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Are Coupons Just for Crazy People?

As you well know, I believe everyone should use coupons in some context. Well, if you’re still skeptical, Kris from has written which you must go read. Here’s a snippet:

When you think of couponing, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Is it GoGurt? Is it a planet-sized binder and never-ending stack of circulars? Is it a crazy cat lady, forever in search of the single slip of paper that will net her 14 free packets of McCormick fajita seasoning?

It’s understandable. Long stereotyped as the favorite pastime of bargain-happy grandmas and moms of 47, clipping coupons gets a pretty bad rap. Many believe it gets you minimal deals on junky food. I didn’t touch coupons for years, figuring the time it took to collect them was disproportionate to the amount of money they saved.

Now I know better. While I still buy groceries primarily based on the circular, I’ve come to realize that a simple, no-frills approach to couponing nets good money for little time investment. I don’t freak out, I don’t buy rainbow-colored faux food, and I save a couple hundred bucks each year. Not too shabby.

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28 Comments

  • says:

    Once in a while, I do buy the rainbow colored food. I had the first fruit roll-up of my life a few weeks ago. It was horrible. The packaged stuff usually is, but I have to try it to find out!

  • Melissa says:

    I am also a no-nonsence couponer. I don’t buy something I dont’ need just because I can get it for a quarter. Yesterday I went to Target and walked out with $14.95 worth of stuff I will actually use, and only paid $2.23( tax). The people behind me in line were stunned LOL! I love that part! They say “how did she do that” real quietly under their breath to each other 🙂

  • Andrea says:

    I just still shake my head at people who tell me they don’t want to or like to coupon because the coupons are just “for junk”. Well, yeah..there’s a lot of processed foods out there, and I’ll admit, I am addicted to Velveeta (Hi, my name is Andrea, and I’m addicted to Velveeta!). But I’ve found coupons for EVERYTHING we eat – produce, meat, olive oil, dairy, grains, everything! You just need to be willing to look a bit (I spend 5 hours a week on my couponing, including reading deal sites), and think a bit. Sure, I buy the occasional rice mix, and well, there’s the aforementioned self-professed love for Velveeta and Rotel….but I admit, I like the convenience of couponing too. I don’t have to fret every week over an unknown grocery bill – I know that I have my budget, what items are on sale, and what it will cost me. Bottom line, it’s a much easier way of life!

    I mean, today, I got two bottles of Olive Oil for .99. And their original price was a BOGO for $6.99. Not too shabby, and we use a lot of olive oil here! I’ve gotten lettuce, fruit, and meat all free this week as well. You just have to be willing to look. Otherwise, if you don’t want to coupon…that’s fine with me. More good coupons for me then! 😉

  • says:

    I went to Wal-Mart and walked out with $14.63 worth of items that I got for free. In fact it left them owing me money. Thankfully I had other items I had to buy! I posted my steals on my blog if any one is interested.

  • says:

    Lol, sometimes I do think I’m crazy, but I’m loving all the money I save. So I guess I’m ok with being a little crazy! : )

  • elizabeth says:

    Ha ha @ “14 free packets of fajita seasoning” !! Too funny!

    I think it’s all about the balance. Some weeks I buy every item with a coupon. Other weeks I don’t use a single one.

    For me, it is SO important to have that stockpile. That’s the real way to save, IMO. Coupons play a big part of getting the stockpile, but some items like dried beans, etc can be gotten on sale without coupons, for dirt cheap.

    I love my coupons.

  • says:

    HeavensGardenOutlet has the best deals as far as school items and food products that I’ve found online. Recently I brought Betty Cherry Chip Crocker Cake Mix for $ .69 and palmolive 3 pack soap for about $0.79 .They also have girls ruffle socks for $0.50 for the summer. I’ve stocked up on their school supplies too. Notebook paper is on sale for $0.69 as well. I saved about $29.50 on this last order after I applied my 30% discount. When you become a free member they also take 30% off everytime you place an order.
    Vickie Myers

  • Lindsey says:

    It was an article almost exactly like that one that got me started couponing last October. They took away Facebook at work (gasp!) so I read that article to pass some time, as we are very slow some days at the bank. The article I read actually had this blog mentioned in it, which is how I found you! And THANK GOD I did! I’m far from being where you, or most of your readers are as far as couponing, but I’m getting the hang of it, starting a small stock pile, and loving every minute of it! Everyone I know thinks I’m crazy, and even makes fun of me for doing what I do, but I don’t care the slightest bit, I’m saving money AND having fun, while they are paying full price for groceries, don’t have a clue what a catalina, coupon stacking, or a Register Reward is! Thanks for all you do!

  • Kathryn says:

    I have been using coupons since I was about 10 or 11 (and I still have some from way back when that don’t have an expiration date). At that time, when I went grocery shopping with my mom, she always let me do the coupon shopping since she didn’t want to bother with it. Now, 32 years later, I am still a HUGE avid coupon advocate. I teach my financial peace class my coupon philosophy and approach, and share with them the bargains I find. I love bargains and getting things for free! If I do get something for either free or pennies, and I don’t necessarily use it for my family, I donate it to the local food pantry. Every item in my pantry is something that I use. My family’s most used staples are Borden’s milk, peanut butter, cereal, and bananas. Why just the other day, I purchased 4 gallons of Borden’s milk (only brand my hubby likes) for just $4.50!!!

  • says:

    That is the way I used to feel about coupons. I did not bother, because I thought it would only provide me with junk food, and I expected that the store-brand deals would always be better. While that is still often the case, I have recently started learning much more about how to efficiently use coupons to save money while not altering my general food selections.

  • Stacie says:

    Your headline made me laugh!

    I love being crazy, saves me tons of money!

