24/7 MOMS

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coupon Myths Busted- to Your Benefit!

Amy Hannold
247Moms Frugal Living Editor

Couponing does not save me money on what I eat:

A: Learn to find coupons for items you use. Contact companies which make the products you use. Enlist the help of friends and family, and you’ll be blessed with more coupons.

B. Your couponing may be more profitable at drugstores, retail/malls, dining, travel, or services. Whatever you want to save money on, focus your money-saving efforts on that spending Research “best buys” on what you buy and you’ll succeed.

Buying generic products is the cheaper way to shop: Certainly, we first promote the use of comparison shopping and do agree that generics are often as good/better than the brand name products for everyday shopping. However, if you can "stack" a coupon with a sale (and any additional Catalina/Rebate/Promotions) – you’ll stock up on your favorite brands for less than generics. Knowledge, tools and a little practice work wonders. When people have preferred brands or will only buy a “brand”; couponing can help you afford your favorite products.

My husband doesn’t support/see the benefit of couponing. Once you’ve racked up a series of money-saving successes, show him the receipts! Find his motivation – what does he want to be able to afford? When he sees that buying “his likes” doesn’t break the bank, he’ll be on board. If he’s a numbers guy, add up your savings at the end of the month, and hand him his share to save for a rainy day – or towards his goals.

Couponing means too much clutter: Simply put, you have to be somewhat organized in order to save money and enjoy the process. Find and create a couponing system that works for you. Binders and files can often be bought at the thrift store. No need to buy expensive couponing tools, as ones you create will often grow with you. Realize that what you start working with may change, as your interest and success in couponing increases.

Coupons are only for junk/processed foods and unhealthy cleaning products: Sure, the newest kids’ cereal and whamo-cleaning products are promoted through coupons. Baking supplies, toys/games, plain oatmeal, baby products are as well. Homemade is always the best – but couponing can make meals and cleaning more affordable for those who use prepared products. Housewarming or “New Baby” packages made with an assortment of convenient products are appreciated – those gifts can save you money. Food banks love peanut butter, canned chili and soup – if you can get it free or for far less – double your donations and shop with others in mind!

None of my friends use coupons - I don't want to be "weird". If "normal" is paying way too much of my hard-earned money on everyday things - I'll be weird. You can change the "normal" in your circle when you share how couponing and frugality helps you reach your goals. Couponing can be added to nearly any social/activity - and it has so many more benefits than getting together to spend money. Soon enough, your friends are competing and enjoying the search for a good deal.

Couponing takes too much time: For the first 90 days, like any other new life change or hobby, you will spend more time than those who are “experienced”. “Couponing”, the process, has become more efficient thanks to the internet. Bloggers with money-saving websites feature weekly “What’s on Sale” lists, which do the matching of coupons to sale for you. Coupon databases track what coupons are distributed when; all you need is your set of filed inserts and scissors – and you’re saving money in no time!

Couponing is overwhelming - all of this new, valuable information! Have you ever started a new hobby or learned a new job? Couponing is no different – go slow, find support and don’t try to do it all at once. Avoid burnout and frustration by making small goals and being organized. Choose one area of your spending to begin couponing with. Limit your sources of information and techniques to a few, adding more as you become more enthusiastic and proficient

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