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The Pitfalls of Couponing

Over the years, I’ve tried couponing with differing levels of success. Mostly because I’m very conflicted with the idea of couponing. On one hand you’re saving money on groceries, sometimes. On the other hand, you’re spending a tremendous amount of your valuable time clipping those coupons or trying to find the deals. We inevitably end up buying things that we would not have bought in the first place, just because we’re going to save some money.

I do it too! I come across a coupon for a dish detergent, or some other household item, that I don’t need right now. Because I’ve found that coupon, and because I want to use that coupon, I then have to add into my budget for the purchase of that item, rather than waiting until I need it.

My husband often uses the phrase “it’d be more expensive not to” and honestly, I want to slap him (lovingly) every time he says it because it’s absolutely not true. We fall into the trap that to save money we have to spend money. We aren’t patient to see if we would need the item in the future. This leads into the scarcity versus abundance blog that I did a few weeks ago, but it applies here too. Because we are living in a scarcity mindset, we don’t have the faith that we will have what we need, in the future, to be able to provide for ourselves. In this case, money to buy what we need. So, we want to make the most of what we have right now. Thus, consuming our money and proving that we’ll be short handed in the future (self-fulfilling prophecy anyone?)

‘It’s a good deal.’

That’s what we’re telling ourselves. Then you also come across the issue where most of the coupons are for brand name items that are already marked up 20 to 30% from the off brand. If we were to just buy the off-brand item, we would save more money and not have to use that coupon or our time searching for coupons.

So, be hyper aware of the coupons that you’re trying to use and really take a look to see if it’s going to be saving you money, or if it’s costing you more money to use it.