e-Course: Coupon Myths & Facts

by Beth Montgomery on April 3, 2010 · 2 comments

in Coupons & Rebates, Tips & Basics

This is Part 1 of the 30-day Savings Soiree e-course by In Good Cents.   View the most recent course in this series or head to the Saving Soiree e-course main menu.   Subscribe to In Good Cents via RSS or e-mail to make sure you don’t miss out!

You’re here, so most likely you use coupons or want to use coupons.   But since we’re kicking an entire month of coupon classes coming at you from all directions, today would be perfect day to invite your coupon weary friends and family to join in, so they too can learn to cut their grocery budget dramatically.   Sure, they have their excuses ready, but we have the answers and the facts.

It’s not worth it. I won’t save that much money.

You may be right.   Shocked that the coupon addict would admit that?   Well, it’s the truth.

About 90% of the time, coupons don’t really save you much money at all.   That’s because most people don’t use them to their best advantage.   Manufacturer and stores place coupons with beautiful pictures of delicious or enticing products in the inserts each week.   They want us to clip those coupons and head straight into the store to buy a product we wouldn’t typically buy and most couponers do just that.   Instead of saving money, you end up spending more.

With a few simple tips, you can cut your weekly grocery bill by at least 50% using coupons.   As you get better though, that percentage will grow and grow.   I save an average of 70% a week at least and have a grocery budget of only $50 a week for a family of 5 that includes everything from our diapers to our dinners.

It takes too much time.

With the arrival of frugal blogs who do so much of the work for you, the days of spending hours upon hours trying to save a few bucks are in the past.   It’s true that if you’re couponing, you do spend so much more time up front getting ready to head to the store.   But, armed with a detailed shopping list and a plan, you’ll be in and out of the store in record time.

I’ve calculated that by couponing and taking at least one hour each week to prepare to head to the store, I’ve saved about $50-70 an hour.   How can you not afford to do that?

It’s overwhelming. I don’t know where to start.

Couponers have their own language.   They throw around terms like rolling and stacking, like everyone speaks couponese.   They tote coupons around with them everywhere they go, like it’s an extension of their body.   And they brag about how they never pay for toothpaste.   It can be intimidating!

You can’t become a pro overnight (unless you’re my mom, who did!).   But, on the other hand, you can’t become a pro if you’d don’t start somewhere.   Every single couponer had to start somewhere and was also once overwhelmed, but they pressed forward to save money.

If you commit to saving money with coupons, you don’t have to go to the store tomorrow and bring home a receipt that says you saved 80%.   You don’t have to head out and buy $200 worth of groceries for $20.   Even if you come home and you only saved $1, that’s $1 more than you would have saved, so celebrate!

Start slow.   Move at your own pace.   And don’t feel pressure by what other couponers are doing.   Feel empowered by what you are doing for your family.

I don’t have time to go to 20 different stores each week.

Me either!   Toting around 3 kids is hard enough without trying to juggle coupons, pay attention to prices, and worrying about going over budget.   We couldn’t make it through 5 stores, let alone 20, without a melt down.   You don’t have to do a tour of grocery stores to save money.   You can cut your grocery budget easily by going to at least one grocery store and one pharmacy a week, like I do.   You just have to know your local stores and how to maximize your savings.

There aren’t coupons for the products I buy. It’s all cereal and cleaning products.

If you can’t find coupons for all or a large majority of the products you buy, then you aren’t looking in the right place.   There are so many resources for coupons these days from inserts to the Internet, that you can easily find a coupon for almost anything, even fresh fruit and meat.   Sure, some are harder to come by, but they do pop up now and then and you have to know where to look.

If all else fails, call the manufacture and ask!   35% of coupons are dispensed by manufacturers only upon request.

We’ve all heard them! What’s the best reason you’ve heard for someone not couponing?   My sister always tells me it’s embarrassing!   She’s in good company.   Approximately 23% of American’s admit that they are embarrassed or uncomfortable using coupons.

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