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Eight Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Coupons — oh really?!

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!

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225 Comments

  • Excellent post! I’ve actually been taking a couponing break, but this article just makes me want to PROVE her wrong! 🙂

    Thank you for inspiring me and refuting myths!

  • Shelli W says:

    TOTALLY agree with your rebuttal for #8 and would also add by planning your shopping trip, you don’t make needless trips down aisles, which obviously saves time. 🙂 I find that my shopping trips have been greatly reduced since I started using coupons and actually planning out my trip. If I only need items in certain sections, I cut off at least half of the store that I don’t need to peruse for items. On the (rare) times I have a little more time to shop (if the kids aren’t with me) then I will go down the aisles to find some unadvertised sales to pair with a coupon, but I’m ok if I miss those sales too. 🙂

    Great rebuttal piece altogether!

  • Kels says:

    I cannot believe this article! I started couponing in February when I found out I was losing my job as a way to stretch my buck a little further. I have since been rehired, but the couponing has continued. I do not get a newspaper, but hit up a local newspaper recycling bin where Sunday newspapers that aren’t distributed are dumped. I’ve saved over $500 this year just by using coupons and menu planning! Who wouldn’t want those savings with just a little planning and coupon cutting? I know I can think of a lot better things to use my $500 saved for!

  • Rita says:

    i emailed yahoo…that article was horrible

    • Melissa says:

      @Rita, I was so flabbergasted when I read this article as well- it was seriously terrible. I thought the same thing as Crystal, “has she ever couponed before?” It was almost comical to read. 🙂 I

      • Bonnie says:

        @Melissa, The funniest thing is that if you take the time to google the author’s name, you will find that she runs a money saving blog and advocates the use of coupons. What a fraud. This article was written to get all of us couponers in a rage reading it. It doesn’t matter to yahoo whether or not you like the article, just that you read it. Hits are hits.

        • MaryEllen says:

          @Bonnie, I was thinking the same thing. It almost seemed that they wrote something ridiculous on purpose just to get everybody buzzing about their site.

        • Brandi says:

          @Bonnie, I emailed Yahoo last night blasting them over this “article” and telling them they should print a rebuttal from a writer that actually researches what is to be published and that they should apologize to their readers. I can’t believe in this economy a financial site would promote such nonsense. But WOW! that you googled her name and found out that she has a money saving blog! Sad that they will be rewarded from so many hits (mine included) on this. Great rebuttal Crystal!

  • Cari S. says:

    Uh….wow. Sure it takes time. Saving money is WORK, it’s not just something you can do on a whim. I can tell you that it IS worth the thousands of dollars I have saved my family so far this year.

  • This is going to sound crazy but I don’t use them because I’m sick. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the brain fog sometimes is so bad I literally can’t remember how to spell my husband’s name.

    I can’t think straight when I’m sick. I tried several times to use them and when I went to the store, I got the wrong product and had to go back and it was a big mess. (For those of you who don’t have CFS or FM fog it’s like going to the store and shopping on your very worst day of the flu.)

    When I tired to use RR I then had to take the product back because it didn’t work and lost my RR.

    Yes, these are all learning curves but that’s mostly why I don’t use them. I would rather just go to Aldi’s (which I am VERY thankful for).

    BTW, I can’t say that I don’t use any coupons at all but it’s only about 1-2 a month if that many.

    • Olathe Mom says:

      I think you are wise to know your own limits.

      I also think it is worth noting that Amy Dacyzyn, author of The Complete Tightwad Gazette, regularly beat coupon moms in shopping contests simply by cooking simply/from scratch, having flexible meal ingredients, bulk shopping, avoiding restaurants, and staying out of stores. 🙂

      • @Olathe Mom, Yeah, we spend about $75 a week ($100 on bad sick weeks) for 6 people so I don’t think that’s too bad. 🙂

      • Tammy says:

        @Olathe Mom, Interesting that you bring up Amy Dacyzyn and coupons.I know that what she did on many things and coupons is a good example of what is now out dated.Just look at the deals that Crystal blogs about and those didn’t exist in the 70’s-80s.Times have
        changed.

        Good for you Tawra on knowing your limits.Your blog does show many ways on how to get out of debt.

        Back when Amy was writing remember there no internet coupons,very few store coupons-no catalina deals and I do beli

  • Lea Stormhammer says:

    As with so many other things, couponing is a choice. It’s a choice to make the most of your money and give generously. For some people it’s a choice to waste both time and money, but I believe those people haven’t learned how to use coupons the ‘right’ way. Since we buy mostly produce, I don’t use a ton of coupons – mostly the ones I use are for toiletries, yogurt and cereal. And it’s saved me a ton!

