Saturday, January 17, 2009

Is Couponing Worth It??

I know when I first started thinking about couponing, I couldn't bear the thought of shelling out money each week for a Sunday paper. I mean, if I were to buy 1 paper, that would be a whole $2.00 out of my grocery budget!! I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to save that much using coupons and make it worth the expense of having to buy the coupons. It seems a little backwards - spend money to save money.

But I plunged in, and started out buying 2 papers each week. I clipped any and all coupons, and had my coupon binder filled up pretty fast. And I kinda blew my budget those first several weeks, too. It didn't help that about the time I started couponing was the same time that stores were running some really amazing sales on stuff. Like, REALLY amazing sales. I got alot of great stuff for much, much less than if I had bought that stuff at regular price without coupons. I don't regret buying those things.

Is it really worth it to spend the money on the paper? Will I get my money "back" in savings? You bet! I buy 2 papers each week, and the cost just went up to $2/paper. So that's $4. Or, just this week I subscribed to home delivery for 2 copies of the paper (we'll see if they deliver tomorrow!), and that's $1.90/paper, so $3.80/week just to have coupons and throw the rest of the paper, ads, and "stuff" into the recycling. I haven't actually done the math, but I know that I'm getting my money's worth. Some weeks I might not save $3.80 by using coupons... but another week I might save twice that much. It really helps that Kroger doubles coupons up to $.50. So, yeah, my answer is yes, it's worth it to buy the paper for the coupons.

And if you don't want to shell out for the Sunday paper, there are several other ways you can get coupons without paying for them. You can print them off the internet! Just now I printed off a $1.00 coupon for Velveeta Cheese. Velveeta is on my "want" list. The coupon doesn't expire until 4/30/09, so I have 3 1/2 months to find some Velveeta on sale and get a great deal! So far I haven't had any trouble with any stores taking internet printed coupons. I've heard that there are some places that don't take them, but I play by the rules and hope everyone else does, too, so our stores will trust us and our internet printed coupons!

Another "free" coupon option is to load coupons onto your store's loyalty card. I know for my area, I think it's just Kroger and CVS, but there's a list of stores you can load coupons onto. They are free, but they do expire. And once they're loaded, the next time you buy that item, the coupon automatically comes off your card when the card is scanned during that transaction. Some new information about the "e-coupons" though, is that you are NOT supposed to combine them with a paper coupon. For awhile that was good, ok and accepted. It's just been found out that you aren't supposed to do that. So... don't do it. It means being a little more careful on how I load my coupons onto my card (since you can't choose to NOT use the coupon on the card if you are buying that item), but that's easy enough for me. I simply make up my shopping list, then look over the e-coupon sites to see if there's any coupons that are better than my paper ones or that I want to use. Then if there are, I make sure and mark it on my list that it's an e-coupon so I know not to use a paper coupon with that product. (By the way, e-coupons do not double.)

Is it worth my time? I guess that depends on how valuable your time is to you! To me, it's worth it because I want to stretch every. single. penny. And pinch it until it squeals. And the booger comes out of Lincoln's nose. It did take me several weeks to get the hang of it. I'm still not the fastest couponing shopper in the world, I'm sure, but it's worth it to me. If it takes me an extra 1/2 hour and I save $6 by using coupons, I just "made" $12/hour. Kinda :)

Now you know my thoughts on couponing. I really do think it's worth it. There are a bunch of different ways to coupon. If one way doesn't work for you, you can always try another! So if you're thinking about it but unsure about jumping in and joining the rest of us... c'mon in, the water's fine!

If you have any questions, leave me a comment, or go check out any of these blogs:
Stretching A Buck
Couponing 101

Internet Printable Coupons:
The blogs above and Erin at $5 Dinners all have a "Printable Coupons" bar on the side of their blog that you can print from, and that's where I get mine.

A few hints for printing coupons:
~ Use the Fast Normal or Draft setting on your printer. It will save ink (since printable coupons do take some ink!)
~ You can use "used" paper! I have done this (just make sure you're printing on the blank side of the paper!) and haven't had any trouble using the coupon.
~ Most coupons you can print multiple times. Some have a print limit and it will tell you if you've reached the limit.
~ If you're unsure if you're store takes internet coupons, just go to the Customer Service desk and ask :)


simple~needs said... [Reply to comment]

here is a great coupon forum. you can join or just scope it out. lol
the gals on there actually give you a scenario of whats on sale, what coupon to use , etc. they are very nice and the site also lists stores individually.

