Ever find yourself reading those coupon guru articles and think, “Yes, but coupons don’t work for me.” I certainly do. Why is that? Well, I simply don’t buy most of the items that are featured on coupons. I do buy pet food and personal supplies. I don’t buy processed foods or ready-made items. For the most part, I make homemade foods. Here’s a couple other reasons I don’t use coupons often, plus some things that really save me money in the grocery store.
Brand name items cost more to begin with, and after-wards too.
The laundry soap I buy costs 2.99 in most stores. The more popular brand laundry soaps cost around 12.00 for the same amount. Both get my clothes equally clean. So, while I can use a coupon on the popular item, I actually pay far less for my favorite cheap laundry soap than I would if I used a coupon on the more expensive one. Why bother with the coupon if it doesn’t save me money?
Enough with the websites.
I simply don’t have the kind of time it takes to do all that web browsing and coupon clipping. As a writer, I’m online all day long. The last thing I want to do in my personal time is download an app, sign up for an offer or search high and low for possible coupons and rebates I can double, triple, combine or whatever. Once again, who in the heck has that kind of time? Don’t these crazy coupon gurus have lives, families or jobs?
What does work?
Pricing consistency works.
Mainstream media may have you convinced you need a certain brand item. That’s their job. It doesn’t mean a less expensive item won’t work just as well. There are plenty of good, quality items out there which will cost less and do the same job. It’s not just about laundry soap. Many reputable companies with excellent products refuse to pay through the nose for advertising, They charge less for their products all the time, not just when you use a coupon. In the long run, that fact saves you buckets of money.
Homemade food can be faster food.
The advertisers who put out those coupons are feeding you a line. Fast food and processed food aren’t really all that much faster than home cooked food. Homemade food takes the same amount of time to prepare as fast food, once you get a recipe down. Plus, you can make big batches in the same amount of time, all at once. That enables you to freeze individual portions for future meals. So, in the time it takes you to go pick up one fast food meal or prepare one processed food meal, you can make several nights worth of homemade meals and do it way cheaper. No coupons required.
Homemade provides better nutrition per dollar.
That rice side dish in a box is on sale for a dollar with a coupon for half off. That seems like a great deal until you factor in nutrition. Read the label. What is actually in that box? Is it empty calories? When shopping for food, be sure to consider your health. Are you meeting your nutritional needs or just stuffing your face? Those great deals you get with coupons may be the reason you can’t seem to lose weight and feel so sick. If it’s not a nutritional deal, it’s not a good deal. Homemade food usually gives you more nutrition per dollar.
Buying in bulk doesn’t always save money.
Oh boy, we’ve been going by this rule for a long time, haven’t we? Stock up and save. Unfortunately, if you never eat the food, it’s not that great of a deal. It only works if you buy foods you know will be used.
For instance, that large bag of fruit may be a worse bargain than buying just a few pieces. Why? Because if it goes bad before you eat it, you’re just throwing away money.
How about those non-perishables?
They’re great if you’re talking staples. However, those processed foods we talked about are no nutritional bargain in bulk, either. You bought ten of them at a dollar each,. Good for you. That doesn’t make them any better, nutritionally. Plus, if you’re buying a new brand because you had a great coupon or rebate, and nobody likes it, you’ve wasted your money.
How about those sales?
Buying grocery items that you use regularly, on sale is an awesome way to save money. That factor changes when you shop around, though. The way gas prices are now, you may spend more gas than you save on sales by going from store to store. Plus, you wear yourself out. How much is your sanity worth to you? Instead, look for sales at the one store you like best. You’ll save money and your aching feet will thank you.
Kick it old school.
Here’s what works for me. I make inexpensive, nutrition loaded, homemade food, such as hearty soups, salads and more. I make several nutritious, inexpensive main meals at once and freeze them for convenience. I buy only what I need of perishable items. I buy staples in bulk. I buy cheaper brands that work as well as the expensive ones for less. I shop for deals in one single store to save gas. Most of all though, I use common sense when shopping. It’s no miracle, but unlike those inflated claims of couponing success, it actually works consistently and with no stress or fuss. Beat that, coupon lady!
More from Jaipi:
Buying Power – What Do You Pay For?
Smart Grocery Shopping Tips
Grocery Shopping Organizational Tips