In Part 1 of my Coupon Myths series, we explored the common belief that coupons are not available for things we actually purchase. There were some very insightful comments as well from readers who have experienced coupon skeptics.
Have you heard this one?
“I don’t use coupons because they cause you to buy things you would not normally buy”.
Now, there may be a grain of truth to this one. But first, I must respectfully disagree with the notion that coupons dictate your spending habits. Yes, coupons can influence your purchases. But it is not the coupon forcing you to put that item in your cart. It is you!
You are in control of your finances. If you allow your finances (or coupons) to control you, then there is a much bigger issue at hand.
It all boils down to making thoughtful, well planned purchases with a purpose. This may involve making a shopping list, a menu plan, and carefully tracking what items you have on hand.
Have I purchased items with coupons I might not otherwise buy? Yes. But there is always a reason behind it.
For instance, I never purchased air freshener before I discovered couponing. I considered it unnecessary. But when I can combine a coupon with a sale or Extra Care Buck and purchase it for almost nothing, I do. My nose thanks me in a house full of kids and pets!
Another example would be the numerous items I am now able to buy with coupons for free or nearly free to donate to my local food pantry or homeless shelter. I have always been a charitable person, but coupons allow me to be even more generous.
By strategically shopping with coupons, I have also been able to experience new products and brands I might not have otherwise purchased. However, I make sure they are items that will be used or eaten.
Most non-couponers generally stick with the same old brand of shampoo, paper towels, or ketchup. Since you can always find coupons for such items, why not shop for the best value? They will be consumed by my family, so the brand makes little to no difference in my purchasing decision.
You decide where each dollar goes. Coupons are a tool you can utilize to stretch those dollars. But like any tool, if they are used incorrectly, they can do more harm than good.
Make a plan before you shop. Just because a coupon exists, does not mean you should clip it out and use it right away. Chances are, that item will go on sale next week.
And combining a sale with a coupon on an item you actually need? Now that is smart shopping.
Feel free to share this post with the coupon skeptic in your life. In the next installment of my Coupon Myths series, I will address the belief that couponing is not worth the extra time.