Couponing: Is it worth it?

couponingThere was a time when you could save a ridiculous amount of money couponing.

If your were strategic, organized and had the time you could fill your shopping cart with a ton of name brand products for free or practically nothing. Then TLC’s Extreme Couponing hit and the retailers caught on to how much money they were letting walk out there sliding double doors.  So things changed. Coupon wording changed. The deals we’re not as grand and the couponing became a bit tougher to manger.

I was once a Couponer. I stockpiled with the best of them. I had bottles of shampoo and body wash hidden in every nook and cranny of my small home. I had a tower of toothpaste tubes that cost a quarter or less.

There were trade offs however, my shopping trips would involved multiple stores. My trip to Target alone often lasted for 3-4 hours as I perused the aisles for deals and coupon matches. It was ok. I had a day off during the week and the trip was like retail therapy. I really enjoyed it and even looked forward to it in a conquesting mother sort of way.

Then mine and my husband’s schedule changed. The couponing trips became impossible to do with children in tow. I reduced my multi store trips to CVS and Target till that lessened to only CVS. Then that only became once a month. It lasted like this for 3 years as I went through my stockpile. Yes… my stockpile lasted for three years.coins

Now, I have gone through the laundry detergent, shampoo and deodorant. There is ample room under my sink and I have had to run out for toilet paper (The horror!) I figured I should start couponing again, but each time I find less of the deals I once did. This makes me wonder. Is it still worth it to coupon?

On these extreme couponing shows the mothers are usually stay at home moms. They have also brought there kids and other family members in on the couponing adventures. But is couponing practical for the working mom with limited time?

The answer in my opinion is yes and no. Ok, I know that’s not really an answer. I think Extreame Couponing is totally not doable for working mom’s. The time we would need to invest would be time away from our children and family. Having a job outside the home already takes  so much time away from them that I am not willing to give up anymore.

However, small trips to say CVS or Walgreens can still be a good investment with coupons. You can still save a bundle on shampoos, body washes, air fresheners and the like. Also, a smaller trip like this can be squeezed into those margins of time like a lunch break and stop to buy milk after work.

If you have a Publix or supermarket that specializes in BOGO’s you can also make a quick trip here. But be warned this can easily get out of control. Locally Publix tends to be more expensive then other stores and can run you into a lot of money if you deviate from the BOGO plan. Also some coupons have specific wording that prevents them from being used to buy BOGO’s, so be sure to look at the fine print.

When I couponed I always saved big a Target. These days however, I just don’t have the time to invest in a long Target shop. For me this is something I can not longer invest the time in. If you have the time and ability to plan, check out the The Krazy Coupon Lady.com. They give great advice with clear and concise matchups for many stores including Target.

If I do use coupons for food items, I now use them at BJ’s Wholesale club. They have there own booklets of coupons that are free to members and they also accept manufacturers coupons. However since their items are bulk some coupons will only be useful if the items have individual SKU numbers. Refer to there coupon policy for me information. Keep in mind other bulk stores like Costco do not accept manufactureers coupons. For this reason I prefer shopping at BJ’s.

One final note on couponing. Most stores have changed their coupon policies to prevent extreme coupon deals. Likewise, coupon wording and acceptance has changed so be sure to read the fine print before attempting a deal. If the store gives you a hard time it is best to just move on.It is not  a savings if you leave the store angry and annoyed over a bottle of shampoo.

Happy Couponing! If you have any suggestions or story’s of your couponing experiances please share them. Would love to hear your thoughts.

 

 
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33 thoughts on “Couponing: Is it worth it?

  1. This is very interesting! Our local supermarket is Kroger, and I’ve been debating whether it’s better to load their digital coupons and do the bulk of my shopping there, because I then get the fuel points. It IS hard when you’re working to make the rounds and glean the bargains from each grocery store and drugstore! My goal for 2016 is too cook more from scratch and avoid buying those expensive, processed foods….

    Thanks for a thought-provoking discussion!

    Pam

  2. I was a “couponer” for a while. I saved quite a bit of money but I also spent a lot of money buying newspapers, a lot of time cutting, sorting and purging coupons and I bought a lot of stuff I didn’t really need. I took a 3 month break because it started to feel like an obsession and just a tad unhealthy (plus the deals weren’t as great). I learned I could save money just buying what I need and sticking to my budget instead. I DO download any electronic coupons directly to my store card (Vons, Ralph, Walgreens) and use Ibotta on purchases I’m already going to make anyway.

