Thursday, January 5, 2012

To Coupon or Not to Coupon...

I've had a lot of questions lately about my grocery budgeting and how I keep costs low.  I've written a previous post (see it here), which explains some of my personal tips to try and cut the grocery budget.  I'm amazed lately, though that when someone finds out my grocery budget, they automatically assume that I'm an extreme couponer.

I'd like to just set the record straight a bit on that point.  I like coupons.  I get great deals using coupons.  Coupons are great, but they don't keep my costs low.  I use coupons to get things we would normally just do without!  Every now and then, it'll help reduce my costs substantially, but I have to say, if I had no more coupons tomorrow, my budget would stay the same...or close to the same.

My meal plans are not planned around coupon deals, but around what is always cheap, or what's on sale that week.  A lot of my frugality is achieved through doing without things.  We don't buy paper towels or paper napkins.  We don't often buy chips or frozen foods.  We don't buy pricey detergents.  We aren't fixed on one particular brand for most things.  There are a lot of conveniences that are paid for at the grocery store.  As the prices keep going up and up, it's a challenge to me to find new ways to cut the costs.  What do we really need, and what is nice, but not worth the price?

I wanted to clarify this, because I've shopped for years without being able to use coupons.  I want to be an encouragement to those of you who are looking for ways to economize, but don't want to invest 20 hours of your week clipping.  There are other ways.  Women in the depression cut costs and made do on next to nothing without couponing...we can do it, too.


  1. I only use the coupons for things I actually need or want like you. I'm not going to buy something that I don't want because I'm actually not saving money. I do love that Target and our grocery store have online coupons. We don't get a paper so I don't see the ads that way. Our grocery store usually has some kind of meat at a really good deal and I will plan our menu around that when I look at the online ad. I don't have time for coupons. I would cut coupons and then have no time to buy yarn with the money I saved!:)

  2. So true. One year, I bought all kinds of pre-packaged foods that I wouldn't have bought before because I thought I would "save money". Well, fifteen pounds later, not a penny was saved. Now, couponing is used much less frequently, ony for things that I would already buy. Most of our deals also come from what is on sale, or store brands . . . I still need to work on frugality. January is a good time to rethink some spending habits.

  3. Amen Sister! That is what I look forward to the most each week: planning my meals for the next week. As soon as I get my market flier in the mail I start circling what's on sale and begin scheming recipes. I have also found that making meals from scratch rather than using prepared foods cuts a bunch on costs. My favorite feature about our market is the dented and clearance sections! I am often amazed at how God will place the exact items I need on dented or clearance that are more than half the original cost! I can usually use coupons on those items as well for an extra bonus! I can always find a few tasty pastries on reduced quick-sale for being a day old if I have a sweet craving.

  4. I love this. AND, I feel that couponing leads you to buy ... and stock up on some pretty unhealthy stuff! Coupons are mostly prepackaged, boxed, or frozen items. You keep doing what you are doing! You made some great points!

  5. I tend to use coupons for ordering pizza from Pizza Hut. I don't have hours to devote to the time it takes to coupon because I cook from scratch, home school, and am on a tight budget. I will use a coupon for JC Pennys or JoAnn's.....but I am also very careful to pass on any coupon I do not need to friends. My friends have used my JoAnn coupons more then I have. And my mom saves me her coupons, which often I pass on to my friends. You can pick up extra coupons by asking friends for their inserts if they don't use them. I am a creature of habit with my shopping. I know which brand works for my family....and too often, there is no coupon for my product. That's ok. I will still clip and pass the savings on to a friend.<3