Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are coupons REALLY worth it?

Do you ever wonder just how much value is in cutting, organizing, and remembering to shop with coupons are each week? Even though I see how many free or nearly free items I am able to get each week using coupons, I still have had moments where I have wondered if it was really worth it. I have wondered if I just shopped at WalMart if it would be nearly the same without the hassle.
I had an opportunity to see just how much value they bring to my life with my recent illness. I went at least a month where I did not use a single coupon. I didn't even shop. I made lists and sent my husband or my two teens to the store to keep us going. They picked up a lot of easy to prepare items, $4 boxes of cereal, pizzas, burgers, chicken nuggets. I had a lot of tests during this time and couldn't eat, so I would stop for something after my appointment. My husband bought lunch out because I wasn't making him anything. In 40 days time we spent $1400 on food. My normal budget is $600 a month. We blew it! We wasted a lot of money and let laziness and sickness take our money. Thank God we are not so tight on a budget that it made us go in debt or caused us to go hungry later.
I am going to focus on making up more items for the freezer. Cooked chicken for casseroles, grilled chicken, grilled pork chops, a cooked roast, cooked hamburger meat. Also stock up more soups and some more things in cans like spaghettios, beef stew, etc. I can't get enough cereal. We were going through over a box a day. I have a lot of frozen and canned vegetables. I ate a lot of crackers since I wasn't feeling well.
I truly believe that the coupons are a big money saver. They allow me to keep my pantry stocked and if I cook from that I can feed my family economically and healthier meals. It is good to have some of the prepackaged items for illnesses or emergency situations, but I wouldn't want to eat that way most of the time. I also don't want to eat out as much as we have. My family has been a blessing to help out so much and I really appreciate them, but I also got a little validation to what I bring to the family with my coupon shopping and using what we have for meals.


Dawn said...

We budget every month, too, and can also tell when we let convenience (of quick purchases and eating out) take over the normal plan. It is much healthier for ou bodies and budget when mom plans, shops and prepares food at home. We've found that eating out is also more of a pleasure when it's a "special" occasion instead of just another meal out.

Southerner said...

So true, Dawn. We rarely go out to a restaurant to eat. When we go it is a real treat because it is rare.

smilernpb said...

Here in the UK, as I have mentioned before, we don't really do the whole 'coupon' thing. If we have coupons, it's never for free items, just a small amount off, as an incentive to buy that item, and as a result, I don't bother. But yes, I am (as always) jealous that you guys in the US get so many good deals. It, in my opinion, is worth the time and effort, to get the good deals.

On another note, I am pleased you are doing well, and are back in the land of blog. Lots of hugs to you xo

Anonymous said...

I truly need to budget better on groceries. Yesterday even with my savings card I spent over 300 for a single grocery trip. My jaw nearly hit the floor as I asked if my card had been applied. It was sheer laziness that I didn't head to the commissary for shopping. It's been sheer laziness to not want to meal plan lately too. Thanks for reopening my eyes!

Jenny said...

Last year I kept an Excel spreadsheet of my coupon savings. Any savings I had from using coupons, price matching or rebates were put in the deposit column & any money I spent (newspaper subscriptions, All You sub., ect) were put in the withdrawal column.

For my small family of three I saved $475 last year. If I counted my newspaper subscriptions & other places I get coupons from It would have been closer to $600.

I've started a new spreadsheet for 2010. It's really helped keep me motivated.

Ashley said...

I love using coupons because even though one coupon may say, "$.50 off" or "$1 off when you buy 2", every penny counts. I search www.cheapstingybargains.com and www.deals2buy.com for printable coupons and coupon codes for various stores, including Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Dell and many more. I think every frugal shopper should check them out.