I have a little confession to make. I’m not using coupons like I used to. Don’t get me wrong. I do still love a great deal and strive to save money. But the use of coupons is changing in my mind.
When I started using coupons effectively five years ago my husband and I were expecting my first son. We were on a very strict budget. My husband was in full time graduate school. In order to stay at home with our child (which was our goal) I had to quit my job. That’s all great until you realize you won’t be bringing in income for an entire year. My husband had a significant scholarship and we had savings. We were able to live an entire year on savings alone and accrue no debt for one reason.
I learned to use coupons.
We couldn’t change our rent payment or our car payment. I could, however, drastically reduce the amount of money I was spending on groceries. And coupons were the way to do that. I started using coupons at Harris Teeter in Virginia Beach where super double coupons happened. Amazing!
And while I still teach classes on how to use coupons, have a video series about coupons and list coupon matchups every week – the way I’m saving money is changing.
Here’s five reasons why I’m using less coupons but still saving money.
1. We lost our double coupons at most stores.
While major stores will tell you that you’ll save just as much with lower prices – double coupons do make a difference. When you have a $0.75 coupon it means you’re saving $1.50 off an item. You just can’t beat that. Losing our doubles at Kroger and Meijer meant that I visited those stores less often. I just didn’t get as much for my money which allowed me to use other resources.
2. I’m eating healthier.
The reality is that a lot of coupons are for boxed products. I don’t buy as many granola bars or snacks like I used to. I even discovered that my family does not like cereal. (I know!) I was the only one eating it. They would rather have a piece of peanut butter toast. Because of that I haven’t had to worry about those specific coupons. At the same time, I’m buying more fruits and vegetables and I have yet to see a coupon for celery.
3. I’m not using as many cleaners.
I bought Mrs. Meyers all purpose cleaner a few years ago and it’s been keeping me from buying other cleaning supplies. Yes, I still buy our Finish dish detergent but that’s about it. I don’t spend any money on other cleaners so there’s no reason to clip a coupon for it. I also use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning and they cost much less with or without a coupon.
4. I buy more online.
I buy all our toilet paper and diapers online. Because of the savings, I don’t need to worry about looking for sales on those items to use a coupon. It’s actually really nice to get these in bulk delivered to my door. Score!
5. I shop at Aldi.
Aldi has become the primary place for me to shop. I love it’s simplicity and efficiency. It’s a smaller store which I like when shopping with both of my boys. They don’t take coupons so I get the same great prices without having to worry about coupons. We don’t find everything we need there, but I’m able to buy about 90% of it just at Aldi. We buy all our meat from Buehler’s or we use the meat from our cow.
Don’t get me wrong. I still use coupons. I still use the coupon database because I am so specific as to what I use my coupons for. But I wouldn’t be totally transparaent with you if I didn’t share the way coupon usage is changing in my life. I’m still having a blast saving money for my family. It just looks different.
What about you? Do you use lots of coupons each week? Have you changed the way you’re saving money?