Coupons…A love/hate story

I’m sure you’ve seen them. The coupon queens who profess their coupon savings with breathless abandon, urging you to do the same.  I have a friend just like this. In fact she’s managed to parlay her coupon love into a mini-career.  You go girl!  I’m not mad at her at all.

My thing is this, I’ve tried and tried and tried.  I’ve thrown myself fully into couponing with the dream of spending $20 on $200 cart of goods.  That just hasn’t happened for me.  What I end up doing instead is buying a whole bunch of stuff I don’t normally buy, while spending more money and time than I normally would, had I just gone to my usual spot, Aldi.

It just hasn’t worked for me, yet I keep trying, seduced by all the success stories I’ve heard. Take for instance, this past weekend. I headed to Meijers with my collection of coupons that were set to expire on that Saturday. I had coupons like $1 off $3 worth of bread, $5.50 off $55 or more total purchase. All in all, I had $11 off worth off coupons, and the minimum I had to spend was $55, meaning that if I stuck to the plan and only purchased $55 worth of products, the most I’d spend was $44  Nice, right?  Well, guess what? 2 hours later, dazed, confused, harried and reeling from sticker-stock, my bill came to about $75, meaning that I actually spent $64.  Okay, true indeed, I ‘saved’ $11, but guess what?  I spent at least $20 more TOTAL than if I’d done my regular trip. Not to mention the time I spent wandering around the store, trying to piece together everything I was supposed to buy to qualify for the discounts. The irony is that when I finally checked out, out spewed another handful of coupons of the same variety.  I guess they knew they’d found a sucker.

My experience this weekend was with store coupons, you know the kind that print out when you check out.  Kroger and Meijer are good for these kinds of coupons. Manufacturer coupons are a little better in that you can use them wherever you want, however, they are still for things I don’t usually buy.

I’m not suggesting that coupons are not good for anyone. It works if you buy a lot of prepackaged foods and frozen food.  There are no coupons for about 99% of what I buy.  There are no coupons for fresh produce, tofu, fresh juices and the like.  The other one percent of the coupons are almost a joke (Save .10 off 3 cans, anyone???).   If I happen to find a .50 off coupon for soy or almond milk, I will be ever so grateful, and use it.  Until then I will stop going out of my way to use coupons.