Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Simple Savings: Use Coupons

I haven't used coupons regularly for a few years.  But, they can save you a lot of money if you choose to use them.  I went to Walmart today and got $18.38 worth of stuff for $2.86.  I would have saved more, but I bought some beef jerky with a Buy One Get One Free coupon because I was afraid that the coupons would save more than I would spend.  I was right.  Without the beef jerky, I would have "made" money on the purchase of $1.06.  But, beef jerky is good for traveling and great for 72 hour kits or camping and it was something we would use but I don't buy it often because of the cost.
(Sorry about the sideways photo.  I used a different computer and it I couldn't get it to save when I turned it.)

What I got:

Beef Jerky - 3.92 each, used BOGO free coupon
Baby Cereal  - 1.50 and used 1.00 coupon
Betty Crocker Frosting creations - 84 cents each and used 1.00 coupon for each
Baby juice pouch - 98 cents each and used 1.00 coupon for each
Thai noodles  - 68 cents each and used a 50 cent coupon for each
Fried Rice Mix - 78 cents each and used an 80 cents coupon for each
Kotex U Panty Liners  - 1.24 each and used a 2.00 coupon for each

I paid 16 percent of the cost for what I bought, but would have got everything for free if I had done the math and bought a candy bar or something else the price of the overage instead. 

So, what are the pros and cons?


You can save a lot of money.

You can donate generously to the food bank because of your skill.

You can give gift baskets with the things you get for free or for pennies on the dollar.  I would be very grateful for a gift basket regardless of what the person paid for it!

You can save money on items you don't want and use the credit towards items you do want.  This may not make sense, but when you actually "make" money using coupons, you can use the extra money to buy things you want and need.  

Great opportunity to stock up your pantry.


It takes more time to find, print and use coupons.

You have to be willing to try a variety of products  (The men in our family will NOT use any other deodorant than Old Spice.  Getting any other deodorant for free does no good since no one will use it.)

Stores don't always have the products you plan to buy.  This happened today.  I would have had more free products in the picture if they had them in stock.

You buy things you don't need or want because it is free or cheap.  For example, I bought some baby food items today.  We don't have a baby, but I could use the baby food when we have visitors, make a gift basket when someone has a baby, donate it to the food bank, or donate it to a friend who could use it.  We don't eat Hamburger Helper or many other processed foods.  If I purchase them, they won't be eaten.  I could do a lot of good sharing extra items with the food bank, but I prefer to serve in other ways.

It is usually a nightmare for me at the check stand when I purchase things with coupons. 

This post was written because of a conversation I had with my friend, Ruth.  I know I could save a lot of money if I used coupons, but frankly I would rather spend my time doing other things.  I don't want to be remembered as the person who could get a good deal.  As long as I am good in staying in my budget, I like to just buy what I need and spend my time doing other things.  But, if your budget is tight or if you want to save a lot of money and don't mind eating what is on sale, this may be a good idea for you.  If you do use coupons, buy what you need, on sale, with a coupon. 

Now I have to figure out what to do with some of the free things I got in preparation to write this post! 

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