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Couponing is on the Rise

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CNN has a story about clipping coupons. Big box retailers are showing a 14% rise in their use.

CNN Story

Except for a stray coupon here and there, I really don’t use coupons. I find that it is often cheaper to go with a generic brand versus a name brand with a coupon. Of course, there are exceptions. The coupons I like to use are the ones for cereal. I only use them when a store has the cereal on sale – which brings the price below that of the generic variety. That’s when we stock up on cereal.

There was a finance blogger that did an article that examined the use of coupons and if it was worth it time-wise. I wish I could remember who that was (if someone knows – feel free to mention in the comments!). I thought his/her look at the time factor was very interesting. Right after our son was born, we were spending about $25 a week on groceries for my husband and I. That was a result of a lot of planning and scanning through grocery sale flyers. We could probably drastically reduce our grocery spending if I spent that time again planning.

What about you? Do coupons play a large role in your financial life?


22 Comments

  • Reply iloveshoes |

    I use coupons a lot and it’s worth it to me because I combine them with instore sales and usually get 30 or $40 off of our receipt. With using coupons, I can comfortably feed our family of 5 on about $180 a month and I live in a very high cost of living area. It takes a lot of planning though.

  • Reply kdmoffett25 |

    I remember when I was working at Kroger in between jobs and this lady would come in every week or so and get 2 carts full of groceries and only spend $25-$30, if that. There were times when she walked out of the store oweing noting… I was always amazed and her secret was to only buy something with a coupon unless it was something she really needed like eggs or milk, but there were times that she had a coupon for those as well. She had coupons for everything!

  • Reply rose |

    Yes, I use coupons and I’m pretty happy they’re available. I’ve not yet had the huge success that other people have experienced with their coupons, but I save enough to make me happy. The most I’ve ever saved with coupons is $33 dollars, but that’s pretty good in my opinon. Coupled with frugal meals (we don’t eat beef more than twice a week) and cooking with an eye to getting multiple meals out of it and we’re doing okay. Yes, it takes time to look and cut coupons out, but I find it well worth it.

  • Reply Sal |

    My wife and I use coupons. We work with a small variation of the Grocery Game. Before, we were spending about $100 a week on food and such to feed me, my wife, our daughter, my wife’s mom, and my wife’s niece and nephew. Now we spend somewhere right around $50 and once every 2 months we will put a big shopping trip together and spend about $100 again. We always combine coupons with sales though, it only makes more sense.

  • Reply Sallie's Niece |

    I participate in my supermarket’s extra savings program and buy the store brand. Every now and then I’ve tried to use a coupon and found the generic was cheaper anyway. I am not too diligent about looking for coupons but 90% of the groceries I buy are on sale anyway.

  • Reply My Daily Dollars |

    I started with the Grocery Game and then my own version. However, I didn’t really save that much, maybe $50 a month or so. I found that I was BUYING more to get the deals instead! Now, I’m trying to keep my pantry stocked with inexpensive items and use homemade cleaners. I’ll still cut coupons for a few things, but it has really reduced the time I spend on the whole endeavor.

  • Reply StarXLR8 |

    I am sporadic in my use of coupons, but have recently put some effort into it. I don’t keep all the circulars as CouponMom suggests, rather I cut out the products we actually use, so that I am not tempted to buy just for the good deal. Given the price of gas, I limit my stores to the closest ones that we can hit on one trip.

    I seem to be good at saving 30-40% on each trip, but we still spend way too much on food. I’d be interested in some tips to feed your kids more frugally without them noticing/complaining.

  • Reply Tricia |

    StarXLR8 – we’ve been trying out new menu items to keep our costs down and to eat healthier overall. I have found that my son is more receptive to new things if he is involved in the process. He is more excited to try creations that he is involved in.

  • Reply c2w |

    i don’t use coupons, except for what’s mailed to us (Bed Bath & Beyond’s regular 10-20% coupons come to mind). we eat a lot of fresh veggies, whole grains, and low-fat meats/fish, so there’s not often a coupon for that. also, we don’t have a newspaper subscription. do those people who figure out how much they save factor in the cost of acquiring the coupons in the first place? i supposed i should start checking online, but it seems like i might not be saving all that much if i have to use my color printer to print out the coupon…

  • Reply Dedicated |

    Back in the day, when I was at home with 3 small children, I was the coupon clipping queen. I had time and could get some fabulous deals this way.

    Then the divorce, and when I needed them most, I no longer had access or time. This is where you learn the most about saving at the grocery.

