I have great admiration for savvy coupon users. During different periods of my life, I have used coupons. I am not anti-coupon. However, these days I must admit that I find no joy in pursuing the coupon challenge, and here’s why.
Couponing is time consuming. Gathering, clipping, sorting, and storing coupons takes time. Searching for digital coupons takes time. Like many of you, I have dozens of irons in the fire, and time is at a premium these days. Time starvation coupled with some other reasons means I’m simply unwilling to make the time to use coupons.
Coupons don’t apply to the food items we buy most often. If coupons regularly existed for fruit, veggies, meat, beer, and wine, the Starks family would be ALL IN on the couponing gig. However, coupons for these items aren’t around, so we seldom have coupons we can use.
Coupons tempt me to buy things. Most coupons I come across tend to be for things we don’t regularly purchase. Some of those things can be dazzling, shiny objects, and most likely they are for food items that are not healthy choices for my family. I try to avoid the temptation to add unneeded items to my shopping cart due to a coupon.
I tend to be all-in or all-out when it comes to coupons. Occasionally, the grocery store will offer a coupon for an item we would normally buy, such as yogurt. The problem is this lone coupon needs a place to live until we need to buy yogurt again. There are two of us who do the shopping. The probability of that coupon being with the right person at the right time is about 0.03%. As a result, if I’m not actively collecting and purposefully using coupons, I just don’t bother, because …
Unused coupons make me feel guilty. I will carry around a coupon for weeks, visit the store where the coupon is valid, and then completely forget to present my coupon. This makes me angry with myself and brings on feelings of guilt. Ain’t nobody got time for that. My approach is to just avoid the whole emotional mess by throwing those suckers in the trash upon receipt.
I do make some exceptions. I get Barnes and Noble coupons frequently, and I do carry those around until our next visit. Bed, Bath, and Beyond also issues 20%-off coupons that I accumulate for our once-a-year shopping trip. These coupons also offer a more significant savings and, as a result, they’re easier for me to remember to use.
All in all, coupons do not make my life simpler. And these days, that matters the most to me. I am willing and able to spend a little more if necessary if it will save me time and trouble. But I will never say never!
Perhaps you have some commentary on how you best use coupons. Share your thoughts below, and maybe I’ll change my mind!