    Additionally, I spent a total of 1 – 1 1/2 hours per week shopping – all errands at 2 grocery stores, Target and Walgreens, with an occasional stop at Kohl’s or JoAnn Fabrics thrown in as well. No way I could have done that before couponning and meal planning!

    Thanks Crystal for teaching me how to coupon the ‘right’ way! It’s made a big difference! (And I think you should write that author a note and ask her to check out your web site – she might just be surprised!)

    Lea

    • Aimee says:

      @Lea Stormhammer, Completely agree with everything you wrote. We also eat mostly fresh foods so I don’t buy a lot of the boxed items that so many of the coupons are for. We use them for toiletries, medicine, and cleaning supplies.

  • Molly says:

    I thought the author was very misguided and that her arguments against coupons were pretty stupid to be perfectly honest. #7 is the one that I thought was the stupidest. Maybe she would have made a better point if she had not used ice cream as the example. Yes, it does get hard to pay $4 for ice cream when you know you can get it for $2.50… but here is the ting… ice cream is not a necessity… you don’t HAVE to have it at $4… you don’t have to have it at all… you can wait for the coupon or for the sale… it’s ice cream… its not water or air. Also the whole argument about coupon clipping taking up a lot of time (#2)… Apparently she has never actually done it… I don’t think I spend more than 10 minutes a week clipping coupons. If we followed her “logic” through then we would never be cooking from scratch because that takes too long, we would be driving through fast food joints because that is much quicker.

    She might as well have added a #9 You’ll have to carry something else in your purse or a #10 you’ll look silly… I say if you’re going to be ridiculous go all the way.

    • DEIRDRE says:

      @Molly,

      Molly, I love your response and agree 100%.

    • Andrea Q says:

      @Molly, Is it really necessary to call her arguments stupid and ridiculous?

      • Molly says:

        @Andrea Q,

        Necessary? probably not, however since Stupid is defined as, ”

        1.
        lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.
        2.
        characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid question.
        3.
        tediously dull, esp. due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless: a stupid party.
        4.
        annoying or irritating; troublesome: Turn off that stupid radio.
        5.
        in a state of stupor; stupefied: stupid from fatigue. ”

        I think that it is appropriate. I also happen to feel that her “reasons” are ridiculous. You don;t have to agree with me, but it is the way I feel 🙂

  • It amazes me that Yahoo published that article!
    The points seem very weak and unresearched.

  • I can’t imagine NOT using coupons! LOL! Great rebuttal, Crystal!

  • She has no idea what she is talking about. I picked up couponing, and grant it is time consuming for me because I’m a planner, but it is worth investing my time in since I have saving well over $200 a month and sometimes more, plus I am getting free stuff that I would’ve never tried before, and I am buying name brand products (instead of store brand, which I don’t care either way), but I’m paying less for the name brand product than I would if I bought it the same store brand product for full retail or even on sale retail.

    I agree with Care S. — Saving money is hard work!!! I would rather work hard to save my money than to throw it away frivolously and be forced to make more sacrifices because I’m never saving my money on any of my purchases 🙂

  • With the change in our family’s diet towards local and organic/organically-grown, I don’t use coupons on the level I once did when I the double/triple coupon queen! I will still use coupons for non-food items if I have them and come upon a deal for something we need (like diapers, paper products, razors). Scaling back couponing has resulted in me finding other ways to save – cooking from scratch with simple whole ingredients, meal planning, buying in-season, growing my own, visiting u-pick farms, cooking more meatless meals to help counter the cost of grass-fed and pastured meats, etc. And my grocery budget is not much more now than when I was couponing.

    Mary Ellen

    • AJ says:

      We are having a similar experience. Cooking from scratch is so much better for our family, but the price of some of the ingredients, especially meat, is high. We do similar thing to try to counter that. And I remind myself that feeding my family this way is a choice I made knowing it would cost more. Thanks for the ideas and for a different perspective!

    • Kristy says:

      @The Working Home Keeper,
      I completely agree! We, too, have made the switch from couponing to eating local and fresh as much as possible. The few extra dollars I am spending each month in groceries is totally worth it to me know that my family is eating healthier, as well as supporting local farmers. I rarely use coupons anymore, except for things like shampoo, razors, etc. Its been amazing to me that I can still feed my family on approximately the same grocery budget I had when I was couponing and yet still manage to buy local and organic! There was a learning curve at first, but once you learn the new mindset…what an amazing revelation!

