Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Frugal Preppin’ During Tough Economic Times - Avoiding the Coupon Trap

When striving to save money during a bad economy, it is often easy to make several common mistakes as you try to stretch your dollars to the maximum. One of these is falling into the “coupon trap”. Using manufacturer’s coupon can be a great way to save money but it can also cost you extra if it’s approached in the wrong manner.

The offers are numerous and show up everywhere. Buy one and get one free. Get a dollar off if you try the new and improved version or an almost endless number of other seemingly great offers. It is important to remember that businesses use coupons to get you to spend “your” money on “their” products. Here is where the danger of using coupons can be costly.

People are creatures of habit and once they find a good product they tend to continue to buy and use that product. Coupons are often used to entice you to buy something you don’t normally use. Just the simple act of trying to find a discount coupon for something you normally use can be a frustrating experience.

Saving money by using coupons is great when you can do so in a manner that affords you the opportunity to save money on products you actually use. If you’re buying items simply to take advantage of the coupon, you’ve fallen into the trap. New and improved versions are sometimes simply the same product in a different package (often with less in it) and only slight variations from the regular product.

It’s very easy to fall into the “coupon trap” if you’re not careful. Been there and done that! What’s hard is realizing that you spent “your” money on a product that you never used or eventually threw away because it didn’t fit your actual needs.

Coupons are a good thing and can be used successfully if done with the intention of saving money on things you actually use but can waste money if they’re used on items that your family won’t.

Be aware. Be informed. Be prepared.



Lone Star Patriots said...

Have you ever noticed it’s hard to find coupons for things that are necessities and that don’t expire? Like toilet paper, trash bags, tooth brush, duct tape, ziplock bags, Kerr/Ball jar lids.

Joseph and Emma said...

Not buying something that I don't need is the hardest thing about couponing. It's so tempting when it's a "great deal" to buy it anyway. One way I've helped cut down on buying stuff I don't need is I only cut coupons for what I need.

Lone Star -- Keep an eye on SmartSource.com for coupons for tooth brushes, duct tape, and ziploc bags. I've seen coupons for both Hefty and Glad trash bags too. And if you're not picky about brand, you can get free toothpaste from CVS this week when you include the ECBs. Buy one, get the amount back. Then use that for the second one.

Riverwalker said...

To; Lone Star Patriots

All the time. trying to find a discount coupon on things I normally use everyday is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack.

It usually have to be something i normally use before I even consider clipping the coupon. I've fallen into their little trap and have bought items that I never used.

Now it's got to be a really good bargain or I simply ignore it.

Thanks Lone Star Patriots!


Riverwalker said...

To: Joseph and Emma

Thanks for the great heads up on the coupons.

It's great when you can find coupons for items that are used everyday.



Off Grid Survival said...

Yea its getting harder to find coupons that are actually a good deal anymore. We try to save tme and wait for the items to go on sale but lone star is right most expire pretty quickly now

Lone Star Patriots said...

@Joseph and Emma.
Thanks for the info!