I have a confession to make: I am not really much of a coupon clipper. I keep meaning to clip more coupons, and I know that coupons have been making a comeback since the recession, but it never seems to happen. Occasionally I’ll see a coupon for something I want or will use, and I’ll get it, but most of my coupon savings amount to $1 here and $0.50 there. Nothing like what you see from those extreme couponers who walk out of the grocery store having spent $50 on $200 worth of groceries. I just don’t have the time or energy for that — or I choose to use my time and energy on other things.
So, once again, as I resolve to clip more coupons, I find myself wondering whether or not it is even worth it to bother. I guess depends on what’s important to you. In a lot of cases, effective couponing requires that you take the time to scour web sites, newspapers, inserts and mailed packets for items that you would buy anyway. It also sometimes means coordinating with circulars to see whether you can double up on your savings with the help of sales and double coupons. For some, couponing is a part-time job. And, if you can save money couponing, I think that’s great. But a lot of the time, I’m not sure it’s for me. I don’t know if I’m prepared to trade my precious time to save a few dollars with coupons. I’m a big fan of coupon/promo codes online, but I don’t spend time looking for them. (Usually, a quick glance at Coupon Shoebox is enough for me).
Can You Still Be Frugal Without Coupons?
Of course, many people believe that couponing is one of the pillars of a frugal lifestyle. There are some that insist that you really aren’t frugal unless you are pinching every penny that you get. And what better way than through coupons?
While I like the occasional coupon, active couponing isn’t really my thing. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t be frugal. Just as I believe that you can incorporate credit cards into a frugal lifestyle, I also believe that you can live frugally without relying on coupons. Frugal living is about more than just pinching pennies. It is also about:
- Getting good value for your money.
- Doing some things yourself, rather than paying someone else to do them.
- Looking for discounts and sales, especially when buying bulk.
- Buying high quality goods that last longer and save you money in the long run.
- Living in a budget conscious way.
While couponing can help you reach your goals of frugal living, it isn’t a necessity — and it isn’t the only path to frugality. We have a garden each year, growing some of our own food. My husband and I look for good deals, finding ways to get items of good quality for the best prices. We also like to look for inexpensive things to do as a family, and find discounts using the Internet. We stock up on non-perishables during sales, and we freeze some foods for use later. In the end, we do pretty well in terms of frugality, even without coupons.
What about you? Do you use coupons as part of your frugal lifestyle? Or do you think they are more trouble than they are worth?