Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Couponing the WRONG way!

Couponing the wrong way? Is that possible?

Yes, yes it is. The point of couponing is to save money. If you buy things just because you have a coupon- well, you are spending more money to "save" money. In the long run, buying things just because you have a coupon results in more spending and more clutter.

This all never occurred to me until this weekend. I don't typically buy things I don't need so I haven't really fallen prey to this. Now, I mentioned in my previous post that I did have some random items in my purchase piles. Anything from food to household to mini first aid kits. But- the food we will eat and the mini first aid kits we will put in our cars.

I know I will use everything I purchase, and I almost never purchase anything just because I have a coupon. Here are my rules I follow:

I ONLY buy things now if I have a coupon, unless:

- It's produce or dairy that I cannot get a coupon for. Milk, fresh fruit and veggies.
- It's an item you RARELY see a coupon for such as milk, fresh fruits and veggies or clothing.
- It's an emergency.

There are a few exceptions that I make. These exceptions include my personal splurge items like really fancy shampoo, entertainment (I do look for coupons) and a couple other things that I allow myself a splurge on.

Next, when I have coupons, I am buying things I am in the market for. I'm not just out buying because I have a coupon. I get regular things that we need and use. Food, paper towels, toilet paper, personal care items, etc. I guess what I am saying is, I don;t get a coupon and think that I have to go buy it because I got that coupon.

On the rare occasion that I get something that I don't normally use it falls in to these categories:

It's something that I know we will use and is not clutter, for example food.

It's something we use, just another brand, i.e. we usually buy Kraft but I can get a really good deal and multiples of Market Pantry brand for less.

It's something we will use and I want to try, i.e. my recent purchase of Glade Spring room sprays. I don't normally use random room sprays, I use Scentsy products and that includes their room sprays. However- the Scentsy room spray leaves a film of oil all over when I use it, which causes my wood and tile floors to become super slick. This room spray smelled really good {I got the green one that is lime and ginger} it didn't smell like my grandma's house, it doesn't leave a film, and it didn't cost $8 a small bottle either. Sometimes when guests are coming and I didn't have a lot of notice, it's nice to run around and spray the house to freshen it up and not have to worry about a slip and fall hazard! :)

I realized a lot about my shopping habits this weekend and what type of couponer I want to be.

In this economy I want to have a nice food storage, but not so huge that it takes up my whole house.
I want to have a good supply of personal care products and household items so that I can pull from my stock, and stock up at good sales.
I want to accomplish this by spending the least amount of money possible. And when I can, donate what I can to my local food bank and homeless shelters. I can't stand the thought of kids going hungry.

My good friend and I have both always used coupons. Over the past couple of months I think we have both relied on them a little heavier.

This is where I give you examples of how you can coupon the wrong way. Now, don't take me the wrong way- I love my friend dearly- I just thought it was a really good example for my post.

My friend and I made two trips to Target this weekend. Each time we were using coupons.

On our first trip, I spent about $26.00. I had a coupon for all but three items in my cart- and those items were from the dollar section.

My friends bill was $95.00- she also had coupons, but I chalked it up to her just buying a lot more than me and also buying quite a few things that she didn't have coupons for.

We went out again later that evening.

This time everything I purchased had a coupon, or stack of coupons with it. When all was said and done, I left there spending less than twenty bucks. {$20.00}

I was done shopping about 15 minutes in. We spent over an hour of time with her going from aisle to aisle, looking at things and contemplating purchase- JUST BECAUSE SHE HAD A COUPON FOR IT. Stuff she didn't even use and probably didn't need.

What was she looking at? Well, she stared at baby food for about 10 minutes. She had a coupon for some random brand. If you bough 2 items at $3.99 each, you could get $1.00 one of their other products. So right there you are spending $8.00 to save $1.00. At that point if you really want to try the item- just buy the one that you wanted to get the dollar off of. That seems obvious right?

It was obvious when I had a coupon to get $1/1 Mars candy item. I wanted M&M's {which I later got free anyway} that were $2.69 each, I had to spend $5.38 to get the dollar off,making them $4.68 for the two. I didn't need two so I just bought one and left my coupon on the shelf so someone else could use it.

So after leaving the baby food aisle she had to go look at Fisher Price toys because....you guessed it...she had a coupon. But guess what? She didn't even need a toy. So she sat there in the aisle for a good 15 minutes deciding on what to get- then ended up "just getting something"...something she didn't even want or need, just to use the coupon.

Then there was the cosmetics aisles. She bought a few random cosmetic items she never usually uses..because she had coupons.

Now why didn't I say anything? Two reasons- I didn't really think about it at the time, and I didn't want to offend her. But at our weekly coupon meeting, I may bring it up. I will gently remind her that there are lots of coupons she may not use, and that there will always be other coupons out here.

Her checkout at the second Target cost her another $100. I wonder what she would have actually saved if she'd only gotten what she uses and what she needed?

Do you think she is really saving money using coupons? Or do you think the couponing is hurting her budget and her bottom line?

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