    Recently, I have begun to clip more coupons and remember to bring them with me shopping. I keep them close to my re-usable bags. I am saving so much cash combining with the drug store game at Walgreens. I bought cereal for 50c. Not generic. I’ve got shampoo, toothbrushes and bathroom cleaner free. Sometimes I am getting paid to take the items.

    Granted, it is not good if you buy and pay for things you don’t need. I clip most coupons, but only if I think they are good for us or someone I know, or the local Pantry and Food Drives. I do not care, if in the end, no sale happens and I toss the coupon. Which is a perk, I don’t feel like I ‘have’ to buy. I’m building savings for myself and a give away cabinet for others. For minimal cents.

  • Reply Sal |

    @Dedicated: I need to get with you on some of those deals. I have never been able to get anything for free, or even to get paid to buy something. I bow down before you, oh coupon clipping queen.

  • Reply danielle |

    I do coupons, and I love it.
    Personally, I believe that if you have any debt, that you should just buy what you need when you need it. However, I don’t have any debt, and so I stockpile. That is, when I find a great deal with something that I can combine sales and coupons for, I get as many as possible and as practical. (If they are stockpilable).
    I separate the 50 cents and lower coupons with the ones that are 55 cents and higher. This is because Krogers doubles and triples them up to a dollar. The higher ones, I take to Walmart.
    You are right about some things being cheaper if you get a different brand. If this is the case with me, then I just throw the coupon away. But, it’s not always the case.
    Aside from saving money, it also gets you to try new things.

  • Reply MrsMoney |

    I am not a coupon user. If I get a really good coupon, I will use it. My thinking is that I buy so much fresh produce and organic food that I really can’t use coupons. I try to buy unprocessed food, and a lot of coupons are for processed foods. I just am not a couponer! 🙂

  • Reply jody |

    We have a Cub foods here and there are times where they offer buy $20 of something (usually General Mills Cereal, granola bars, etc) and you get $5 or 10 off your grocery. Well if you have coupons you can get them for super duper cheap. I usually clip a lot of coupons but only buy stuff that is not a staple if it’s on sale and with a coupon I can save at least half of the normal price. I love the BOGO’s because you can really score. I am not brand choosy so we also eat lots of generic. Meat is the budget killer but you have to have it!

  • Reply Matt |

    I don’t use coupons – for me to really take advantage of them would require a fair amount of time and effort. By planning and taking advantage of sales I can keep my bills down enough that I don’t have to go to any additional effort.

  • Reply Chris |

    I use coupons all the time. Just yesterday I bought $233.04 worth of groceries for $73.52

    I rarely ever buy anything generic. Coupons aren’t just for food, they are for cleaning supplies, toilet paper, health & beauty products etc.

  • Reply Miss Thrifty |

    Sadly we don’t have a coupon culture here in the UK. You get the odd coupon here and there, but no extraordinary bargains (think:50 cents off a tub of margarine, or 50 cents off some laundry powder). Rubbish or what?

  • Reply Lisette |

    I used to use coupons a lot. The last few months, my coupon redemption has declined dramatically. It’s not that I don’t want to use them or don’t have the time, it’s just that the coupons for things we use just aren’t there. We don’t eat a lot of processed foods, and most of the food coupons out there are for these things. I do use use coupons for such things as diapers and hba. Though these too have also either been lacking or they have changed the quantity you must buy. For example, I used to use the $1 off Charmin coupons all the time, but they changed the quantity and now you have to buy 2 in order to get the $1 off. I will still use these, only because I hate other brands of toilet paper. We only use Charmin strong. I’ve noticed that we use tremendously less with the strong than with other brands, including the regular charmin.

    Lisette
    http://couponqueenofcorning.blogspot.com/

  • Reply A couple in Rochester |

    I just read this to my wife. We barely use coupons any more. We don’t buy very many brand name food items. We buy generics, store brands and a lot of basic staple items. Preparation time isn’t that much more, and it gives us an excuse to sit around the kitchen talking.

  • Reply frequent lurker |

    I use them quite a bit and it does take a lot of time to plan. I have gotten fastastic deals & frees at Walgreens, CVS, Dillons (part of Kroger chain), and sometimes Walmart. Before coupons, a lot in my kitchen shelves was yellow with generic store brand boxes of this and that. Now they are filled (and overflowing) with brand name items stockpiled by combining sales and coupons. I truly can’t tell the taste difference, but when I can get a brand-name something for cheaper than the generic, I do it. I hope to never spend money on shampoo, razors, or toothpaste again since I’ve gotten several for free! I left Dillon’s last weekend with 2 big cans of Folgers, 4 bags of Halls cough drops, Febreze noticeables, and 3 or 4 other things for less than the cost of the 2 cans of coffee. Now that’s intoxicating!!!

So, what do you think ?