What you need to know about coupons

Why I Refuse to Become an Extreme Couponer

by Rich Finzer


Related Articles

Extreme Savings, No Coupons Required

Pros and Cons of Using Coupons

When Coupons Aren't a Good Deal

With the V-8 engine of America's economy limping along on five cylinders, the use of "cents off" grocery coupons has reached epic proportions. Face it, money is tight and wise shoppers try to use every dollar-stretching tactic that they can muster. I'm equally certain we've all heard the urban legends about coupon fanatics claiming to have purchased $300 worth of groceries for $19. And maybe it's true, but personally, I tend to view those tales with the same skepticism I reserve for reports of alien abductions. In all fairness, I use coupons whenever it makes economic sense, but I'd rather do simple math than be blinded by coupon inspired madness. Here's a stark example.

My local grocery recently ran two specials on multi-packs of paper towels. Both were well known national brands and both were advertised at $6.99. While placing an eight pack of mega-rolls into my shopping cart, a generous but math impaired coupon obsessed shopper offered me a $1 off coupon on the other brand, a six-roll package, selling at the same price. "I'm buying two packages," she exclaimed, and then politely asked why I was so averse to saving money. Just as politely I replied, "I love saving money. In fact, I just saved $5.40 cents more than you did." At this point, my fellow shopper was confused, until using round numbers. I did the math for her.

My eight-roll package of mega-rolls with a total area of 454 square feet was $7. Her two six-roll packages with a total area of 418 square feet was $14. With her two $1-off coupons, her cost was lowered to $12. The difference in what we paid was $5. The sales tax on the difference was $0.40. The per package price difference was $2.70. My cost per square foot was $0.015 and her cost per square foot $0.029.

Strange as it may seem, and despite the use of her $1-off coupons, my fellow shopper was about to pay twice as much for essentially the same product. Therefore, just because you have a coupon, it doesn't mean you're actually saving any money.

Take the Next Step:

  • Your groceries cost less when you get cash back! Checkout 51 can show you how!
  • We are always finding new ways to help you trim food costs. Visit our food & groceries section each week to get tips for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.

True or False

Food, gas and other prices keep rising while my family's income remains stagnant and I worry we are heading for debt trouble. Tell us: Yes, I think we are heading for debt trouble and could use some help! or No, we're not in debt trouble but I like finding new ways to help keep my family finances on track!

Stay Connected with TDS









TDS Pantry Challenge



Little Luxuries
Subscribe

to any newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!




The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Parents
Dollar Stretcher Tips
The Computer Lady

Your Email:


View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Get Out of Debt