Coupon Myths: Busted {Part 3}

As much as coupons are becoming a popular recession-fighting tool, there are still skeptics to be found. Often when I meet someone new, my couponing ways manage to work themselves into the conversation. Imagine that!

The typical responses I get range from “oh, teach me how to do that” to (see Part 1 and Part 2)… but the most common myth of all that I hear over and over again:

“Oh, coupons just aren’t worth the extra time for me, I am much too busy…”

Sound familiar? I typically smile politely and cringe a little inside. Because for me, I don’t have time NOT to use coupons in my daily household budget. They play a huge factor in our lifestyle, the amount we are able to give, and the fact that our credit card debt is now gone!

If you are of the belief that coupons can only save you a few bucks here and there, then I understand why you might think they are a waste of time.  But what if I told you that coupons could save you literally hundreds of dollars a month, or thousands per year?  Does that get your attention?

Imagine what you do could do with an extra $200 or so every month. Pay down debt? Give more? Invest in your children’s college fund? The possibilities are endless.

But really, a skeptic will not believe what they cannot see.  So allow me to show you the power of coupons.  Or rather, allow several hundred of my fellow bloggers to show you… every Saturday!

Fellow frugal blogger Crystal Paine, aka Money Saving Mom, hosts a fabulous weekend meme known as “Super Savings Saturday”. She shares her weekly purchases and how much she spent on groceries and household items. Then other bloggers leave links to their fabulous deals, photos included.

I encourage you to visit some of those links to see for yourself how savvy shoppers save big time. Now keep in mind that these are typically serious couponers who do invest extra time to clip, organize and match their coupons. But clearly, it is well worth their time.

Perhaps it seems impossible to carve out some extra time of your already busy life to work on a coupon strategy.  I get that, really, I do. With four busy kiddos, a husband, pets, a home, and a blog to manage, I struggle to balance it all.

Here are a few time management tips for those wanting to start couponing:

  • Set aside a block of time in your week to work on clipping and organizing.
  • Older kids are happy to help with cutting inserts – which is also a valuable life lesson.
  • Use some of your evening TV time to clip coupons- during commercials!
  • Or, don’t clip them, use a file system for your inserts by date.
  • Start small. Don’t chase every deal or every coupon.
  • Learn to use e-Coupons, no clipping required!
  • Utilize blogs or services such as The Grocery Game to make matching coupons and sales a breeze!

Do you have any time saving tips for those learning to coupon? Share them here in comments.

In the next installment of my coupon myths series, I will address the belief that buying generic or buying in bulk is cheaper than using coupons.

alyssa6

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About Alyssa Francis

A thirty-something wife and mother of four! Two daughters by birth, one son by marriage, and a sweet baby boy born in April of 2009. Oldest sister of four girls raised by a single mom. California native. Grew up in Hawaii. Somehow ended up in North Texas. Once a single mom. Former agnostic. A survivor of abuse and addiction. Forgiven by a great big God. Married to my best friend.

Comments

  1. What a great post! I hear the same thing and I too, cringe inside thinking…I used to be you, but I am so glad I am not any longer! LOL
    .-= Becky (Nickels-n-Dimes)´s last blog ..NUT OVERLOAD – winners announced! =-.

  2. Great post, Alyssa! I’ve saved more than $1,300 this year, and I don’t live in an area that doubles coupons or allows cell-phone coupons… To me, that is well worth my time.

    I think your point “Don’t chase every deal or every coupon” is EXCELLENT advice. When you first get into couponing, it can become addicting, and trying to take advantage of every deal and print every coupon can become all-consuming. As my stockpile has grown, I’ve become much more selective in my couponing – and that has made the whole process much more time effective!
    .-= Christina @ Northern Cheapskate´s last blog ..More Great Coupons Available =-.

  3. I used to say this, too, but then I started following Crystal. (And now you!) Our grocery bill for a family of four used to hover between $125 and $150. Last week? It was $88.

    The best part is that the trip represented far more groceries than my old style of shopping would’ve brought home. This means fewer oh-no-we’ll-have-to-eat-out nights and we’ll probably spend even less over the next few weeks. I was also able to snag a bunch of boxes of pasta and a few other things for free – those are headed right to our church’s food bank.

    My husband and I both work full-time and our lives are busy. But the money we save with coupons is truly significant – at least $250/month, and it seems to grow as I get better and better at spotting sales.

  4. I love using coupons. But my problem is the money I’m saving is already gone before I even realized I saved anything. So that makes me think I’m just doing it for fun. I also think I’m wasting alot of gas in my V8 Mustang jumping from store to store. Or at least that’s what my Mom says. Maybe I’ll be like the lady above and I’ll start seeing the money I’m saving add up as I get better! But I do LOVE it!

  5. I get up at 5:20, husband out the door by 6:20, kids and me out the door by 7:15. Hubby gets the kids and is home by 5, me by 5:30. Dinner, homework and a little time to visit about the day, then kids to bed by 8-8:30. Cleanup and prep for morning and I am SHOT and ready for bed by 9 or so. Any TV time is from bed, winding down and falling asleep before the show is over. I only have two kids, but my youngest has special needs and though not severe – he does require more work/time. Maybe that’s my problem.

