Pros and Cons of Couponing

As I was flipping through TV channels recently, I came across a show on extreme couponing. This episode featured a woman who had taken her family’s garage and turned it into a stock room with all of the items that she bought for free or very cheap with coupons. She had thousands upon thousands of items. She had at least 10 varieties of salad dressing, with at least 10 bottles of each variety. The woman could have easily opened her own grocery store or food pantry out of her garage. Her husband, who used to use the garage for work projects, was not as excited as she was. 

I have to say, when I think of couponing, the first thing that comes to mind for me is extreme couponing even though I know very well that there are healthy ways to use coupons. Couponing can be a very frugal endeavor for those who are willing to invest the time and energy. Couponing can also be stressful and addictive. Here are some of the Pros and Cons of Couponing as well as some links to couponing articles and websites to help you get started.

Couponing PROS:

  • Savings: There is no doubt that you can save significant amounts of money by using coupons. If you use coupons for items that are already on sale and you know how to “stack” your coupons, you can get items for free or half the price that you normally pay.
  • Stock Up: You can stock up on items that you use regularly when they are free or super cheap and not have to buy them for a while.
  • Frugal Shopping: Couponing can help you become a more frugal shopper because couponers tend to be more price conscious. Couponers also tend to make less impulsive purchases than their non-couponing counterparts.
  • Try New Products: Couponing is a great way to try new products cheaply. If you don’t like the new product you don’t have to worry because you paid next to nothing for it.

 Couponing CONS:

  • Buying Products that You Won’t Use: Couponing can encourage you to buy products that you don’t use just because you can get a good deal.
  • The Process: Couponing takes time and organizational skills. You have to find, collect, save and remember your coupons when you go shopping.
  • Knowing the Rules: You have to know the rules of couponing like when and how to use your coupons so you can get the best deals possible. Some of these rules vary by store.
  • Give Up Store Loyalty: In order to use coupons effectively, you have to go to multiple stores and give up loyalty to your favorite grocery store, if you have one.
  • Processed Foods: A lot of times coupons are for more processed foods, you might be persuaded to buy more processed foods than you normally would to get a good deal.
  • Stress and Obsession: Couponing can become very overwhelming and stressful if you lack good organizational skills or aren’t sure how to use your coupons correctly. Similarly, couponing can quickly become an obsession or even an addiction. It is easy to get addicting to consuming and stockpiling products when you get a good deal. Be careful not to become a horder. Consider those less fortunate than you.

 Despite the cons, couponing can be a very frugal habit as long as you stay away from the pitfalls. I have eased into couponing by simply checking the sale items at my local grocery store before I plan my menu for the week. If you would like to get into couponing here are some articles to help you get started: coupon basics from pretty providence, coupon guide from frugal living, how to use your coupons from penny pinchin mom, and wiki how’s 8 steps for using coupons effectively.

Happy Couponing!

Join the Conversation: How have you used coupons in healthy and frugal ways?


8 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Couponing

  1. I’ve learned that around big holidays, my grocery store has fantastic coupons for really useful things. However, I try to maximize our fresh food, and though I do plan a menu, I rarely can use the weekly coupons from the grocery store. I’ve done fairly well with hygiene/cleaning supplies, but have also had issues because of the size offered with a coupon. Generally, it doesn’t come out to a better deal. The menu planning though has always worked in my favor because I don’t account for the leftovers I inevitably get, so the food I buy extends itself when I don’t do all the meals I planned in the time I plan… and so then, on weeks I have little but milk and butter to buy, I’ll try to stock up on non-perishables like grains and oils and things I’ve made do without up til now.

    Grace, can you offer resources for finding coupons that are useful? Or for getting on a consolidated emailing list? I don’t want to go searching for coupons for hours before I go, and I never get good ones in the mail.

  2. Great look at the pros and cons of couponing! It’s true that it can become an obsession!

    I have found the key to couponing for us is keeping an eye out for coupons on products we actually use. We’re not strictly brand loyal in many cases, so much of the time, off brands are cheaper than name-brands with the coupon. And, we shop for more whole foods than pre-packaged goods, so simply planning our meals around the sale flyer produce and meat saves us much more than strictly couponing would.

  3. Pingback: Dinner for One? | frugalcommunity

  4. Pingback: Frugal Fitness Challenge: Save Money on Your Grocery Bill | frugalcommunity

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