    1. Yes now that you say it I can see where I probably bought things I really didn’t need because of coupons. I just felt it was taking to much time, like you said, cutting, sorting and purging. Now if I could only stick to a budget..lol.

  3. Back in the day (1960s) my Mom Mable Palmer was the Queen of Lay-A-Way. Very few stores offer lay-a-way now. Also I remember S&H Green Stamps. You licked, yes licked these gross tasting stamps and put them into books. I was pressed into licking and sticking by Mom. Then Mom & Dad would get in the car and redeem the stamps for goods, mostly household goods since I don’t recall getting any toys out of the deal. We also had the benefit of what we called the five & dime stores like Woolworths or Lamstons, neither of which is in business any longer. However now I live in a low-income neighborhood which features a store called Family Dollar kinda like a junk store but hey if you want to save money one need not be picky as to the store’s layout. Some of my younger friends and those my age who have children and grandchildren at home belong to Costco or BJs stores where you buy goods in bulk. Now I never married so I don’t have kids, it’s just me and my cat Sylvester but I belong to the Petco P.A.L.S. rewards club and I get discounts for my cat food purchases. I also have Rewards cards for Walgreens, Duane Reade and Rite-Aid. Actually now Walgreens owns DuaneReade and Rite-Aid they are more or less the same store. So for real bargains I hit the cheap Dollar stores.

    1. Rite aid always has great deals. Wish o had one by me. I remember Woolworth I was in high school when they went under. We also had a five & dime my dad use to take me to so I could spend my chore money. Wish there were still more places like that. More mom & pop type stores. I think today’s equivalent is esty on line. I have found some great deals at dollar tree too. It just depends on the product. Never thought about the pet rewards. I have 2 dogs. Will have to look into that. Thanks for the comment

  4. I used to be to be an extreme coupon erinngilchrist@yahoo.com too. I once had a CVS haul of over $170 free! However, that Extreme Couponing show hurt the average couponing family. I used to use 10-30 coupons per trip, not as much anymore. I still coupon, but not the point where I use my coupon binder anymore. Target still has great deals, but they can be one of the hardest to use coupons with. Their staff isn’t properly trained many times. I used to have to explain their coupon policy to them. A good tip is to frequently review the store’s coupon policy. Never hurts to have a printout of their policy either, should you find a great deal but run into untrained staff at the register.

    1. I noticed the same thing. It became to much effort to maintain a coupon binder when I didn’t really use as many coupons. Mostly I just print out the ones I need now. But $170! That is awesome.

    1. A lot of the freebies I got with coupons were given to friends and charity. There is only so much toothpaste and deodorant you can stockpile. I know of several coupons that have done the same. Its great to give back.

  5. I’m not much into couponing for the simple reason I live in the boondocks of Alaska and my closest store that accepts coupons is about 2.5 hours away by air. When I did live close enough to stores to do it, I found the savings were not worth it for what I buy.

  6. I love coupons have not spent as much time with them as I used to but I always though worth while but yes the time is the problem for me but thinking about heading out there again

    1. Funny I just saw a Facebook post from a friend who coupons and her massive haul for only $15. It is amazing. It makes me want to follow her lead, but I know she must have gone to several stores to get all of it. I just don’t have the luxury of time to do it anymore.

  7. Checking out your blog from the Mostly Blogging linky party.
    I would have to agree with you about the couponing. I no longer find the deals we used to be able to get. I figured out that I could save just as much by sticking to my budget, going to Aldi and limiting my trips to Costco to once a month and then getting the special deals that I would buy anyways. And- this one is huge- STICK TO THE BUDGET!!!!
    Thanks!

    1. Yes sticking to a budget and limiting the amount of times I go to the store has saved me about as much money as I was saving couponing. Plus I am not spending all of that time sorting and clipping coupons. Maybe after the frenzy and the shows die down the better deals will comeback.

    1. can’t beat publix bogo’s. I use to kill it when you could use to coupons with a bogo but they changed the wording on the coupon so you can’t do that anymore. So sad

    1. I found it easier to focus on just one store. You can find better deals with a smaller time investment then running all over town chasing deals. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment

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