      • Julia says:

        I too try to cook from scratch most of the time and with all or mostly organic/local ingredients. We are very blessed to have great grocery stores in our area that supply us with local and organic produce (Central Market and Whole Foods), as well as several farmers markets. Along with MSM, I also follow another blog which helps so much with finding organic deals:
        http://organicdeals.blogspot.com/
        If you don’t follow it yet, hope it helps you all as much as it’s helped me!!!

  • This article got me really steamed as well, so I posted a rebuttal on my couponing blog on Monday. The saddest thing is that there are many people who read that article, with no one able to comment and actually CORRECT the misinformation- and this is supposed to be a financial article? I can’t believe that they are trying to talk people OUT of one of the best ways to save money for your family! Most of her points were outrageously incorrect- or just plain ridiculous.

  • Laura says:

    I have been using coupons for about 6 months now and I’m spending less and getting more for my money since I’ve started. Sure there are a lot of coupons that I don’t use but between 2 or 3 friends I can find those coupons a good home. It might take a little longer to shop in the beginning but it’s well worth it.

  • Lake says:

    I have been couponing for a year now and I am still working on getting more efficient in my use of them, but I have saved so much money this way. I used to spend way more on groceries and never had such full pantries and cabinets as I do now. I also feel I am more able to give generously and serve others when situations arise. The pros outweigh the cons in my opinion.

  • Cherie says:

    I use coupons to save our family tons of money, more so on baby and health and beauty items than groceries. I agree with all of the rebuttals except item #1. There is nothing wrong with buying (and reading) the paper. I don’t have time to read the paper every day right now, but I subscribe to our local paper for Wednesdays (grocery ads) and Sundays (coupons) for about $1.50 per week. And our local Dollar Tree has Sunday papers for $1.00 so I can get more copies if the coupons are really good.

    Not only do I save way more than that $1.50 per week by using coupons, but I think it’s so important to read your local paper to stay informed of what’s going on globally and in your community. I was raised in a home where I saw my parents reading the paper on a daily basis (and watching the evening news) and I want the same for my son. Reading the paper is an important part of caring about and being actively involved in what’s going on both in your local community and the world as a whole.

    • Crystal says:

      I hope it didn’t come off as if I were saying you shouldn’t buy the newspaper! You can totally do that if it works for you. I was just refuting the argument that you can only use coupons if you buy the paper.

    • Heather says:

      @Cherie, I agree! Getting news off the Internet (which I do also) is just not the same for me. We get the local paper because it is essential for staying on top of local politics.

  • Christine says:

    The other thing about couponing is that it’s made me more mindful of my spending over all. Since I started couponing I probably spend about a 1000.00 less each month. Granted, it’s obviously not just with coupons. My mind boggles now at the thought of how much “stuff” I used to buy. I don’t anymore and I’m much happier for it!

    • Molly says:

      @Christine, WOW! $1000 a month in savings??? That is impressive!

    • Alyssa says:

      @Christine,
      I totally agree with you! I’m blown away now looking back at how much ‘stuff’ I used to buy that I didn’t need! I grew up with a mother that loves to shop and spend extravagantly and spoiled me by taking me shopping multiple times a week for clothes, shoes, makeup- whatever! I would buy tons of clearance clothes and such too growing up just because they were on sale (learned this from my mother too- she’s a clearance queen!)- and never wore them. Now that i’ve moved out I realize how much money I wasted on stuff that I didn’t even need, and now I have boxes and boxes of stuff that I don’t know what to do with (and i’m a bit of a hoarder- so I have a hard time getting rid of things- but that’s another story!). Living simply is much more fulfilling for me now. Now that I live on my own I still get that urge to go out and ‘shop’, so going coupon shopping and playing the ‘drugstore game’ have been a great way to go ‘shopping’ but still save money, buy stuff I need, and get out of the house!

  • AJ says:

    I do partially agree with her on the point about coupons being for things you shouldn’t really eat. There are occasionally coupons for truly healthy items, but they are few and far between. Our family has made the personal choice to break our reliance on processed foods. I’d say about 90% of food coupons are for processed foods, so that cuts my clipping time by quite a bit. We also like to use more natural products for personal hygiene and household cleaning. We mostly use vinegar and baking soda to clean our house. Thankfully both are usually cheaper than the chemicals with a coupon. Also there aren’t many coupons for natural/organic products for the body.

    This doesn’t work for every family, but these choices lead me to agree a bit more with her on this point. Perhaps she has this same perspective as well. A coupon for .50 off cookies doesn’t do me much good. It is more of a temptation than anything else. One I’m able to withstand, but it’s frustrating nonetheless. Where are the coupns for farm fresh eggs, grass-fed meat and local produce? 😉 Maybe some day.

