Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Coupon Crazy

I have spent the last several, several hours cutting coupons. I had a stack about 6 inches high of coupon inserts I have been saving since December that I haven't had time to cut out (or the desire to). I did coupon with the Grocery Game a lot last year, and got lots of great deals. But let me tell you - couponing is WORK!! And for the past several months, I just haven't felt like "working".

After sitting here for 4 hours, cutting and organizing my coupons and only getting about 6 inserts cut out, I am seriously rethinking my strategy. Is it worth it??? I have been thinking of the months I did coupon faithfully, and here is what I have been pondering, weighing the pros/cons of couponing:

* I bought things that I did not need. For example, I still have lots and lots of cans of tomatoes sitting on my pantry shelf. I don't think I've used one. Yes, I got a good deal on them. But knowing that I don't usually use canned tomatoes, was that a good way to spend money? Uh, no.

* I spent hours and hours and hours cutting out coupons that I never used. When they expire, I just have to throw them away. It makes me sick to think of the time and effort I spent cutting them out, just on the off-chance this item *might* go on sale. Then it never does. Ugh.

* After a few months of couponing (or "stockpiling"), I looked at my bounty of products and noticed that I did not have a lot of "food". Yes, I had tons of dressing, BBQ sauce, marinade, canned tomatoes, granola bars, and cereal. But not much FOOD. Just condiments and processed side items.

Now on to the good thoughts on couponing....Before I totally put you off on couponing, I have some good, warm fuzzy feelings about coupons...

* The savings I got on toiletries and cleaning supplies was AWESOME!! As I was telling my BF today, if there is a nuclear war or natural disaster, my family might not have anything to eat, but, by golly, we WILL have clean teeth!! I have enough toothpaste to last the next few years. I got it all for free or next to nothing. Seriously, coupons for shampoo, makeup, feminine products, lotion, soap, laundry supplies, cleaning supplies, etc are wonderful if you use them when the products are on sale.

* While I did whine that I didn't have much food to show for all my efforts, I DID love having lots of salad dressing, BBQ sauce, marinades, ketchup, mustard, etc that I spent pennies on (or zero pennies!). Those are things that I hate having to spend money on, since they aren't really "food", ya know?

* It is such a natural euphoria to leave the grocery store with 50% savings (or more)! You feel so proud that you have to try not to brag to the poor guy taking out your groceries about your incredible savings. You try not to call your sister and tell her you just got $100 worth of groceries for $40 - but you do anyway. You just don't mention that you got $100 worth of toothpaste, BBQ sauce, and mustard. :) Or that you have to go out tomorrow and buy your *real* groceries. LOL!

Sooo....those are my thoughts at this late hour. I don't know what I'm going to do. I am thinking these are my options:

1) Continue with what I'm doing. (Ugh - don't wanna)
2) Only cut out coupons of what I KNOW we will use
3) Don't cut out every coupon. File the inserts by date, and only pull out when I need one. With this, I think I will have to continue paying for Grocery game.

That's all I can brainstorm right now. I so tired! Maybe I'll have some more inspiration tomorrow. Thanks for reading this far!


  1. This is your crazy couponing toothpaste-hoarding BF replying...here are my thoughts.

    If you are spending grocery money on food and/or staples that are not being used, then it's not worth the time & money spent to pay for TGG, the papers, and the clipping & sorting hassle.

    On the flip side, if you can stay current with inserts, it’s very nice to have choices at hand when shopping! I’ve done the marathon catch-up session like you’ve just done before and it’s overwhelming to do it. But, once you’re caught up, it’s a whole lot easier to move forward at this point. Of course, you have to be consistent going forward. That’s easier said than done though…especially if you don’t live in town.

    As for couponing overall…”is it worth it”. That’s a good question. Here’s how I figure if I’m getting my money’s worth. TGG costs me $20 every other month…$10/month. I then spend approx $12 more in papers. Not counting my time involved, do I earn back more than $22 in savings per month? On a typical month if I’ve stayed current and shopped regularly, then the answer is yes. If I’ve not stayed, current then no.

    The other thing I have to work hard at is being choosey with my choices when buying. I really have to ask myself whether I am buying a staple product for my house or something that’s not likely to ever get used. I try to only use my coupons for staple products that would normally be kept on hand. For us that includes things like personal care products, cereal, canned goods, meat & condiments. Occasionally that will include a convenience product like frozen items & ready-made snacks, but not normally and only if they are an AWESOME buy. Otherwise I justify that I can make it for cheaper.

    Janna’s method of stacking the inserts and clipping all the same pages at the same time has been a life saver for me in terms of how long it takes to get coupons clipped each week.

    I just had a brilliant idea…why don’t you pay W several dollars each Sunday/Monday to clip your coupons for you. If you dropped TGG which we’ve talked about, then you wouldn’t be spending more money overall and you could pass on the headache of doing that piece to someone else. Just a thought!

    Well I’d better run. I hope I haven’t rambled too much! Good luck and let me know what you decide.

    Love Ya, Mel

  2. I thought this post was hilarious! I agree with Mel. It's loads easier when you are caught up and after a 12 week cycle you really already know the things that will go on sale and you learn the stuff that is still too expensive to buy when on sale and with a coupon. If my kid was old enough. She would definitely be cutting out coupons and you know W. would do it. Heck, he offered to mow our yard this summer for $2.00. I'm not saying to definitely do coupons. I've been too busy the past couple of months to do it myself and I remember how old it got dragging DD to the stores. Just trying to shed some more light on the situation. But what do I know? I've got 8 boxes of Stove Top, 8 cans of pork and beans, and 4 cans of Manwich that I have a feeling will never get eaten. We don't even like Manwich and I bought it anyway.

  3. Thanks, to both of you! I am definitely taking both of your advice and mulling it over. I definitely think I have got to quit cutting out every coupon "just in case" and buying everything "just because I have a coupon". I have to be more choosey in what I cut out and what I buy. I think that will make it a lot easier. :)

  4. I found your blog through SHS.
    I do Grocery Game, too, and have found it WAY easier to file all my coupons in a file folder by date, and clip the ones I need.
    I have a big family and usually buy 4 to 6 papers at a time, so I would never be able to clip all those coupons!
    Once a week I print out my lists and my 3 yo sits down with me at the table. I clip the coupons I need, and he clips things from old coupons and makes colleges with glue.
    I have tried to have my older dc help, as your friend suggested, but it was too stressful for me. I didn't feel like they kept my organized, dated coupons in nice, neat order!
    I do all my GG on one day....in my area, Tuesday is the only day that all 4 of my stores overlap. I don't always do all 4, but I try to do everything on one marathon night. That's where my oldest dc is a big help! He can go one way in the store while I go another, and we get it done twice as fast!
    It is ironic I found this today....I just posted an article about GG on my blog yesterday!
    Molly in GA

  5. Thank you for stopping by, Molly! :) And thank you for your suggestions! Since I have not gotten any further in cutting out my coupons, I am seriously thinking of filing them, like you suggested.


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