Sunday, 22 July 2012

Coupons Don't Save Me Money!

I've heard a lot about that Extreme Couponing programme in America. It sounds like these people save themselves a fortune by spending a lot of time searching out the best deals, but what about the average person?

I don't buy newspapers and no-one delivers circulars to this neck of the woods, but I do get sent the occasional coupon stash from the supermarkets. I like to think that I would not be tricked into buying something I didn't need just because I had a voucher for 50p off, but recent events have suggested I am prone to it!

I was walking through Tesco the other day and had a nose to see if my favourite cider was on offer - no such luck and it's £2.20 for a pint bottle. Then I remembered that I had a Clubcard voucher for 30p off a bottle, so I went back and got one! Now it's not the end of the world but that's £1.80 that I didn't need to spend (I only usually buy it when it's buy-one-get-one-free!), just because a coupon promised me free money!

Coupons are almost always for branded items. They're a form of advertising, designed to promote brand loyalty. They can save you money, of course, but do they work out cheaper in the long run? People spend longer in the shops looking for the right item and are more likely to buy more luxury items with the money they've "saved"!

I have also been carrying around a 50p off voucher for a bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino. This coupon is designed specifically to make you try their new product, decide you like it and then continue to buy it at full price! I wouldn't have bought it before, so why do I want to fall victim to their evil schemes? I need to act more like Ilona (aka the MeanQueen) and beat the shops at their own gameget in, get what you need, get out!

Do you "coupon"? Why is that a verb? I'd be interested to hear if any fellow Brits hunt coupons in a US-style way!


saving for travel said...

I only use use the points Tesco coupons on goods we buy anyway.

Nowadays it's not worth it.

Always stay in control of your funds.

Sft x

Meanqueen said...

I throw most of my Tesco coupons away. Last week I used a £3 off a £20 spend, only because there were things I needed. The rest of them (£2 off) I won't use.

I spent over £40 on cat food at Morrisons, (special offers) and got a 6p off a litre of fuel. I used it for a tank of petrol and got over £3 off. I only use coupons if they are for something I need.

SpanktheMagicMonkey said...

The only vouchers I use are the ones that will give me money off of something I was going to buy anyway or the ones that give me money off of the final bill. These are most often either Tesco or Shell Garages. My main issue is forgetting to use them. I’m in such a routine that the only time I remember I even have the voucher is long after I’ve left the shop. Lol.

I think it’s easy to get pulled into buying odd items you wouldn’t usually buy because of a voucher. Then you finally get to the till and boom your bill is through the roof because of a load of “one off”, and what are frankly luxury items.

gillibob said...

I save mine and swap them in for treats( the club card vouchers that is) Sometimes the till spit is worth it, if you are going to spend a certain amount in store.

I am not loyal to one particular store so take a while to build up vouchers worth using.
Morrisons, i think are marginally better for the petrol voucher as the spend is usually less than required at other stores. At the moment our's is spend £40 and get 6p off a litre. Cheaper and better voucher than Tesco's which is a bigger spend and only 5p off a litre.
I watch out for vouchers off shopping spends in papers- you can get £5 off a spend in Aldi's as well. Always worth it to stock up on basics and get your cupboards bulging.

saving for travel said...

Please accept a 'One Lovely Blog' award from me

Kearnygirl said...

Hi! I'm from the US and have watched those crazy coupon clippers shows a few times. It is absolutely nuts to buy what they buy even if they get it free. They have actual storage rooms just for their purchases. Some of it has sell by dates on and I can't see how they use the stuff in time. If you have a large family maybe some of it gets used on time but the majority of these people have one or two kids the most. How do they use all that stuff? I use a coupon only if I already use the product and am running out of it at the time of the coupon. That's it. I can't be bothered with the time it takes to start going online checking all the websites for coupons. If you don't already get a newspaper delivered then you are having to buy the newspaper to get the coupons. Sometimes there aren't any coupons that I can use. There are alot of coupons for pre-cooked stuff or junk food that I don't eat. The only coupon clippers I admire are those who donate the food and items they get for free to food banks or church kitchens who feed the hungry.