Elizabeth said... [Reply to comment]

Love this post! I really need to get better about coupons :( I've slacked a little these last 2 months. The holidays screwed me up LOL!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I've been a bargain shopper for years but I've just started coupon shopping this year. So far I haven't saved that much money for the time I've put in, but I am still hanging in there because I think it's probably because I'm just learning.

I really like your blog by the way!

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

It's good to read this summary of your coupon deal. I still don't think I have the time yet to do it.

BTW, how's the meal planning going? That was something I thought I was going to start after the first of the year. Well, I haven't started it yet. We'll see. I have to finish this cake first.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]


I'm agree that coupons are worth it. Although, it isn't always easy for me to get them. How did it go for you getting a paper subscription? I thought of doing this, but wondered if I'd actually get the coupons, or the same amount when they are delivered compared to buying a paper at the store.

Meghan said... [Reply to comment]

I have been couponing since I moved out of my parents house ten years ago. I look forward to Sunday when the ads come out for the grocery stores to see what I can stock up on. Plus if I can match them with a coupon then I can barely stand it.

I used to do the Grocery Game for about 4 months. By then I had so much stuff and figured out how to do CVS and all that fun stuff by myself. My HB items overfloweth : )

Couponing definetly worth it. Saving money should be a priority for most especially with the rotten economy.

Miriam said... [Reply to comment]

Lisa, It really does get easier the more you do it, so don't give up yet!! :)

Sally, the Menu Planning is getting ready to be enforced again :)

Carol, So far so good with getting the paper subscription. I do need to call them, though, as only 1 copy was delivered yesterday instead of 2. For our paper, it's $.10 cheaper (than the store/stand) if you get it delivered, and it has all the same stuff in in as far as ads and coupons. I would recommend calling your paper company and asking them :) It will save us from having to REMEMBER to go by the store on Sundays and HOPING that there are still papers there!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

YOU got me started on couponing in the fall and now I am hooked! I can hardly wait for Sunday afternoon to check out the ads and coupons. Like you, I went over budget when I started, but have LOTS of stuff. I was able to donate to the local food pantry at church this past Sunday and also provided shampoo, toothpaste deodorant, laundry detergent... to a family who lost their home in a fire last week. So, that is also a nice part of couponing and stockpiling. I have decided I have a good stash now and need to slow down a little and just look for the absolute best deals. I now get $100 cash from the ATM each week for groceries (family of four, pack lunches every day, 16 year old with very healthy appetite...) and will see how this works. This is my first week doing this and I have $43.00 left after shopping Food Lion, CVS and Walgreen's (not including $10 in RR from Walgreens and $2 in CVS Bucks Back I can spend next week). I will shop Kroger mid-week and their sale looks great. Hopefully, I can take advantage off all the savings with my remaining $43. So, thanks (I think) for getting my starting. I enjoy your blog!! Oh, and still waiting to hear the "sanitation" project from Christmas. :)

Miriam said... [Reply to comment]

Anonymous, How cool! Thanks for posting your comment, you just made my day :D Do you have a blog? If you do, I'd love to stop by for a visit!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Hello again,

This is Leighann (aka anonymous)! I'm glad I could make your day, but you really were my inspiration for couponing (I even have the binder with the baseball card holders)! I don't blog though. With a husband, two teenagers, two dogs, a fish and a more than full-time job outside the home, there just aren't enough hours in the day. But, I get so much out of reading the blogs of others and appreciate the time you all take out of your busy schedules to write. You are an inspiration to me!

I will let you know how far I can stretch my $43 at Kroger tomorrow. Should be interesing since I just discovered I also need food for the dogs!

Thanks again for sharing!

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

I get the inserts from my mom and Mema. They don't use the coupons and I get them without having to buy the paper at all! Now if I could just figure out how work the system!!

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

I am very interested in trying this out. I clip them sometimes,when I stumble onto someone's paper, but usually forget to take them with me. :( I'm gonna check out the sites you recommended and see what I can do. I'm gonna keep checking out your site now that I found it. Have a great day!