothpaste.
    Do they know they have shelf life? We can’t possibly use them all in 18 months period.
    I still enjoy some great deal here and there on this site.
    For some lucky people who can double coupons, good for you.
    My grocery stores don’t double coupons, unless I travel 80 miles to get to one that does.
    I see the both sides of the argument though.

  14. Kari

    Just a reminder you can get a free Sunday paper and Kum & Go with gas purchases. Just another way to get some free coupons.

    • Kari

      **AT Kum & Go! Sorry!

  15. Rita Collins

    I did not read the first 150 comments, however I have a good feeling what was said. The article was biased and not well researched. It is that type of mentality that encourages overspending and not saving. I would rather spend my time getting free items, even if I donate most of them, than paying full price for anything. It’s similar to anything else. I would rather spend $199 on an airline seat bought on special than $450, I am saving myself money because I took the time to research the best rate and potentially use a code (coupon) for an even better rate. I am going to the same place (getting the same thing) for a better price. How is that not a good thing?

  16. Claudja Dwight

    Yesterday was my first day using coupons with the major intent of not paying a lot of money. Buy the time I was finished I ended up saving 64 dollars. It’s way better than getting generic brands or going to the dollar store because you save so much.
    For example Rite Aide had Puffs brand tissue on sale for 88cents (if you have a rite aide savings card), in Sundays paper there was a coupon for 50cent off any box of Puffs tissue, so it only costs me 38 cents for a box of Puff tissue! I had other amazing deals yesterday and I showed DH my receipts and he was like WOW! We need to do this more often…My reply “The Coupon Craziness has begun!” –lol

  17. Erin Hotalen

    I’m doing research to teach a couponing class at my church, and googled “why should I use coupons” for some key points on a sign up sheet. Found the article ” why you SHOULDNT use coupons” and I couldn’t help but laugh. I started using coupons for diapers about 2 1/2 yrs ago, and found that article ridiculous. Glad yours also popped up, refuting the article.

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