Yahoo Finance released an article earlier this week on 8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Coupons. Articles like these always leave me shaking my head.
No offense to the author, but I believe she is very misinformed. A quick internet search would have proven most of her points invalid.
Of course, I’m biased as I believe everyone should use coupons in some way, shape or form. Unless you make half a million dollars each year and own an island, I believe you could benefit from using coupons — if even just to casually use them for a few products each week and shave $40 off your grocery budget every month.
Andrea did a great job of responding and rebutting each of the author’s points in her post. And, just for kicks, I thought I’d do the same. So here are the eight arguments for not using coupons from Yahoo along with my rebuttals:
Argument #1 You have to buy a newspaper.
My Rebuttal: Actually, I use lots of coupons and haven’t purchased a newspaper in over two years. Check out my article on 10 Ways to Get Coupons for Free.
Argument #2: Clipping coupons takes time.
My Rebuttal: Yes, clipping coupons takes time, but in most cases, it’s time very well spent. I mean, where else can you find a job you can do from your home that earns you $30-$50 per hour in tax-free savings?
To be honest, I really don’t spend any extra time clipping coupons. I bring my coupon box each week to a regular family gathering and clip and file while engaged in our discussions. I figure if my mouth and brain are going to be busy, I might as well keep my hands productive, too.
If you want to save even more time, try the no-coupon-clipping method of using coupons.
Argument #3: Getting a newspaper invites lots of additional advertising into your home.
My Rebuttal: Who says you have to bring the whole newspaper into your home? We don’t. We only bring coupon inserts to be clipped.
Argument #4: Many of the coupons will be for things you neither need nor want.
My Rebuttal: Yes, and that’s why there’s this thing called a trashcan. No one says you have to clip and use every coupon — especially if you didn’t pay for them. Use the coupons which work for you, toss the rest.
However, I’d also argue that if you’re willing to try new things which are free, almost-free or more-than-free, you might discover some new products you love! Or, if you have the time and energy, you could also consider buying things you can get for free or more-than-free with coupons and donating them if you won’t use them.
Argument #5: Coupons can tempt you to spend your grocery dollars on things you shouldn’t.
My Rebuttal: If coupons are tempting you to spend your grocery dollars on things you shouldn’t, you might consider not going grocery shopping because just walking down a grocery store aisle can tempt you to spend all sorts of money you shouldn’t spend. One reason you need to learn self discipline is that, otherwise, you’ll likely spend money on things you shouldn’t all the rest of your life.
My advice is to create a grocery budget and shop with cash in order to help encourage self-discipline. After all, it’s pretty hard to spend a lot of money you don’t have at the grocery store when you have a budget and pay with cash!
Argument #6: The same coupons tend to be offered over and over again.
My Rebuttal: Seriously, has this author ever even clipped coupons before? Yes, there are some coupons that you see regularly, but the whole point of coupons is very often to introduce new products. So there is a wide variety of coupons offered — especially with the advent of printable coupons and coupons offered through Facebook.
And at any rate, I like it when great coupons which net free or almost-free products appear again and again. It enables me to keep my pantry and stockpile filled for pennies on the dollar!
Argument #7: You might become a slave to coupons.
In explaining her point, the author says:
“It can be very difficult to buy something without a coupon once you get used to using coupons. Knowing that you can get ice cream for $2.50 might make it difficult for you to spend $4 on it…”
My Rebuttal: Okay, I admit it. I’m a Coupon Slave. Because seriously? Who pays $4 for ice cream? It’s very rare we ever pay over $2 for it!
Jesting aside, she does have a point here. It is possible to become so obsessed with coupons and bargain-shopping that you spend excessive amounts of time planning and shopping. That’s why I always suggest you consider how much time you realistically have to invest and how much you are saving per hour.
If your other priorities are suffering or you are saving less than $15 per hour, you need to step back and take a look at how to streamline things so couponing is more effective and rewarding for you and your family.
Argument #8: Shopping takes longer.
My Rebuttal: It can, but it doesn’t have to. If you take the time to plan a menu and plan your shopping trip, you can actually save time on shopping and meal prep.
How? Because having a plan and following the plan is always going to save you time and effort when compared to having no plan and just flying by the seat of your pants. Instead of waiting until 5 p.m. to figure out dinner and then running to the store to pick up things to make dinner, you can write out a menu for the whole week and make one big shopping trip to buy everything.
Now, of course, if you enjoy couponing and see it as your hobby (a hobby that saves your family money, too!), you can spend more time grocery shopping than average folks do. But usually, the savings you’ll reap is also very significant. (And if it’s not, then you likely need to see my point above about re-prioritizing!).
Whew! There’s so much more I could say on each of these points. It was hard to condense my rebuttals to a paragraph or two. But I figured I’d leave it at that and let you chime in.
Do you agree with any of the author’s arguments for why you shouldn’t use coupons? Why or why not? I’d love to hear!
photo credit: Miss Messie