You see it on frugal living and money saving sites. The heroic stories of people who save hundreds of dollars a month by couponing. Modern day treasure hunters mixed with a kid in a candy shop with a dash of ultimate gamer trying to hit the high score.
There’s one thing in your life that is worth more than money. More than coupons. More than anything else.
It’s pretty much the only thing in this life that you have complete control over. How you spend it. Who you spend it with. What you do for work and entertainment. Therefore, it has the highest value. Ultimate value, if you will.
So how much of this precious asset is being spent on hunting for coupons? I found a pretty interesting blog post where one lady did an experiment.
The math didn’t add up. Matter of fact, couponing actually cost her money because the hours that she spent couponing cut into her greatest asset, her time, that she would ordinarily spend freelance writing.
Here’s another interesting post: http://twocents.lifehacker.com/how-couponing-and-deal-hunting-actually-make-you-spend-1763655156
What I want you to take away from the above article is the part where the author talks about how frugality and couponing ARE NOT one in the same.
But that doesn’t make any sense!
Sure it does. Couponing is a form of advertising. It’s no different than the giant billboard with the shiny new car on it that you pass every day on the way to work. The vast majority of these coupons are for “premium” goods. This includes lots of processed foods and chemical cleaners.
If you’re a newb to frugal living, couponing might make sense. However, after a few months of exploring some blogs, you’ll find that being resourceful, cooking your own food, meal planning, and making your own cleaning supplies are all going to save you way more money in the long run. You know what else it’s going to save?
My shampoo takes me about thirty seconds to make. It costs me about $.50 to make eight ounces. And it’s a fantastic product that’s perfect for my hair cleaning needs.
I have a carpet deodorizer that helps kill germs. Also takes about 30 seconds to make.
Related: Saving money with essential oils
So…take thirty seconds to make something or spend hours eyeballing coupons for a deal on herbal essence? That shit ain’t even that herbal.
Coupons are a form of advertising
Advertisers use coupons as mini-billboards. Put a giant “Save $.50” beside it and you’re going to get eyes on a product that might not be there otherwise. The brands and supermarkets make money by selling their wares. That’s obvious, right? Coupons expire. The stores want you in there as often as possible. The more you’re there, the more money you spend.
If I’m wrong, then why do you reckon there’s so many places to find coupons?
The internet. The newspaper. Magazines. Your mailbox. In the store itself!
You can’t walk anywhere without there being some sort of coupon or sale being within view.
Be a smart consumer. Be resourceful. Do some research. Being lazy is going to cost you a lot of money and/or time in the long run. Just because the coupon says that you’re saving money doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.
This next segment is probably going to ruffle some feathers, and that’s fine. Every one’s experiences are different. These are some of the ones I’ve seen/dealt with in recent months/years.
That’s right. Dem panties.
Every woman that I’ve ever dated has two drawers full of drawers. Why the hell do you have so many panties? I’ve actually asked this question before. I know so many ladies who prefer to rock sweats with no drawers on at all if they can get away with it. And when I ask this question, the typical reply is “They were on sale.”
I’m serious. And I know there’s some people reading this post who are guilty of this. Victoria’s Secret panties sell for damn near $6 a piece. I know ladies with 40-50 pairs of these things. Most of them don’t even get worn. What do you need that much underwear for if you’re doing laundry once a week?
Better carry your ass to Wal-Mart and hook up this 3 pack of Hanes and call it a day.
My guy friends are just as guilty. Mostly with guns.
Them: “Just got a fresh nine.”
Them: “Gotta good deal on it.”
Lemme get this straight. You have three hand guns and an assault rifle. You have two hands. Worst case scenario comes around and you will be able to use two. Bullets aren’t cheap. Gun enthusiasts love visiting the range. They love gun shows. On top of that, they’ve got subscriptions to gun magazines and read articles about the newest guns coming out, etc…
Sales are consumer bait. Just like coupons. The only difference is that they’re targeting a slightly different demographic.
It’s only a “deal” if you spend less than market value on something that you actually need. I can see the need for having a firearm. One. Firearm. Anything more than that is excess and you’re blowing money on something silly.
Sales and coupons are perfect advertising for our consumerist society. These schemes get you to the store and to the mall. You may go for the sale but you end up shopping in a variety of stores. You may buy things that you have coupons for but you still end up buying things that you don’t. And more than likely, you’re going to spend much more that you intended.
If you’re looking to save money, it’s likely that couponing and sales at the mall are going to hurt more than help. It comes down to how much you would like to save and what you’re willing to do to save.
Buy what you’re going to eat. Make your own meals. Stay away from things that aren’t good for you. Think of your body as a machine and maintenance it properly. Make your own cleaning supplies. Warm soapy water is going to clean over half your home just fine. Maybe throw in a little bleach if you want max germ killing power.
What about sales at the mall?
No. Just don’t do it. If you really need clothes, wait until the off-season. It’s going to be cheaper to buy a swim suit in winter or a jacket in summer. Be smart. Things that seem too good to be true usually are.