It seems a bit counterintuitive, because we use coupons to save money. It all depends on how you approach it.
There are three kinds of shoppers I’ve identified:
1. Has a budget, pretty well knows what the family likes to eat, and feels too busy with work and other commitments to be bothered with cutting out coupons. This is the wing-it shopper.
2. Has a budget and a list, goes through the Sunday inserts and cuts just the coupons for what is on the list. This is the casual couponer.
3. Finally there’s the shopper who starts with the sale ads, making note of all the excellent deals that week and then combining them with coupons and other discounts to get the best deals. Meals come from what’s on sale. This is the hard-core couponer.
I must mention the so-called extreme couponers such as you see on TV. Unfortunately many of these people have been outed as frauds, using fake coupons. They are also shelf-clearers, which all three shoppers above find offensive.
I should disclose that I am a hard-core couponer. Although I’ve couponed for 30 years, only in the past year did I go in deep.
Back to couponing is expensive. There are start up costs to most any new thing you start, but this pays dividends if you are patient! If you are just starting to coupon, as many are, you will find you actually spend more in the beginning, and here’s why:
Let’s say there’s a sale on hot dogs, $1.50/package. You have a .50c off one coupon (.50/1) but your store doubles. That makes your hot dogs 50c, a good deal. But a deal you may not see again. So you buy 6 packs of hot dogs (they freeze well so you can stockpile), at a net cost of $3.00 (we’ll skip taxes here bc they vary). You only planned on buying one so now you are $1.50 over budget.
To get a decent stockpile going you will do this with many products, from toilet paper to salad dressing.
Once you get a good stockpile going then when you shop you only need perishables and what’s on sale this week, which will slowly bring your totals down to where you are spending at least 50% less than before you started.