    • Rebekah says:

      @AJ,

      Agree. 🙂 The healthy food coupons are definitely the minority. And that excellent Del Monte pineapple coupon we had recently?? Yeah… my Wal-mart stocks Doles. Argh!

    • Ginger says:

      @AJ,

      I can certainly see your point, although I had to take issue w/the article for the average American family. We also eat only grass fed beef, local chicken, local milk and eggs etc. However, I do use my couponing to “buy” health and beauty products, cleaning supplies (I don’t use all natural cleaners), paper products (don’t know anyone who makes their own toilet paper!) etc. I also am able to use my stockpile to benefit those less fortunate, whether in the form of organzied charities or just making baskets for people I know personally who are going through a rough patch. Couponing allows me to be much more generous than I have the actual cash funds to be w/our giving. It also frees up those dollars I spend on more healthy food choices for our family.

  • I stumbled this. I mean what was that lady thinking!

  • Windy says:

    I rarely comment, but subscribe and read MSM daily. And this blog was great! You’re so awesome Crystal Paine!! 🙂

  • ann says:

    In my world, Every Coupon is an Opportunity! Its up to us to make use of that opportunity wisely. Strike the right balance between Time and Effort and that will save a pile of money for the rainy day.
    I was amazed at how unresearched the Yahoo article was.. Coupons are money! You give a few pieces of paper at checkout and get a deep discount for the products you need…What can be better than that?
    Yahoo was probably running short of articles to publish… lol

    • Pamela says:

      @ann, you bring up a good point. I am a manager at one of the drugstores we all coupon at and at the end of the day, if I’m missing coupons that should be at the register, then I’m missing “money”. I also know of several people who have been fired for stealing catalina coupons that customers didn’t want. The stores consider coupons to be money–we should too!

  • Joy says:

    I love using coupons as it saves us around $10 a week , especially when using coupons at stores that match coupons up to $1, I usually save 25-40% off of our groceries from using coupons on sale products and buying items that match coupons. Even though with using ink for printing Internet coupons or purchasing a newspaper the coupon amount that you save is usually higher than you spend ultimately saving you money. I love using the Sunday Coupon Preview website before purchasing a newspaper to see if it is valuable to buy a newspaper, most of the time it is because I pay $1.50 and end up saving up to $5 or more.

  • Carrie says:

    i save time clipping coupons by clipping selectively. if it’s a coupon for something i don’t like or would never by i just skip on past it.

    i’m very fortunate that the San Jose Mercury News is only about $0.80 a week for a Sunday only subscription which means i have to use a minimum of only 1 or 2 coupons out of it for it to be worthwhile to pay for the subscription.

  • Rebecca P says:

    Honestly, I think her arguments are weak. With all of them I thought “but you will save money!!” I think it really comes down to excuse making for putting in the time and effort to saving cash and not living like everyone else.

  • Unfortunately I do know a few people who prove some of these ridiculous points right, but it’s sure not me…LOL I haven’t bought a newspaper in so many years I can’t even remember. In fact, most of my coupons don’t even come from the newspaper. I could take on each argument as well, but you’ve done a marvelous job of that~I love your rebuttals! 🙂

    • Reba says:

      @Lora @ my blessed life, I buy the paper and print coupons. However, I think that if I printed the majority of my coupons – rather than buy the paper – It would cost me more than buying the paper! Ink cartridges are expensive! (paper I get cheap via sales, rebates etc.) And now with so many stores wanting coupons in color – it’s that much more expensive. I’d rather buy the paper for $1.00 – $1.50 and clip the coupons than spend $26 a month on ink! I only print those that I will use that have not come in the paper. – besides you have the paper than to READ also! 🙂

      • @Reba~
        Very good point! The only ones I print online are the ones that are only available there. To be honest, I don’t use just tons of coupons b/c I mostly buy store brands. That is the main reason that buying a newspaper would not be cost effective for me. I do like it when my mom passes the coupon sections on to me though:)

  • Olathe Mom says:

    Whoa, get the tomatoes ready. I am prepared to be the lone wolf here. 🙂

    I don’t necessarily agree with the article, nor am I a rabid coupon shopper. 🙂

    I’m going to try to gently suggest something that may be very controversial. It is couponing IN ADDITION TO many other wise, money-saving ideas that actually saves families money. The biggest money saving idea? Stop shopping. With coupons, or otherwise.

    I think there is a trend, when women discover coupons, to disguise spending LESS money as “saving” money. Also, I always feel a bit disappointed when I introduce a friend to a great site like Money Saving Mom, only to find her spending Saturdays running from store to store to stock up on thousands of “deals.” Here’s the jist: a deal is a deal, but only when someone is already shopping with cash, within budget, and with plans to employ other strategies (i.e. cooking at home.)

