Extreme Couponing: Is It Worth It?

- Wednesday, November 28, 2012
By Laura Andrews

Whether you are trying to climb up the corporate ladder or acting as both, a homemaker and employee, your time is precious.


You haven’t exactly made your millions yet, so you’d like to use coupons; but who has the time to snip out coupons like a kindergartener doing an art project?

Today, unless you are Oprah or a member of the Kardashian Clan, you, yourself, have to run to the store, pick up the kids from day care, workout and remember to put gas in the car before doing so.  It’s understandable to be a bit scatter-brained between pleasing your boss, spouse and kids to remember to bring coupons to the store when you can’t even remember to pick up your dry cleaning from last month. 

I’m not sure if you can pick up on this, but I speak from experience--taking my precious time trying to clip out coupons and completely forgetting to pick up my Michael Kors cashmere sweater and wool pants from the cleaners. Trust me, those coupons aren’t even going to come close to touching those designer losses, but I digress.

What my experience has taught me is that I am not a daily newspaper or online coupon clipper.  What I am is a time-constrained value gal wearing many hats who goes where the best advertised price lives within my two-mile radius. 

My husband has a cushier job with a lot of down time; consequently, he can afford to cut out coupons and has now been designated to do so.  It relaxes him, saves us money and puts a smile on my face knowing someone in the world is using those coupons out of the Sunday paper.  If it were up to me, the coupon section would be fireplace kindling.

If you find that couponing is, in fact, worth your time, a little can go a long way.

Go with what you know. 

Start with the stores you frequent and check their websites. Many retail websites will share local deals that you can take advantage of without being greatly inconvenienced.

Get creative. 

Coupons aren’t just for grocery stores and the local pharmacy. Remember that oil change you’ve been putting off?  Or that eye appointment your insurance doesn’t cover? You can find coupons to save on obscure purchases as well.

Read the find print. 

Ever hear that saying, “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is?” The phrase rings true for couponing. Make sure you check the expiration dates and read the coupon policies of the store so you’re not shocked at the register when the checkout lady tells you she can’t accept your cut outs. It might not be totally her fault, and could save you some public embarrassment of verbally ripping her an undeserved new one.

Like most things in life, couponing is a personal decision, not a right or wrong one.  If you have the time, by all means snip and coupon away.  If you don’t, just find the best advertised price nearby.  Or subscribe to rewards cards of the stores you frequent the most. In the end, it’s about making a conscious effort to spend both time and money wisely that counts.

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