Helena Ricketts enjoys looking for ways to save money and make money. She shares her findings with her readers.
It is understandable why a lot of people are turned off by the thought of couponing. Tons of blogs and YouTube videos give couponers the appearance of being borderline hoarders that spend multiple hours per day clipping coupons, clearing shelves at the stores and being just downright greedy.
I have been couponing on and off for over half my life and in that time I have saved thousands of dollars by using those little slips of paper at the register. However, I’ve also on occasion wasted money when I’ve let my couponing get out of control. The best way to use coupons is to use them on the things that you are buying anyway.
Over the years there have been some common misconceptions about couponing that simply aren’t true. Today we are going to talk about five of them and I’m going to tell you why they aren’t true.
1. Coupons Only Help You Save on Processed Junk Food
That used to be the case, but in today’s coupon world it simply isn’t true. It also depends on what your definition of junk food is. My definition of junk food is anything that is processed food like cereal, pasta, bread and spaghetti o’s.
There are coupons out there for things like rice and fresh produce; you just have to know how to acquire them.
For example, Earthbound Farms releases coupons for their produce on their website quite often. Driscoll’s has a reward program that will allow you to receive coupons for their berries when you enter so many UPC codes from past purchases into their website.
The coupons.com app will occasionally throw in coupons for things like potatoes, tomatoes and other fresh produce. The last one was for potatoes up to $1.50. Any potatoes that you purchase that cost less than $1.50 would be free, but if you do what I did and purchase a bag that cost $2.99, you’ll get $1.50 back for purchasing that bag, which makes them $1.49.
The Ibotta app will occasionally have fresh meat coupons available for redemption at your local grocery store. The most common ones that I have seen lately have been for fresh Tyson chicken and Smithfield pork at Walmart.
2. You Can’t Be Brand-Loyal When You Use Coupons
It depends on the product and the brand.
If you are continually using something from a smaller brand, you may not be able to acquire coupons as easily as from the larger brands. It is possible to get coupons from the smaller brands by simply asking the company for them. The worst thing that can happen is you will be told no.
Mainstream brands owned by companies like Proctor and Gamble and Unilever release their coupons in sync with the sale cycles, so if your favorite brand is something produced by those companies, chances are when the coupon is released, there’s a sale coming. Purchase a couple of extras that will last until the next sale comes around and you have just saved yourself a little bit of money on that product.
3. You Have to Spend a Lot of Time Planning Your Trip When Couponing
Years ago this was the case, but not any more, now that we have the internet. There is a ton of information out there and people that post different deals. Google is your friend, so use it to do a one time search for coupon deals at your favorite store then bookmark the site that gives you weekly match ups.
On shopping day, make your list then take a moment to use your bookmark for your favorite site and take a quick look at the match ups for that week. If there are any coupon deals that you want to participate it, take your coupons with you.
Once you do this a few times and get the hang of it, you’ll be able to save a bit of money with about 15 minutes of extra time involved.
4. You Have to Have a Stockpile to Save Money With Coupons
Nothing is further from the truth. You do not have to stockpile the products in your home. In fact, it is counterproductive to do that for any item that has a shelf life.
I’ve seen many stockpiles that have been posted online and cringed at the number of items that will go bad before they are able to be used. Many people say they donate a lot of their couponing stockpile before the products expire. I’m not here to knock charity at all, but if your only purpose in couponing is to save money for your family, you’ll want to be mindful of the number of each item you keep on hand.
Remember that sales and coupon releases cycle, and that item will be available again at a deeply discounted price when the cycle resets in a few months.
I say this a lot because it is true. There is always another deal.
5. You Have to Have 1001 Rebate Apps in Order to Save Money With Coupons
No, you don’t. You don’t have to use all of the ones that bloggers talk about either. I mainly use three that I feel are the best for me and there is one more that I use on occasion. Actually you don’t have to use any of them unless you want to and you’ll still save money on your grocery bill with coupons.
The three main apps that I use that I feel benefit me the most are Ibotta, SavingStar and Fetch Rewards. I occasionally use the coupons.com app for the coupons that they occasionally post for produce.
Sometimes I don’t use them at all. I know, a lot of extreme couponers just gasped when they read that statement.
Yes, apps can make an item free, but I’ve also noticed that apps can also encourage excessive spending on things that you wouldn’t have purchased in order to “make level” to get an extra 50 cents back, or get a $3.00 bonus for redeeming 12 rebates in a certain amount of time. It is similar to leveling up in a video game except for you are spending more in order to get less of that money back. It’s a very good psychological marketing tactic that obviously works on many people and there’s quite a few YouTube videos out there that prove it’s working.
None of That Is True!
The bottom line is that you don’t have to become a crazy coupon lady in order to save money with coupons. A lot of the myths out there about couponing just aren’t true if you take the time to look into it. It’s not always about the free stuff, although the free stuff is nice to get. It’s about saving money on the things that your family already uses on a regular basis and knowing that every deal out there isn’t necessarily a deal that will benefit you.
What have you heard about couponing that you want to know the truth about? Let’s talk about it in the comments below, and find out if the rumors are true.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Helena Ricketts
Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on August 17, 2019:
Hi Helena, I use coupons all the time. Your myths are all true. Sometimes I have a lot of them and sometimes just a few. The ones I don't like are when you have to buy 2 or 3 of the item and save only .50. I also don't use coupons on things that I normally don't use. I have actually saved enough of coupons that brought the bill down to the amount of money I had to use. Thanks for sharing all of these tips.
Blessings to you.
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 22, 2019:
Hi, Great article. I am a stranger to the coupon savings schemes. Thanks for sharing.