Unpopular Opinion: Couponing Genius

Whomever invented the concept of coupons was a genius. No if, ands, or buts about it. Pure genius.

Sure, you may think that you’re about to save a ton of money on your next trip to the grocery store, but more often than not, you’re going to end up spending more money on products that won’t get used because you went into the store with coupons.

For a few years in my college days I was guilty of this. The mere thought of saving money made me so excited. Coupons for mouthwash? Sure. More coupons for the same mouthwash? Heck yes. Even MORE for the same mouthwash? YES! I WANT TO ROLL IN ALL OF THE MONEY I’M SAVING! 

I remember coming home with all this mouthwash and my husband (then boyfriend) saying, “Why?” My answer, “Because I had a coupon!” I ended up buying around ten bottles of some whitening mouthwash (which had the most awful taste) because of coupons. I used maybe half of one bottle.

This isn’t to say that I don’t currently partake in ‘couponing’ – there is a responsible way to coupon. As I sit here typing away, I periodically switch tabs to a coupon site. I’ve gained enough genius of my own to realize that I was buying products needlessly simply because I had coupons. My mother tells me that it’s the Jew in me showing through (because my curly hair and nose weren’t enough of an identifier).

The site I am currently use has over $650 in available savings dispersed between 292 coupons. I am only printing out two coupons, with a total of $2.50 in savings. One for cat food, because the cats have to eat, and one for carpet cleaner, because the cats have to get hairballs. Only use coupons for the items you actually NEED. Don’t stock up on something with the idea that you’ll use the product “eventually.” Chances are great that once put away, the product will not be touched again until it is time to make more room in cupboards for other items you purchased because you “had a coupon.”

The same rule applies to stores with digital coupons like Kroger and Target. Stores suck you in by making it appear that you’re getting great deals, but in most cases, all you’re really doing is spending more money than you need to. In fact, if you only buy items that you need, the coupon program will learn your shopping habits and provide you with more coupons that are relevant to you.

As always, let me know what you think about couponing! What are your money-saving methods?

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