    My current shopping is running into the store and buying what I need right then, usually on the way home from work. If I had to think and plan what to buy, when, and where – that would be another whole level of complexity for my life that I don’t think I could handle.

    I’d love to save money – but is there a way to do it without so much planning, organizing and stock piling? Is it possible to do with a household inventory policy that’s more of a “just-in-time” approach?

  6. Hi! Just stumbled upon your blog and was wondering if you know of any good coupon sites for Canadians? I am the mother of a 6 month old baby girl and we are in the process of moving house, so I really need to budget and watch what I spend… I’m looking forward to hearing about buying generic and bulk – does it save more than coupon-clipping?

  7. Jennifer
    Just want to put my 2 cents in and say don’t go store hopping! The sales will hit your store. Maybe not that exact same week but it will come around. I look at the adds in my area which are Brookshires, CVS and Walmart. As you know not all Walmarts are the SAME. Don’t forget to match prices @ Walmart. This is helpful and will cut down on the hopping all around. All the hopping around is not saving (unless the stores are close by) because this “extra money” is going right back in the gas tank and that’s not frugal… Hope this helps:)

  8. Steph—once you get that stockpile built up, it becomes easier. It is definitely the best way to save money. I used to think buying generic was cheaper too but I started couponing/sales/stockpiling and have found it is not so! I rarely pay over $1 a box for cereal and you rarely can even get generic for that price. Could you dedicate a little time on the weekend to plan or grocery shop? Because I used to do the last-minute shopping also and it’s really expensive.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..Sears $10 off coupon code =-.

  9. Andrea….I AGREE! Once the stockpile is in place it’s SO MUCH easier and takes much less time. Last minute (no plan) shopping is always more expensive! ALWAYS.
    .-= Becky (Nickels-n-Dimes)´s last blog ..NUT OVERLOAD – winners announced! =-.

  10. I think the biggest myth is that you have to clip at all- I just file all of my coupon inserts by date ( I write the date on the front) in a 2 pocket folder. Then when I check the blogs and plan my weekly trips to CVS and GIant Eagle I only clip the coupons I need. It saves me a lot of time!

  11. I started couponing about 6 months ago. I was very skeptical at first because I had tried using coupons before and not saved very much. I started with one store and went from there. I don’t buy things now unless I have a coupon for them and they are on sale. It has made a huge difference in our monthly budget. We are now paying off our credit cards and it feels great. With the little bit of time that I put aside each week to clip coupons and go through the ads it’s actually making my life easier. It’s a good feeling to know your bills are going to be paid on time and there is plenty of food in the house. I use to run out to the store daily to get stuff for dinner. That costs a fortune. Especially if you’re hungry. Blogs like Keeping the Kingdom First make it easy with the coupon match ups.
    Last week I was in Walgreens the woman behind me asked me how much I saved. On that trip I had saved $40. She was blown away. I spend less now and bring home tons more. It’s great. Now I am able to share more which I love to do.

  12. Lana Chilton says:

    Alyssa – I just found your website, and I am so happy I did! Like you – I am depending on the Lord daily to balance faith, family and frugality! And, like you, I seem to work couponing in to every conversation lately! It’s been a blessing to our family, and one of the tools that has been useful in allowing me to be at home with our son. I look forward to learning more from you soon!

  13. I completely agree that couponing is worth the time. Isn’t anything worth doing that way?

    I’m excited to read your next post on this topic. My sister and I are teaching a community coupon class at our church in a couple weeks. I researched generic and bulk items vs. the brand name item bought with coupons. It’s astounding!

    My sister also figured out that my mom saved over 26,000.00 by packing my Dad’s lunch each day instead of him eating out.

    It’s the little things that add up! Thanks for all you do!
    .-= Myra´s last blog ..Buggy Buddy Winner! =-.

  14. My husband said the same thing when I really began to do what I like to call “extreme couponing”. He thought it was not worth a quarter here and there. Now he is convinced that it is helping us save money and I am beginning to get a good stockpile going. He even brags about my money saving now!

  15. I agree with you about not chasing every deal. When I started couponing about a year and a half ago I stressed about every sale and every deal. I got so upset if I forgot where a coupon was, of if I let a sale end without getting that “free” item. It was totally stressing me out. I am glad I have chilled out a bit now and realize the sale will come around again, to let some things go because family is more important, and to not let coupons be the only thing I do. I now make time for me to exercise and do other things, and I can still take a day during the week to go make my rounds and get some slamming deals.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday 9/21 – 9/27 =-.

  16. As a super busy mom to 4 (6 and under), homeschooler, church elder’s wife, owner of a hair bow website, and with a hubby who travels a lot for work I’ve got to find ways to get as much done as possible in a short amount of time. I started having our 6 1/2 year old clip coupons for me. I pay her a penny a piece (she generally clips over 100 at a time during the younger one’s naps) and she owes me 5 cents for each coupon she messes up. I just explained to her how important barcodes and expiration dates were and it was that simple. Now I can get more time in my shopping planning with less time spent on clipping coupons and she gets to add $$ to her American Girl Doll Jar!

    Mandi

    http://www.sugarsweetbowtique.com

  17. I just blogged about your myths busted series!
    Mandi
    .-= Mandi´s last blog ..Coupon Muths Busted! =-.

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