    I definitely consider myself a “sane coupon user.” I use a few coupons on my planned, regular shopping trip to about 2 stores. That takes me about 1 1/2 hours every week in shopping time, and about 10 minutes a week in couponing time. I think my savings is somewhere in the $20 a week category.

    Our sweet family is on Step 5 of Dave Ramsey’s plan, mostly due to the fact that we have stopped spending money altogether– with coupons or without. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      No tomatoes; I fully agree and don’t think you’re being controversial at all. 🙂

      In my view, couponing is only one part of many parts to having a better grocery budget. (Which is why my series on 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget isn’t just all about couponing and why it’s not the first point I make in that series. https://moneysavingmom.com/31-days-to-a-better-budget-series And by the way, one of my last posts in that series is going to be on not shopping — one of the most effective ways to save money!)

      But I think the points made in the article were really off-base when it comes to excuses for not using coupons, so that’s why it bothered me.

      • Olathe Mom says:

        Crystal,

        Yes, and as a longtime reader I applaud you for frequent admissions that you are not a “deal chaser.” I think I recall one post where you admitted to only using a handful of the deals posted here.

        I’m always pointing folks in your direction when they ask how we have managed to save cash for our van, live on a budget, etc. (Dave Ramsey, Tightwad Gazette, and MSM are my three “list toppers!”)

        However, I suppose I’m always hoping they catch the spirit of your blog (spending little, saving lots, giving lots, living counter-culturally) rather than spending all day Saturday buying massive quantities of body wash with coupons, paying with a credit card! Ha!

        As an aside, if Amy Dacyzyn weren’t retired, I might pay a small sum to see the two of you go head-to-head with shopping carts and $40 cash. 😉

    • Allison says:

      @Olathe Mom, You are totally right…coupons should not be a disguise for spending more. And while not shopping can save a lot of money, we all have to eat, and most of us don’t have gardens, wheat fields, and milk cows at home. =) I found MSM a year ago, when my family’s grocery budget consisted of WIC and $329 on food stamps. It was all gone every month, usually forcing me to spend cash we couldn’t afford. The first month I got organized, not only was there money left on my card ($.25!), there was still meat in the freezer and the beginnings of a beautiful stockpile in my pantry. I still have to be careful with cash items, but now I don’t have to worry about how I will afford laundry soap, because I have a dozen free bottles in the closet. For me, coupons are not an excuse to spend more, they have merely been a means of provision.

    • Laura says:

      I don’t see how this is controversial. I think Crystal would agree with what you said about how many women “disguise spending LESS money as ‘saving’ money,” and she would definitely discourage against that. Also, I don’t think she spends Saturdays running from store to store all the time. Sure, she may do that from time to time, but it doesn’t seem that she spends the majority of her weekends trying to find deals. And, since I have followed her blog for quite some time, I would have to say that what you have stated is not anything Crystal would argue with. As she has said, couponing is ONE of the many ways to save money on your grocery bill.

  • Leighanne Johnson says:

    I agree with this post completely. Since I am a stay at home mom, it’s sort of my way of “making money” – by couponing. I have made mistakes, and I’m not perfect at it, but we have gotten so many things for free or ridiculously cheap, that it’s almost offensive telling us that coupons are a waste of time. Besides, with great websites like yours, it cuts the time in fractions by having all the information in one place. 😉

    • Angela says:

      @Leighanne Johnson, I think of couponing the same way as you, Leighanne. Couponing is one of my own personal duties as a wife and mom. Of course, it’s not for everyone, but his is how I can contribute to the family pot. It is work, but worth it! I tell my husband that if our “ship suddenly came it,” (not likely since he is a pastor!) I think I would still coupon…it’s work that is very satisfying.

    • Allison says:

      @Leighanne Johnson, Exactly. As a SAHM I have the time, but I don’t have the money!

  • Jessica says:

    I like that part about buying a newspaper. So is buying a paper bad because we are not sitting at our computers reading articles like this? We buy one paper a week, I take the coupons and my husband reads the paper, then I recyle the paper (plus it’s always nice to have on hand for arts and craft projects.) But I save enough in one week from couponing to pay for the 4 newspapers we buy a month. She should have done more research before writing this article.

    • Reba says:

      @Jessica, I agree with buying the paper – if I printed all my coupons I would be paying WAY more in ink costs! Even spending $12 on papers a month is less than half what it would cost me to print the same coupons from my home comoputer! And we actually read the paper – and I save some for painting and gluing projects – makes clean up so much faster!

