I don’t use coupons

A bargain ain’t a bargain unless it’s something you need.
~Sidney Carroll

I have to admit, it would be logical to assume that someone as frugal as myself would make use of coupons. But I don’t. I use, on average, maybe two or three coupons a month, all in-store coupons. Watch the video at the very bottom, called “Amanda’s Coupon Game Day Plan.” Watch what she puts in her cart, and the quantities.

I don’t have room for 125 boxes of what I’m assuming is macaroni and cheese. And if I did make mac and cheese, I’d make it from scratch. I make spaghetti sauce from scratch, I make salsa from scratch, I make curry from scratch. See? I barely have enough room for a week’s worth of food, much less 50 bottles of ketchup.

And I don’t buy that stuff. The most processed foods I buy on a regular basis are pasta, breakfast bars (for when I’m at work and hungry at 9:30), and cookies. An example shopping list: 16 oz milk (store brand), onion (have you ever seen a coupon for an onion?!), two cans of tomatoes with green chiles (store brand), cheese (oddly enough, Borden beat out the store brand by having a Mexican four-cheese mix for only two cents more than the store brand Monterrey Jack I usually buy), a dozen eggs (store brand), loaf of bread (store brand and in-store coupon, would have grabbed several, but I could only find the one coupon), and breakfast bars (store brand).

When I do get a coupon, I don’t automatically grab the product and go. I’m the person you see who looks like they’re texting, but in reality is using the calculator function on their phone to determine the cost per unit for various brands. If the cost per unit is cheaper, I’ll use the coupon. If not, I’ll go with the normal grab (and after many many runs to the store, I know how much everything costs and what brand/size to get). At one point I had three dollar off coupons for cat food. Using my trusty calculator function, I determined that instead of going with the big bags like I normally do, it was actually cheaper per pound with the coupon to grab the smaller bags.

I do stock up on some items. If I can find whole wheat bread for a dollar or less a loaf, I’ll grab four or five and freeze them all. I’ll buy multiple bags of cat food if there’s a coupon and stash them in the closet. These two are the biggies for me to stock up on, as I’m always in need of bread and it keeps easily, and cat food is expensive, often totaling more than the rest of the groceries for that week combined.

I’ve gotten a few nice deals with regular coupons. I had two coupons once…one for a FREE box of Kotex, the other for just enough off a second box to make it cheaper than the store brand. But these are few and far between (and usually found via Hey, It’s Free! along with a small hoard of trial-size shampoos and other such things).

And unlike the women in some of those TLC videos, I’d rather do something else with my time than dick around for hours finding coupons. Playing stupid pet games or Plants Vs. Zombies or Minecraft or going to a pub with friends or cooking or reading or cleaning my apartment or playing with my kitties or going for a walk or trying to avoid the housewares aisle at Ross or…working. Yes, I could be working and instead of wasting hours and hours to save twenty bucks on shit I’ll never eat, I could be making TIME AND A HALF. Right now my bosses are all but begging me to come in and work on the weekend. Twenty bucks, or time and a half…you decide.

Of course, that’s not taking into consideration the fact that these people probably genuinely enjoy what they do. And that’s cool. But it’s not for me.

So unfortunately, those of us who live in small spaces and cook from scratch are, for the most part, shit outta luck when it comes to coupons. The best thing you can do is get lucky and live near a grocery store that has an excellent store brand they like to put on sale a lot (I do! :D). If you don’t…well, move to Texas and discover the beauty that is H-E-B.

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4 Responses to “I don’t use coupons”

  1. I’ve seen an episode or two of that coupon show, and I have to admit that I sneer at it. The stuff these women are buying? I’d never eat it. All overprocessed junk. None of the food I buy now would ever dream of getting a coupon, since it doesn’t have corporate support behind it..
    It doesn’t seem worth the effort either. I’d rather spend the time making better food for the people in my house than trying to somehow score the best deal. It seems more like competition than anything else.

  2. Another downside to coupons: some stores don’t accept certain kinds. Like that free one, if it’s not from the store or a legit newspaper, my grocery store won’t accept it. I’ll get people coming into my line with a ton of coupons, but I can only accept some of them due to those restrictions and they basically wasted time, paper, and ink printing them out to buy crap.

  3. …I think if I had to find $40 worth of groceries, I’d grab a couple steaks and some beer and have a night of it.

    • Also, the Heeb rules. I’m considering moving closer to the one here. I walked there yesterday…and my feet and calves are killing me. I was not ready for three hours on concrete in KSOs, lol.

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