Some people see the couponer as a down-and-out person who feeds their family junk food, spends 40 hours per week clipping coupons, and searches for the next deal in the dumpster. I want to dispel these rumors so that you and your family can start saving money!
Some of these misconceptions have been perpetuated by the “Extreme Couponing” TV show on TLC. At the same time, the TV Show somehow made couponing glamorous by highlighting good shoppers as the heroes of the new economy. I personally have stop watching because I believe that the store and the couponer are making behind the scene deals (Just MY OPINION).
The truth is that couponing, is no more than what I like to call Strategic Shopping. Food prices fluctuate weekly, and drop to the lowest price every 6-8 weeks, a strategic shopper will buy when the price is low, match a coupon to the sale price and stock-up on these items for 6-8 weeks.
When I first started couponing I didn’t realize that food prices fluctuated so much. I used to make a shopping list for the things that our family needed on a weekly basis, and shop for the items on the list. I would certainly shop with coupons only when I could match them to my list. I still do that, but my mind set has changed.
I still continue to shop weekly, but now I shop with the mind set of stocking up for 6-8 weeks and purchasing those items at the lowest possible price. For example, this week I purchased 6 boxes of Planters big nut bars, 6 ct. They were on sale for $2/5, I used a $1 off coupon for each box, plus paired that with a $1 off e-coupon from my store. To make this deal even sweeter the store offered a Catalina deal, buy 5 get $3 back. I paid a total of $5 for 6 boxes (or $0.83 a box).
By coupling a low-priced item, or even a major sale, with a coupon, we are able to bring the cost to a ‘rollback’ price and many times that item may end of being free!
On to the TOP 5 Misconceptions
Misconception #1: Couponing takes too much time.
We are very busy people. Take one look at our calendar and you’ll see that in addition to each having children and families we all keep busy. I made the time to coupon by keeping organized. If you find a way that works for you, keep it going. It really bothers me when I see couponers clipping coupons right in the store. That is disorganization at is best. See how I organize our coupons here. Yes, there will be some up front time/work involved, but once you figured out how to organize, less time will be needed. To cut down on time, I keep up with my favorite BLOGS. They can be a real time saver. (OH, yea, “LIKE” us on Facebook, hint hint)
Misconception #2: You can never purchase items you want when couponing.
I am able to shop for my family with coupons and get the items we want when we use coupons. I think this may be the most common misconception. While there are coupons out there for junk food, the majority are not. The beauty of it is you get to pick and chose what is right for your family. Just because you can get Fruity Pebbles for free doesn’t mean you have to buy it (DONATE DONATE). I only use coupons for products we use, will use or for products I’d like to try. There are coupons being offered for organic products all the time. Plus, there are tons of coupons for everyday items like toothpaste, deodorant, laundry detergent, hair products, etc., etc.
Misconception #3: If I get an item free, I am ripping off the company or the store.
Not true at all. The manufacturer reimburses the store the amount of the coupon, no matter what the price of the item is, plus 8 cents for handling the coupon. So in fact, they are making money on every coupon you use.
Misconception #4: Couponers are Hoarders
The Extreme Couponers show has given a lot of people this idea. As with most anything in life, there are always a few fanatics (just watch the show), but they are by far the minority. Most of us shop just for our families or donate the excess to our local food banks. I only buy what my family can use up within a few months. Most products are on schedules going on sale every 6-8 weeks.
Misconception #5: Coupons Expire too Quickly
Some of the higher prices coupons will usually expire slightly quicker than others. Especially if it is a new product on the market. Most coupons have pretty good expiration dates. I even get coupons that expire 6 months out. I organize by expiration date. This way when I go to purchase my products my coupons are not turned down because I wasn’t watching the date.
I think of couponing as a game, you must have all the pieces (coupons) on the board (Match-ups from the flyer), but everyone who plays wins.