Attila said...

Kearnygirl has already made my point about the coupons are often for junk food, but also, in the US the shops will let you use multiple coupons on one item, which they won't do here. And the coupons are usually for things they want you to buy because they have the biggest markup on the basic ingredient cost. I save more by buying basic ingredients in bulk and making my own meals, padding it out with seasonal veg. I use Approved Food; they are brilliant but I got a free delivery if you spend £40 offer today; it's the end of the month, we are skint but I could pay on the credit card (paid in full each month) but there wasn't enough of the right sort of stuff to make it worthwhile. I COULD have got £40 worth of chocolate but....

Practical Parsimony said...

I know people who say, "I can't be bothered." However, they are spendthrifts ALL the time. The least I ever save is %25 off my grocery bill. A friend brought me 10 Sunday newspapers he found in their original plastic bags in the trash. I got 10 coupons for $1 off Cokes. I will use most of these and share. There were 10 coupons off toothpast.

I supply my three adult children, two spouses, one teen gson, and three smaller grandchildren with toothpaste and toothbrushes. I send them enough to change toothbrushes every three months. Yes, I have enough toothpaste and toothbrushes for the next three years on hand at all times. Coupons make these free.

Rarely does anyone coupon so extensively as the program shows. The directors of the shows make them all seem crazy. Some sell their coupon-gotten items. Some help friends and family, while others donate to women's shelters and homeless shelters.

Anything can be overdone, including coupons. Why would anyone assume that things will expire and not be used if that is not a known fact about the products on these shows?

Coupons make my life easier. If my prefered brand is less after sales and a coupon that the store brand, yes, I will buy the brand I really like. It's not brand loyalty.

The only way we in the US can use more than one coupon per item is if the store has issued a coupon to be used only in that store and I have a coupon received elsewhere. Sometimes, my coupon received elsewhere is doubled, making the product free or so close to free that I am thrilled.

My friends who don't have time, look down their collective noses at me. But, they say they wish they could do the same thing.

I live in a coupon wonderland, getting coupons for produce, organic produce, oats, Greek yogurt, milk, and all sorts of personal items. All told, I probably spend an average of 5 minutes each day for a savings of $60/mth. I am single, so there is not as much bought, probably $85 each month after coupons.

Mostly, I shop for markdowns, even on milk. I use a combination of methods along with coupons. I even dicker with grocers on markdowns in the larger cities, "If I buy all these $2 items marked down to $1.49, will you let me have them all for $1 each?" Then, I whip out coupons that the store will double. The items will be almost free.

Pamela said...

It's not for me, though my mother was quite good at it (she didn't shop at the level of the people on Extreme Couponers, though). Basically, I stock up when there is a good sale and then I can go months without needing to shop (with the exception of picking up one or two small things). I don't buy too much processed food (outside of boxed mac and cheese) and the HBA stuff I get tends to be store brand and cheaper than the brand name stuff (even with coupons).

Lili@creativesavv said...

Hi Bryallen,
From the US, don't use coupons, unless they fall into my lap and I actually want/need that item.

I do better at saving on groceries by shopping the way restaurants shop for supplies, in large institutional sizes. I also shop loss leader items at regular grocery stores, using their circulars to pin point which items these are. I look at the front page of a flyer only. That's where you find the real deals.

cumbrian said...

I think you worked it out for yourself, the coupons are just a "come-on" to tempt you to buy something you wouldn't normally buy and usually at a price you wouldn't normally to pay.

MakintheBacon$ said...

I'm from Canada and I find coupons just aren't as abundant here as they are in the US. I don't coupon because I find it takes a lot of time to find them. Ill forgot about them and then they'll expire!

Anonymous said...

I'm from US and don't use many coupons. Most are for processed foods.I cook mostly from scratch for myself and feel that it's healthier. Also, the coupons used to be doubled up to $1.00, now they can't be doubled and you usually have to buy 2 or 3 of the item to get cents off, so I don't bother. As for the people who fill their cellars with bargains, I think its nuts. They could cook a whole meal in the time it takes to clip and shop.