The gift of hospitality sometimes comes with food.
I confess that I have become a coupon drop-out. In fact, it has to be something really special for me to use a coupon these days. If it is a coupon for something that is already a “regular” item on my grocery list, that’s one thing. But more often than not, coupons seem to me to be a “come-on” to make me buy something that would not normally be in my cart. And I think that is simple seduction on the advertisers’ part to separate me from my budget and our best intentions to not over-spend what we earn.
I often am tempted to buy something “just because it’s on sale” but more often than not, it is NOT something I “need.” It is something I have been made to “want.”
Marketeers, go ahead and hate. You know I’m right!
For instance, a friend recently bragged that she saved 65% on a recent grocery store purchase. She bought:
I could go on. What disturbs me about this style of grocery shopping is that there isn’t enough in her cupboard now to feed her family for a week, and she’s pretty much spent her budget. By buying processed foods and prepared foods, she cut her potential grocery purchases in half.
So what would be the right way to use coupons?
Use them for things you already buy! For instance, cat litter, pet food, car maintenance items like washer fluid, motor oil, etc. BUT – be careful if it is a come-on to get you hooked on a a “NEW AND IMPROVED” product which will cost more in the long run. Hey, if your cat doesn’t care what kind of cat litter you buy, go for it. There’s also a lot of “convenience” packaging which can add up to a lot of money. Do you need “pretreated” wipes to dust your furniture? Probably not! A spray bottle and cotton rag will do just great. Same for bathroom cleaners. Buy the cleaner you like and start recycling those old tshirts into cleaning rags.
Other common items you can buy with coupon power (with common sense applied!):
In any case, do the math! The cost-per-ounce may not be worth it if the store brand is acceptable to your family. You also need to think about why you are buying six of an item, when for the next 6 months, you will only need 2. Do you really want to warehouse boxes and boxes of detergent and TP and soup? Probably not. If it hurts your cash flow in the long-run, re-think it.
Another good way to analyze is how much you are spending on “prepared” foods — and is it REALLY saving you all that much money if you don’t buy fresh fruits, vegetables and meat and prepare the foods yourself? What does it cost to make chicken noodle soup from scratch vs canned?
I’m not just talking crazy here. Here’s some links to some folks who have also weighed in on this coupon craziness. Some of them are couponers now, so it isn’t just “anti-couponers” that I’ve lined up for you to read.
OK. End of lecture. Just one last thought, as Mom and Dad always said, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Do the math. Think about it. And then don’t spent your hard earned bucks unless you MUST on couponed merchandise.