21 October 2013

Why I don't coupon

While we are on track to get out of debt sooner than before, I am still looking for ways to get out even faster, saving where we can while enjoying today too. I will share how we meal plan and shop in the next few days! Today I am sharing how we don't.
Couponing is not the answer for us!
First, because of recent snarkiness/mean girl activity, I want to say that I am not bashing those that DO choose to coupon, to each their own, no hate mail necessary :) I am just sharing why it's not for our family.
The main reason I don't coupon is that most of the coupons are for food we wouldn't eat. Processed junk I wouldn't buy without a coupon. $1.25 off a bag of chips, making them $0.25 is still just $0.25 wasted. Or if it is eaten, it certainly isn't good for anyone. I'm not about to tell people how they should eat, we aren't perfect but there is no way I could feed our family on coupon available foods and feel good about it.

The other, and it's a close 2nd,  time is money! When it comes down to it, spending hours looking online, cutting and searching in the circulars it just seems like a total waste. Then adding to the additional trips to different stores. The whole point of getting out of debt is to be able to enjoy our kids, each other and our families, and not be tied to a job for the rest of our lives.

I have seen the couponing shows, and yes those people can get a lot of stuff for next to nothing. However, they are sacrificing something else, time! I recently watched one of the episode's (inspiration for this post actually) and I was so sad for this mom of 2, she worked AND spent 40-60 hours a week preparing to shop and "save" money. Plus the 5-8 hours a week she spent actually shopping. I think she got about $700 worth of groceries for under $20. Even if we skip the horrible aspect of what she actually purchased (Who NEEDS 30 jars of processed pasta sauce?!) and estimate low, at 40 hours for her prep and 5 hours for shopping. She was paid $15.50 an hour to buy her haul.
I think she had a better than average shopping experience, most of us real moms are not going to save that 97% on our trips to the market. I don't think I could be on board with being paid $15.50 an hour to not spend time with my kids AND not have time to make them real food. And that doesn't take into account what she paid for her newspaper subscriptions. We have 2 papers here, each run about $3.50 a week for the Wednesday/Sunday adds. Paying $7 a week minimum, so many of these couponers buy multiples to get multiple coupons.

It just feels so controlling, suddenly it's IN to be told where to shop, what day you have to be there, what brand you can buy, what size and how many to save $1? No, that is absolutely not for us. I have never been one to follow the norm and go with the flow just because it is easier.

Another reason is excess. Yes when it's free I am sure it can be tempting to get as many as you can find coupons for. But then what? You have to store them all! I HATE clutter and unorganized chaos. I am sure there are plenty of ways to organize a stockpile, they all take up room and MORE TIME.
When I look at what coupons are available, I KNOW I could save some money, but not on real food, not enough to make it worth the time. Even if I saved 20% on my grocery bill, it would cost me more in time. I do use the store savings cards for items I am buying anyway, and I consider an alternate brand if one is on special, won't go out of my way to do so though.

I know coupons are different everywhere, each circular is different and stores offer different deals. I have looked online, at ebay and other coupon sites. Rarely are there coupons for real food. Real cheese (not velveeta) fresh fruits or vegetables not in a can, meat that isn't processed or grains that aren't over processed. And when I do find them, they are a with purchase of something else that we wouldn't use. Or they are convenience style, like shredded cheese. I can shred my own and save more than the coupon is worth.

I will occasionally buy a stack of the same coupon on ebay. But only if I know I am going to do a mini stock up trip and use the coupons to make it worth the ebay cost. It also has to be something I would buy even if I didn't have a coupon.
Almond milk, V8 and sandwich bags are the only ones I have looked for lately, other than verifying there are still no fresh fruit or veggie coupons.

I am going to share how we DO save money on our grocery budget in the next few days!


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