  • Tammy says:

    Coupons are the best.One thing that still cracks me up is the lady from Frugal Gazzatte and her thought of coupons in the 1970’s-80.s.Times have sure changed and one can get good food with coupons rather then just buying generic or store brands without coupons.

    If i could go back in time and really look at what I used my coupons on in the 80’s I wonder if many were on junk food or food I could have bought cheaper without a coupon anyway.At time the myths of coupons were probably true!

  • says:

    It was a great article, especially for people who might be nervous to try couponing – because there IS a stereotype, like she said – kinda like, “If you use coupons clearly your job doesn’t pay enough.”

    The one point I disagree on: store brands are usually cheaper. Totally not true for me in 90% of coupon cases. I am normally able to get the name-brand product, by combining sales and coupons, for a fraction of the store-brand price. This is actually one of my favorite parts of couponing – goodbye Wal-Mart shampoo, hello expensive brands! 🙂

    • Jaime says:

      @Jessica @ This Blessed Life, I agree! I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten a name brand free or almost free by combining a sale with a coupon! I haven’t seen the stores giving away their brands for free lately!!! 🙂

    • sarah says:

      @Jessica @ This Blessed Life,
      I agree– i was able to get boxes of name brand pasta for free with a sale and double coupons here. While i was grabbing my boxes another family was in the aisle getting the store brand because it was cheaper. I had a couple extra coupons so i went over, told them to take these, which ones to get and they would get them for free. They were happy and grabbed some of the name brand ones they walked straight by because they were “too expensive.” I only buy store brands when i need to, not because i have too to stay in budget.
      Oh and the recent cascadian farm ip is an example of a non junk item. My local store has the frozen veggies 50% this week so hoping to grab a few cheap.

  • says:

    I liked the article. I’m planning a post soon (tomorrow probably) about this same kind of subject – are coupons really worth it, etc.
    Thanks for the post!

  • says:

    For years I didn’t coupon at all…then I became a little bit coupon-obsessed, and now I’ve found a happy medium with the whole coupon thing. I just go through the circulars each Sunday and clip coupons for the things I know I need/use. I don’t organize them as well as I should, but since I no longer have a ton of coupons in my little envelope it doesn’t take me that long to flip through them.

    I figure, when you have a coupon for $1.00 off something you were going to buy anyway, it’s like finding a dollar on the ground somewhere. Who wouldn’t be excited about that?

  • Barbara says:

    About 15 years ago, Consumer Reports did an article on house brand products, and found that quality varied a lot–from store to store, and from region to region, with the Northeast coming in last. My own experience has been that I get the best deals overall at Shoprite, but a lot of their house brand foods have been really disappointing. Coupons let me buy name brand items for my family, and at least in my experience, that often means better quality too.

  • Madelyn says:

    I have SLASHED my grocery bills by so much, I just can’t believe it. At my house, we eat **more healthfully and mindfully** because of coupons and deal shopping. My husband is thrilled with the effect I’m having on our finances, and we both feel we have more control of what used to be a runaway budget!

  • Andrea says:

    Yeah! Call me crazy!!! It’s an honor when it comes to couponing. When I see the crazy savings I have and the crazy amount of coupons I use, even I think I’m crazy good at it! 🙂 Today, I was in Target, and it felt so crazily good when the cashier gave a super huge “WOW! You’ve saved A LOT!” and you bet those behind me were stretching their necks. This is crazy fun and I love my crazy couponing!

  • katie says:

    My family eats almost all organic and very healthy and I am a PROUD coupon queen:) There are tons of healthy and organic coupons out there. Don’t get me wrong I still cut a lot of “junk” coupons, but guess what I give it to the food pantry or the homeless ministry at our church. Most times it is free, and we are on such a tight budget I would never be able to donate as much as I do if I didn’t use coupons And I NEVER pay for cleaners or personal care items WHY….when you can get them for free at drug stores or when stores triple and double. I think those that don’t use coupons are being wasteful and lazy. Yeah it takes a few extra moments, but it is being good stewarts of what God gave us. (I do wish He gave us more:)!!!

  • says:

    Crystal! Thanks so much for the link. It’s much appreciated. Keep up the good MSM work!

  • Lisa says:

    With summer coming I’m watching teachers in my school scrambling to get summer jobs. Me, I don’t work during the summer. Why, because I save so much couponing, buying sale price, ect that I don’t have to. I love my summers off. I look at couponing as a part time job I love.

  • Heather says:

    Are you consider the crazy coupon person because you have a panick attack when you find out you left your coupon binder on the bottom of the cart at the store? My husband shakes his head when he sees me pull that thing out but then when I show him how much we have saved and donated he loves it. My family knows if we run out and there is no sale or coupon don’t think about putting it in the cart. Pulse it has been a great way to teach my kids how to save their pennies. You gotta be proud when your 12 yr old won’t buy a pack of gum unless she has a coupon.:)

  • Tricia says:

    I just started using coupons last month. I went grocery shopping this morning and my coupons saved me $26.05. I actually got 4 boxes of pasta, 2 boxes of Wheatables, and 6 sponges for free. I’m thinking I’m crazy for not clipping coupons sooner.

  • Lisa says:

    Proud crazy cat lady here! 🙂 With all the free cat food I had to adopt more cats! 😉

    I’ve noticed in the past two years more people are interested at the store in couponing. In fact I need more baseball card holders, I’ve given my extras away to cashiers or people in line.

    I think the junk food concern is valid even they are not 100% accurate. There are a lot of coupons for processed foods. We don’t have wine tags here nor do I see MIR for meat or produce. Most of the good coupons I’ve had for produce or meat require buying a salad dressing made from soy, steak sauce, waffles made with white flour or processed cereal. Even at the health food store most of the coupons are for packaged items.. there are none for the bulk bin of pinto beans. 😉

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