  • Gloria says:

    Your rebuttal was excellent. That article and the author was completely ridiculous. Obviously, she didn’t do any research and just pulled those reasons right out of her ____. 🙂 I do buy the paper, but only on Sundays and at the Dollar Tree for $1 instead of the newsstand price of $1.75. The time I do spend collecting coupons, shopping, and planning is well worth it. I have saved so much and can stretch my single mom budget so much further. I can actually make it from paycheck to paycheck now instead of scrambling 2 weeks out of the month for grocery money. My cupboards have never been as full as they are either. Of course there are the same coupons offered all the time…have they really invented some new kind of foods? Not really, we pretty much eat the same things all the time, so it makes sense to have the same ones. Duh!! I could go on and on…

  • Sheila says:

    Wow. That article was laughable. Seems to come from the point of view of someone who has never tried couponing and wants to make excuses not to, and very weak ones at that. I have cut our grocery budget in half and get easily two- to four-times the product to feed my family of 6 through couponing. Sure it takes time and planning but how else could I gain $400 a month for my family all without leaving the house? Those results speak for themselves if you ask me.

  • Penny says:

    I am going to have to go ahead and encourage folks to subscribe to their local Sunday paper.

    If everyone goes dumpster diving for “free” coupon inserts, it hurts EVERYONE’s chances of even getting a newspaper in the future. Newspapers are struggling against the internet—-support them in their efforts to stay viable!

    There’s a diff between being frugal or cost-conscious and being a cheapskate (hint: one lifestyle choice does far more harm than good)

    • Crystal says:

      I guess you’re saying I’m a cheapskate. 😉

      I get coupons from plenty of other sources than a dumpster — the internet, free product samples and more.

      And I have nothing wrong with subscribing to your local newspaper. That works for many people. I’m just encouraging people to realize you don’t HAVE to subscribe to your local paper to get coupons. 🙂

      • Bonnie says:

        @Crystal, I’m all about the dumpster diving. Why should I pay for a paper, whose views I totally disagree with, when their are 50-100 sitting on the top of the recycle bin every Tuesday waiting for me to come and sort through. Maybe if most newspapers weren’t liberal garbage more consumers would buy them . . .to read. Last time I checked a newspaper wasn’t meant to be bought for the coupons, but was instead intended to be read. The advertisements ie coupons were an add on.

  • Sommer Emery says:

    Too bad the article doesn’t allow you to leave comments!

  • Diana says:

    She says, “Plus, if you have a monthly grocery budget that you stick to no matter what, coupons will only get you more food or different food – they won’t truly save you any money.” If you get more food for the same amount of money, isn’t that a good thing? It’s in your budget, why not stretch the dollars?

    Also, I do agree that many coupons are for boxed, processed foods that I don’t want to feed my family. So I don’t use those coupons. No temptation.

    Thanks for the great rebuttal! 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      @Diana, I agree Diane. Personally, my grocery budget has not lowered since starting coupons, but I am able to buy more food and often times better food. We are able to regularly donate to the church food pantry. We don’t eat beans and rice *all the time* anymore, and the growing children are not yet forcing me to raise the grocery budget. Coupons have been a huge help in my household.

  • ashley steele says:

    I disagree with the yahoo blog! Im pretty new to coupoing but from the blessings i have recieved from couponing i cant believe i just learned how to coupon! I do believe that it can take a little time but its benifical to my wallet! Im completely with money saving mom!!!! I love my coupons and I hope this blog will help people use atleast one coupon per transaction when shopping or grocery shopping!

  • RaeAnn says:

    I think how you respond to the article will be determined by your personal situation/circumstances. If you seek to buy more local and avoid processed foods, be it due to personal choice or food allergies within the family, coupons are ALMOST worthless. You just have to look harder to find ones for produce or organic/all-natural products. The hunt is (sometimes) worth it. I prefer to cook from scratch and beat a lot of the deals I see posted on blogs all the way around! It’s a game for me. Since doing so we also have avoided dr. offices for anything but well-care visits for the last two years. Especially important given that my husband has been out of work during that same time period. Best part is that I still haven’t had to go to work and continue to parent my children from home!

    • Crystal says:

      Cooking from scratch is an excellent way to save a lot of money — and one I highly encourage.

      However, I believe that even if you make everything from scratch when it comes to food, coupons still aren’t entirely worthless. Unless you use reusable toilet paper and don’t brush your teeth. 😉

    • Jennifer says:

      @RaeAnn,

      I just had to comment here, because I also strive to cook from scratch with local, organic produce as much as possible and I used to feel the same way. Yes, finding coupons for the healthier stuff is more of a challenge, but I have found them. Really, once I figured out that the greatest part of my “grocery” budget every week wasn’t food but toiletries, couponing became a no-brainer!! I can’t believe what I used to pay for toilet paper. Never again!

