Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Frugal Challenge and Why I Stopped Couponing



Well, I still use an occasional coupon like when we went to breakfast the other day and one on a shampoo I wanted to buy at Target but in total I have stopped the weekly coupon clipping and running around to grab deals or in the present tense "non-deals." At first I wondered if it was me. Was I missing the deals and where had they gone but then I realized that they HAD gone and to confirm this I read a great post by one of my favorite bloggers, Precious at Frugal Makes Cents. She explained perfectly, exactly what I was experiencing. Coupons were weak and sparse now. Instead of a $1 off they were .50 cents off. It hit me hard one day when I spent an hour and a half listing the deals and then clipping all the coupons and by the time I went to the stores for the deals I was after, I was only able to find a third of them and saved less than $4. That is not worth it. I was for the most part done at this point. Our Sunday paper was costing me $12 a month and I was lucky if I was saving half that these days.

Now, I still do some of the deals at CVS and my inlaws give me their inserts so I have some coupons for the occasional deal but unless things improve I will no longer be couponing in earnest. I have been shopping more at Sam's club and picking up store sales and I religiously make my run to George's for my produce, bulk purchases and day old bread. I miss it some though. The walking out the store with a couple bags of goodies and knowing I paid so little. Will the coupons come back? I am not sure. But looking ahead I will continue to search for ways to save and still watch my favorite sites for deals I think are worth it but sadly my love of clipping coupons is no longer there. Let me know if you have experienced this same realization and if not how are you still saving by clipping all those coupons.

Linking to:
Raising Homemakers

17 comments:

Olive Cooper said...

I coupon a bit but agree they are not very good any more. It does take time and is not worth the time for me.

Ursula said...

I agree, the coupons and deals combinations have become rare. I also have been/doing the coupons deals when possible but was not running after. Some of the items are never on my list(none of us eat or use). Not to mention that I don't live in an area with 3 Targets, more than 5 Walmarts and or all the other stores, so it would cost me more than the deals saved me...but that doesn't mean whenout and about I would make the most of it. And yes I buy lots of bulk and make from scratch, just not for saving but also for the love of cooking and baking...
thanks for sharing

Beth said...

as a kid ... my mom really did have a big old hand full of coupons each time we went to the grocery store ... but i only use a few here & there. it seems that the clerk always gets angry or frustrated about any one i have. i do read each coupon so i know what they are for ... so i have really got fight to get the deal. it's nuts. i begin to wonder how these people who say they do use coupons can do it so easily ... or so they say. i'm always looking for ways to save money. watch my pennies. but still don't fully believe the whole coupon process. (:

Redo 101 said...

It does not seem to be worth putting any time into for us ... I clip the coupons (only on things we regularly buy) that come in the free Thursday thingie (not sure where that thing comes from but it always lands in my driveway:) and use those to shop always at Walmart. I can't cope with the miles of walking on concrete in the member stores. I think the economy has hit everyone, including couponers and stores ... everyone is trying to cut expenses.

Mary

Brooke said...

I think we can thank reality tv (which is so far from real) for most of the lost value in coupons. I only clip for items I use, which anymore is rare because I use so many store brand, or generic items. The coupons I use the most are from Kroger as they send me coupons on things I regularly buy. I should probably express my appreciation to them for that, because I would certainly miss those coupons.

deb said...

I agree....even the CVS deals are not as juicy as they used to be....I think in Cali we dont get as great a deals as they get in the mid west....I have not couponed in a while either but I will scan all the inserts for deals for stocking stuffers....hope to find some good ones!

Kris said...

Well, this is interesting to me Elaine. I have always clipped coupons. We have always lived on one income, and as it became more and more a two income world, I was more and more frugal with my shopping. But, as you say, the coupons are stinko these days. I still clip. I even tried my hand at the Walgreens and CVS thing, and did same money. But really, now many razors and body washes do I need? So...for me, I find that using the fresh & easy coupons are the best deal for me and my family. I do clip if I see a good one, but I don't spend the time I once invested into it. It isn't worth it. I wonder if the extreme couponers have found this to be true as well?
I am going to go read your friend's article now.
Kris

Cindy said...

I can't say I blame you!
I have never clipped coupons, but I do shop at the one store that has proven again and again that they do have the lowest prices.
Hugs, Cindy

Linda said...

I don't clip coupons at all. They never have coupons for the things that we use (soy milk, produce and store brands). I watch the sale flyers for seasonal sales and stock up then.

Dina said...

I agree that the coupons are not so great anymore. It's sad, but at least I do know how to maximize their use and keep a nice stockpile in my pantry. Fortunately, I do the bulk of my cooking from scratch and never buy sodas.

Amanda McCusker said...

I am glad I'm not alone in feeling this coupon slump. I had been couponing regularly for over a year and enjoyed getting groceries we needed and saving so much, but slowly I couldn't save anymore. I didn't change anything I was doing, but my savings were diminishing. It got to the point that I couldn't even make my meals from the "deals" anymore and I ended up spending more than I was saving. I finally realized something had to change. I was putting too much stress and pressure on myself and not finding any reward. Now I do buy mostly store brand and I don't get as much as I did, but I get what we need and what we will eat. I miss the savings, especially now that my stock pile is dwindling, but it isn't worth it for me to stress out about savings that isn't there anymore. So no, I'm not couponing anymore either. For a while I felt like I failed, but I think it is actually just the changing times.

Kerin said...

We were never ones to get into the 'coupon craze' to begin with.

After our daughter had a kidney transplant, we learned to be very careful about eating too much sugar, artificial colors, artificial preservatives..etc..etc..
We prefer to eat more natural foods, and around here...the coupons were for more sugar-laden or fatty goods.

We shop at Costco for bulk items, and try to eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies.

I will have to watch and see what the coupon trend is doing... it's pretty interesting.

Hope this is a great week for you :)

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

Okay that is what I was thinking that I just didn't know what I was doing anymore. Why had it become so hard? Then I started to notice the coupons were for half the value of before and the rebates had dried up and sales just generally very good any longer. We don't eat a lot of processed foods either so that was never something I stockpiled. But for my cleaning supplies and toiletries the deals used to be wonderful but they have dried up a lot too. I have started making my own to save money.

Shug said...

I have tried couponing, but with no luck at all....I just do not understand how these people that say they save SO MUCH or buy a buggy of groceries for hardly nothing, do it! Just hasn't worked for me..
shug

Lemon Lane Cottage said...

This is such a good post Elaine. Since we are soon to be a one income family, I was thinking I better start couponing but now I'm thinking I should just join Sam's or Costco and shop at George's more often. If you had to choose would you join Sam's or Costco?

Susan said...

I've never been one for coupons. I noticed that the coupons were usually for things I don't normally buy! Not only that it's always .50 for three items. I don't need or want to buy three just to save .50.

Carey's Farmhouse Kitchen said...

I literally drove myself nuts and my family a few months ago trying to save money and then sort of let my extreme stuff go...I just couldn't devote the time and really it wasn't paying off for me. Now I just try to combine the coupons and the deals best I can. Enough stressing!

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