Couponing as a Personal Finance Practice – Is It Worth It?

Couponing has been around for decades, centuries probably, but in the last 5 or 10 years, it has really become more popular than ever. It really exploded sometime around 2010 when The Wall Street journal introduced the concept of “extreme couponing” and when TLC started broadcasting their Extreme Couponing TV show. In 2010, nearly four fifths of all people in the US regularly used coupons.

coupons

What we are interested in today is whether it is all worth it. We will be looking at a few factors and try and come up with an objective verdict. So, if you are interested, please stick with us.

Different Types of Couponing

If you are “new” to the world of couponing or if you have very little knowledge about it, you would be very surprised as to the amount of divisions, types, sub-types and expressions there are in the world of couponing. If we are to try and figure out whether couponing is worth it, we need to take a look at the different types of couponing.

For instance, there are the “occasional” couponers who do it from time to time, finding a few coupons here and there and using them the next time when they go to the store. There are also couponers who do it a bit more organized, saving coupons and finding sales which make coupons even more worth the hassle. Then, there are the extreme couponers who spend hours every day trying to find the best deals, who are ready to drive for hours to get the deals and who have entire stockpiles of different products they bought with coupons.

The reason why we had to differentiate between the different types is that they will spend varying amounts of time actually doing the couponing and because they will be making varying savings in the end.

The Time you Spend

Couponing can be quite time-consuming, especially if you wish to be really serious about it. You will need to spend quite a bit of time finding all the coupons, organizing them and finding the stores and the deals. You will also need to find the time to go to the stores even if you weren’t planning so that your coupons do not expire.

For some people, it is easier to find the time than for others. For example, when you work long hours, have other errands, perhaps a side job as well, it will be quite difficult to find the time needed to do serious couponing.

Other Expenses

Another thing that we need to factor in our final “formula” are additional expenses that you might need to procure in order to find and get all the best deals. For instance, there are the newspapers and coupon books that you will have to pay for. There is also the gas you will have to spend in order to drive to all the stores that have coupon deals. If you are a really extreme couponer, you will also need to stock up on your stock room, so to say, perhaps invest in a deep freezer and new storage space.

Bottom Line

In the end, you will need to factor all of this in your calculation. You will want to monitor your pre-couponing and couponing grocery store trips and find out how much you have saved over a certain period of time. Then, you will want to see how much time you spent and see how much money you could have made working instead of couponing. Finally, you will want to factor in other expenses. In the end, you will be able to see if the savings outweighed the money you spent or wasted by not working instead.

Our Opinion

In our opinion and the opinion of most experts, couponing makes sense in moderation. There are savings to be made, especially if you go for Amazon promotional codes and other internet coupons. You just need to figure out what is working for you and what is not. Make sure it makes financial sense for you.