    • Amanda says:

      @RaeAnn, If you do not use many coupons for grocery, consider being a “part time” couponer. Use printable coupons for organic items and for toiletries. It takes less time than more intensive couponing, but is usually a good return on your time investment.

  • Jennifer says:

    I tell my friends who want to know about couponing that it’s a matter of time vs. money. If you have tons of money and don’t need to worry about saving or paying off debt without much time than couponing might not be for you.

    However most people I know need to save money. There is some time that goes into couponing but once you get used to it it goes pretty fast and the money saved is worth it. I think people who just walk into a store with no plan are going to also waste time. When they get home they might not have ingredients for meals for example.

    Also I don’t know many people who don’t waste time somewhere. If you can spend 15mins a day on couponing that you would have spent on your favorite time-wasting website you have the time to coupon and save your family a ton of money.

  • Rebecca R. says:

    I just think it’s kinda funny. I wonder what the writer of this article spends on her grocery bill.
    more coupons for us! ; D

  • blue-eyes says:

    That author is an idiot. Enough said.

  • Julie M says:

    As for the agument that clipping coupons takes time…. apparently the author isn’t a multi-tasker (a skill most Moms I know have mastered). I clip coupons in the evening when the kids are in bed and I am watching my favorite show. It makes me feel not quite so guilty for being parked in front of the tv 🙂

  • Kassi says:

    I agree with her on the fact that coupons can tempt you to spend money on things you wouldn’t usually. However, with time and experience I have learned that if it isn’t something I am going to buy already then I don’t clip the coupon. I look for coupons on items that I use regularly. However, if I can get it for free and give it away or would use it at some point then I get it no matter what.–it’s free.

  • Carisa says:

    There is not one reason for not using coupons! I used to have the idea that people were saving money with coupons by buying things they did not need. Around March we gave couponing a try. We love it. Not only does our family save money and get a few free things BUT we get lots of totally FREE things that we are able to give away. Someone told me, “What you do is really a ministry.” Reflecting on that statement I find that it really is. Using coupons- both from newspapers and printable ones we are able to get totally FREE things to use for:
    ~Our Widows Ministry at our church- 31 widows. 15-20 ladies attend the monthly meeting in our home. At our June and July meetings they have each been able to take home 2 free things. Previous to that we had drawings for 6 or 8 names and they chose one item.
    ~ Master Clubs- our Wednesday night kids program at church- for our Christmas and end of year Goody Bags, for prizes and for using for object lessons (flashlights and Ivory soap- each child will get one to take home as a reminder of the lesson).
    ~ Our church’s annual ladies seminar- coupons for a freebie were put in random “Goody Bags”. The ladies then redeemed the coupon for their choice of a freebie.
    ~ This month we were able to send a good sized box of toiletries to BATA- Baptist Ambassadors to America in West Virginia for their distribution program.
    ~ Toothpaste and Dental Floss donated to Jubilee Bags- really nice goody bags with toiletries, journals, candles, etc. given to Pastor and Evangelist wives who attend our July Jubilee at our church.
    ~ We give to people that we know can use the freebies.
    ~ If we get enough excess free stuff we will donate to our church’s food pantry. So far we have had plenty of outlets for our freebies.
    Our family taking the time to use coupons allows us to bless others with our FREEBIES. We love couponing and are grateful to those who save coupons for us so that we can be a blessing to others. Our extra coupons are passed on in a ziplock bag- they circulate around church passed from couponer to couponer. After a bag has made the rounds at church we pass them to two ladies who work at CVS.

  • Courtney says:

    Oh no, I now realize that I, too, am enslaved by coupons! 🙂

    I’ve seen a few silly articles along these same lines, but this one takes the cake!

  • susan says:

    Google the author and you will find that she is a coupon user. She is a freelance writer so it seems she can argue any side of a subject.

  • susan says:

    MSM. You wrote a good rebuttal. You might be able to get paid by Yahoo Finance if you send them your rebuttal. Just a thought. Or even if you don’t care about being paid, you could send your rebuttal and maybe they will print it as a rebuttal.

  • Jenny says:

    Wow, that article was just plain silly! With all the blogs and message boards out there now dedicated to coupons/deals/saving money its ridiculously easy to use coupons effectively. Plus (I’m sure you’ll all agree with me) its fun!!!

  • maggie says:

    ARGUMENT NUMBER 9:
    I don’t really know how to use coupons, so I’m just writing the article to vent.

    I’m a journalist and that is the most bias 8th grade paper I have ever seen.

  • jennsquared says:

    Crystal, I cannot begin to even wrap my head around the idea of NOT using coupon! Like you said, who pays $4 for ice cream anyways?

