Frugal living is associated with clipping coupons. When used correctly, they really make a big difference for the budget. However, there are instances when it is simply not worth it. Below are five times coupons only waste your time and money.
1. Low cost to reward ratio
Make no mistake about it: serious couponing is hard work. You must buy the newspapers, clip the coupons, organize them, monitor all expiration dates, and map out stores that allow stacking. Is it really worth it for $0.50 savings?
2. Getting you to buy wants rather than needs
Coupons exist to entice customers to try products that they would normally not buy. The coupons are there to create a habit. Manufacturers hope that by the time the coupons go away, the demand will stay. However, if you truly want to save money, you must focus on things that you need, not wants or things you are curious about.
There are cheap products on the shelves, whether you have coupons or not, and they are called generic brands. The coupons take your focus away from them. To cut your costs, stick to store brands, learn which generic brands offer good quality, and wait for in-store sales. It takes less work and you still enjoy the savings.
4. Buying unhealthy food
Coupons often market convenience foods that are more expensive and generally unhealthy. Just look at your circular. How many coupons are there for pizza rolls, pancake mix, and peanut butter? Now count how many coupons are there for fresh food. Go figure.
5. Overbuying trigger
Often, you see coupons that require the purchase of more than one item to earn savings. For example, you must buy 3 to get $1 off. Do you really need the extra items? Also, this is risky if you are just trying a product for the first time. What if you do not like it and you have 5 of it? It ends up being a waste. It is best to be more intention with what you are buying and focus on items that you truly need.