Why I'm On The Fence About Using Coupons

While I like saving money as much as the next guy, I can’t say I’m really in the habit of using coupons. I do try to use them sometimes, but it often forces me to spend more or it just wastes time.

Now that I’m trying to eat healthier and avoiding processed foods, it seems harder than ever. When was the last time you saw a coupon for something like broccoli or spinach? Or what about organic food or free range meat? Instead it’s all the processed foods and sugar filled crap that they need help clearing out.

I think that in general coupons and promo codes for Canada are much harder to come by than US coupons. From what I’ve read on US blogs, it is typical for your Sunday newspapers to be full of coupons. That’s just not the case in Canada. I’m not sure why that’s the case. Perhaps that since there are far fewer newspapers, they might charge a high price for ads, making coupons on top of that price too costly. Or maybe a larger percentage of Canadians would take advantage of those coupons making them too expensive to publish in the paper.

Shopping online is a bit different since most of the big companies are in the US. I definitely take the time to find a coupon code when any website checkout form asks for one. It is just too easy to do a quick online coupon search which will uncover some decent coupon codes on sites like ChameleonJohn.com. So I have no problem spending 2 minutes to save 10% or more. The only catch is that coupon codes for free shipping may not apply to Canadian orders.

I guess I’m also a little disorganized about it all. Since I so rarely come across a coupon I would use, I put it in my junk drawer. If I’m lucky I remember it before it expires. More likely I dig through that drawer for something a year later only to find a bunch of outdated coupons to recycle.

I know the more hardcore coupon junkies keep big binders full of coupons that are all organized. I hope they use lots of those coupons, because that just sounds so time consuming. Rather than spend my spare time chasing savings of 50 cents or a dollar at a time, I prefer to put work into marketing my blog and other websites. If things go well, that should make far more money.

Of course if the coupon selection here improved I’d probably still jump on the bandwagon. I do use some for fast food when I feel the urge to sneak in some greasy food. Also I had bought an Entertainment book a while back. I’ve used that for some restaurants, an oil change and groceries.

The problem is that it encourages me to spend more which doesn’t work well when you’re on a major frugal streak. For example, to use the grocery coupons I need to spend at least $50, but I’ve got in the habit of doing mini $20-30 grocery shopping trips. It obviously worked out a lot better when I was actively hitting up the stores in the Entertainment Book.

In the past I was also a lot more willing to try different brands if there was a coupon, but that often led me to buying something that I just wasn’t satisfied with. Now that I’m getting older I’m more set in my ways. I end up paying a bit more to go with my trusted brands.

Maybe as Eddie from Finance Fox suggested, I’ll start using coupons while dating. I’m a bit hesitant about it, but would be a good test to see if the girl can accept frugality without judgement.

What’s your take on coupons? Do you regularly use them? If so, do you manage to save a lot of money? If not, how come?

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