    I admit, I’m not as religious as you. I admire you and quite a few others that you are able to plan so well. I work a full time job, a part time job and have a less than one year old, so I’m struggling a bit, but I still try to bring my coupons with me. Just last week, I wasn’t able to bring my coupons, but I saved 120 dollars just by buying things that are on sale and taking advantage of the super coupon from the grocery store! I got Italian Sausage for 99 cents a pound, which is super good in my area (CT – it is usually 3 or 4 dollars a pound!!!) But I can just imagine to save more if I have been clipping coupons!!!!

    Thank you for all your inspirations and ideas!!!

  • Alison says:

    I’m only 23, but when I was younger I thought coupons were a waste of time. It wasn’t until my best friend was telling me how much she was saving that I was like what?!? “Why am I not doing this?” I buy my newspaper, use your sight as a great guide and help, and take 30 mins to cut out and organize my coupons. I have cut my grocery bills in half and get a lot of things I wouldnt usually buy for a lot cheaper because I am willing to spend the discounted price on the items instead of the sometimes insane regular prices. My husband is amazed with how much I save with coupons. Before I used coupons and made grocery lists, we could never get things like ice cream and cookies or yummy extras because it was already way expensive with the stuff we needed. Now I dont have to think twice about buying yummy things because I manage to make dinner for $2-$5 a night for the two of us plus I always have leftovers for lunch. The lady who wrote that article must be crazy or impatient 🙂

    • Kate says:

      @Alison, I’m with you. I’m 22 and a college student. I make dinners for me and my boyfriend for about $2-$5 for the both of us as well.

      I recently received a full ride to my Masters program and a VERY generous stipend… doesn’t change my desire to keep couponing!
      I’d rather save the money on food and toiletries and take vacations and buy electronics.

      Since I started playing the Drug Store Game (I discovered from THIS blog) – I get all my NAME BRAND toiletries for PENNIES. I just keep rolling ECBs and +UP rewards and use coupons.

      • Alyssa says:

        @Kate,

        I’m right there with you! I’m 19- and am getting ready to go move to NYC this fall to start college. I’ve been ‘seriously’ couponing since March and playing the drugstore game and have created a stockpile of toiletries, household items, and non-perishables that will last me atleast one year, that way I won’t have to worry about running around for deals when I should be working on school work. Then next summer, I plan on hitting the coupons hard again! I’m taking a 2-month supply of goods up with me (my 1bd apt. in Brooklyn is tiny!), and keeping the rest at my parents house so I can pick up what I need when I come home. Thankfully, a good chunk of my tuition was paid for through the military, and I was given a nice housing stipend, so the money I save can be spent on really experiencing the city and all the costs that come along with it!

        • Margaret says:

          @Alyssa,
          Wow, it’s kinda cool to see girls my age commenting, I’m 22 and I always feel like such an old lady when i go in with my stack of COUPS. But if I can get stuff for cheaper or free that I need anyway then why not?, plus I also roll my ECB’s to buy Bumble&Bumble at CVS, and even places like Lord and Taylor they always have coupons online you can print. It’s kinda of silly but if you can get things for a lot cheaper or free it leaves more money for the fun things like you said.. vacations, shopping, etc.

  • Autumn says:

    Nice rebuttals Crystal! Coupons have saved me a nice chunk of money so I have to disagree with her article. I do admit I have slowed down a bit because when I first started strategic couponing I would get so excited by all the deals (not just the FREE & super cheap ones) that I had a stockpile a little too massive for a household of only 2 adults. I quickly started donating to the women’s shelter or even helping families I would read about in our local paper that were either out of work or just needed a small hand up. Even after donating I have not had to purchase a laundry list of items and probably won’t for another 2 years. Toothpaste, razors, shampoo, body wash and cleaning supplies to mention just a few. Yes, I went a little overboard in the beginning but learned from it and now pace myself. I know I saved a lot of money and it’s fantastic knowing each time we run out of something I don’t have to use my grocery budget money or pay full price if I can’t quickly find the needed q’s. With so many people struggling I too think it’s sad that they could now be discouraged from even attempting coupons after reading her article.

  • Jennifer says:

    I disagree with the majority of her points, however, #5 is the reason that I rarely use coupons. I try to buy locally and cook from scratch as much as possible, so the majority of coupons are for products I wouldn’t buy anyway. However, if I find coupons for butter, produce, meat, etc., I always use those because every little bit helps.

    I am not saying this to contradict any of your points. I think you make great rebuttals, and I agree with you. I am only saying this to offer another point of view. Like you have said before, you have to make couponing work for you and your family.

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