Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Coupons: To Clip or not to Clip

When you’re trying to save money on your family budget, clipping coupons seems like a no-brainer. You trade a little bit of time to scan through the newspaper and clip coupons and in return you save money on many of the things you need and use. So, how could anyone suggest couponing might not be a good thing for saving money?

Believe it or not, coupons, if not used wisely, can actually lead you to spend more-not less- on your weekly shopping trips. Manufacturers and advertisers understand the psychology of consumerism and they play on that. Many people will buy an item them otherwise wouldn’t simply because it’s on sale or they have a coupon for it.

Clip for Products You Actually Use

There’s nothing wrong with using coupons to save money on products you’re going to buy anyway. It may even be a good idea to use the coupons available to help you decide between Brand A and Brand B of a particular item, provided you were going to buy it anyway. Just be careful that you don’t end up buying products you wouldn’t normally buy and don’t really need.

It really doesn’t matter how much you save if you end up buying items that will just sit in your shelf. Even if it’s something you will actually use, be careful that you’re not blowing your budget on little luxuries just because they’re on sale. Be judicious and make sure you’re controlling the budget instead of letting advertisers control your budget.

There’s an Exception to Every Rule

Are there exceptions to this? Of course. Anyone who has watched TV programs like Extreme Couponing knows that there are times when savings stack together to make an item ridiculously cheap or even free. In some cases, you can even get money back for purchasing an item with a coupon. This typically happens when all of these factors are in play:

  • You have a relatively large coupon
  • The item is on sale
  • The store doubles or triples manufacturer coupons
  • The store allows the discount to be greater than the price (some stores don’t, though they will still allow you to “purchase” the item for free)

If you can get merchandise for free or get paid for taking the merchandise home, then by all means, do so. If it isn’t something you use personally, you can always give it away to someone who does or donate it to a local charity.

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