Coupons, I Just Can’t Seem to Quit You

CouponsNot one week after posting about my frivolous wasteful stupid couponing shenanigans, I couldn’t resist their siren song. A great grocery store sale combined with four high-value manufacturer’s coupons netted me four boxes of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies for $2.00. If you buy lots of cereal because it’s back-to-school time and you have kids your husband is a big kid, you know that’s a screamin’ deal. But is couponing really worth it?

I’m torn. I know couponing for things we will never use (I’m looking at you, free contact solution) isn’t productive or helpful for anyone. I also know that stockpiling isn’t something productive or helpful for me.* In addition, frequent couponing expends a fairly significant amount of time and organizational gusto. So in that regard, it seems that I should skip coupons and settle for checking sale ads and shopping from lists.

But, what about the deal I outlined above? Here’s how it played out: During my routine store flyer scan, I noticed the cereal deal–buy four boxes, pay $1.49/box. After that, it took me about two minutes to log into my Kellogg’s Family Rewards account, cash in my points for four (4) $1 off coupons, and print them. I gave them a quick snip and slid them into my purse until the following morning. The next day, instead of driving past the grocery store on my way to work, I turned in, parked, grabbed the goods plus a few other items, and left in under fifteen minutes.**

On one hand, I saved $4 (plus an extra few bucks from buying the cereal on sale) with less than twenty minutes of work. On the other hand, my time is worth more than $16 an hour, isn’t it? This is where things get tricky for me. This is why I haven’t been able to walk away from couponing altogether. If I think strategic couponing consumes too much of my time, what about shopping sale ads? If I think shopping sale ads drains too many valuable minutes, what about writing out shopping lists? If I push this logic too far, I’m ready to abandon budgeting and mindful spending all together and follow my dad’s MO of picking up groceries at the local 7-Eleven.***

As of today, it seems that I can justify purposeful couponing — couponing that requires relatively little planning, clipping, sorting, and driving — because our grocery budget is so lean. Saving four bucks here and there may not seem like much, but that’s nearly 2% of our grocery budget. So maybe it is worth it. My husband seems to think so given the fact that he’s now happily pouring himself a bowl of Rice Krispies as I type.

*We don’t have a pantry for one thing.

**It pays to grocery shop at 6AM.

***$3 apple, anyone?

****Yes, we spend about $250 per month on groceries with a surprising amount of our food being organic and/or natural. And, yes, I plan on writing about that more next month. 

So Tell Me…Is couponing worth it? When it comes to time and money, where do you draw the line?

Coupons, I Just Can’t Seem to Quit You

10 thoughts on “Coupons, I Just Can’t Seem to Quit You

  1. My husband was a big couponer…because cereal. He never paid more than $1 per box and he would go through 3 boxes a week. When I started doing the shopping, I just started buying oatmeal, and he eventually got over it. It ends up being slightly cheaper than couponed cereal, and a whole lot easier. However, if your man is about the cereal, I would keep on couponing. For packaged goods, couponing is great. Especially if you don’t spend much time flipping through the ads.

  2. I’m big on finding coupons as easily as possible. I like mobile apps for that purpose. I’m not for clipping coupons or strategic couponing, as it takes a bit too much time. It’s all about what’s worth it to you, though!

    1. Target’s mobile coupons get me every time 🙂 As we’ve switched to less processed, pre-packaged foods, I’ve also started dabbling in rebate apps. Much faster.

  3. That is one heck of a bargain! Mad kudos! We still clip and check sales, but don’t devote a TON of time to it. I like how you bust out this logic. Yes, our time may be worth more, but there’s a certain amount of responsibility to living like an adult that you don’t get paid for. A healthy balance of saving, earning, and living is ideal IMHO.

    I am so freaking excited for next month’s post!!! Subscribing to make sure I don’t miss it!

  4. I do still coupon. It’s not extreme, but I can’t pass up a coupon on something we actually buy. If I ignore $1 off coupon on my dish detergent, I feel like I just threw $1 away. Someday, I hope to be able to do that without a care in the world. Right now, it ain’t happenin’! 😛

  5. I feel torn like you do when it comes to doing things that take a lot of time to save money. I recently signed up for Swagbucks (again – I had an account back in my debt paying days), and one of the surveys rewarded me with 200 Swagbucks. Exciting, right? But it took about 30 minutes, and 200 Swagbucks is only the equivalent of $2. I can’t help but feel that my time is worth way more than that. If it’s something small like using the Swagbucks browser, okay, but I’m not going to invest hours in it.

    1. I signed up for Swagbucks but never kept up with it. The only survey that I do regularly is e-rewards, since it’s tied to Southwest Rapid Rewards. It’s invite only, and I only complete the ones worth $5 and up. Usually while I’m making Mr. P drive somewhere, so it’s mostly idle time anyway 😉

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