Couponing either saves money or throws it away

In an effort to make it so that I don’t completely crash and burn after I graduate in four months, I decided over break to pick up some habits that might help the transition to adulthood a bit easier.

Even though I joke that the one thing I never want to be is a grown up, I’ve accepted the fact that, unless I want to live in my mom’s basement until I’m 40, I’ll probably have to start being more responsible… at least by the time I’m 39.

One thing  some people in my family have done, something that I never bothered looking into, is what many people call “couponing.” I figured since I’m going to start paying bills and such soon, I should look into saving a couple of bucks here and there. So I started looking over some of the coupons my mom gets.

Some of you have probably heard of shows like “Extreme Couponers” and similar things. While I definitely don’t take it that far, I learned a couple of things, from talking to my family and from drawing my own conclusions.

It would be deceiving to say that using coupons won’t be time consuming. It takes a lot of time, some might even call it a pain in the neck, but it saves you money if you do it the right way.

If anyone wants to look into using coupons, I recommend first making a list of what you need, then looking for coupons. Skipping this step might make you spend more money than you need to.

One problem I noticed with coupons is that a lot of times, the deals are that when you buy three of one item, you only save about a dollar. If it’s something that you normally buy and it’s nonperishable – such as dish soap, batteries or granola bars – then it may be worth buying three to save a dollar, granted that you have the room where you live.

But if that’s not the case then you may end up buying three gallons of milk and trying to drink it in two weeks. Or worse, you may end up buying something you don’t need just because you saved a dollar or two.

This is one way a lot of retailers get people to spend more money. If someone has a coupon, they could throw away $20 just because they save $10.

I’m not trying to say couponing doesn’t work, I think it can, as long as people use coupons to buy things they wanted in the first place – which is why my main point is make a list.

The other tricky thing about coupons is the expiration date. Some stores may take coupons a couple of days late, but most won’t. My advice with this is to go through the coupons you collect at the end of each week to know which ones are expired and which ones you need to use soon.

Like I said, I don’t have too much experience with this, since I’ve been doing it for less than a month, but I thought these were a couple of pointers that might keep you from making a couple of rookie mistakes.




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