Here it is….the myth I hear the most. Prepare to be busted!
Myth #1: It is less expensive to buy the generic rather than the name brand with a coupon.
I have heard many people say, “I spent time and cut out several coupons only to get to the store and realize the name brand product with the coupon is still more expensive than the generic version”. This person usually ends up buying the generic item and giving up on couponing. This is a tragic story that I hear all too often (and even went through it myself when I first started). Luckily I stumbled across a class that taught me how to coupon in a way that the brand name product will end up less expensive than the generic.
The first key to successful couponing is matching up the coupon with items when they are on sale and especially if they are producing some sort of reward back. For example; let’s say a name brand tooth brush costs $3 and that a generic toothbrush costs $1. I find a coupon for the name brand toothbrush that is $1 off. (You are thinking…buy the generic one! But wait!). The name brand toothbrushes are on sale at Rite Aid for only $1.50. Now I could use that coupon to buy my (originally $3) name brand toothbrushes for only .50 each! Now we are talking deal worthy, but it can get even sweeter. Many drugstores like Rite Aid often have deals where if you buy certain products you can earn reward money to spend on your next purchase. Let’s say in our scenario that Rite Aid is offering up a $1 Up Reward to spend on your next order when you buy 2 of the name brand toothbrushes. Now you can do a scenario like this.
· Name brand toothbrush = $3 per toothbrush
· Sale on toothbrush= $1.50 per toothbrush
· Use a coupon for $1 off= .50 per toothbrush
· Buy 2 toothbrushes for .50 each, use 2 $1 off coupons =$1 out of pocket and receive $1 to spend on your next purchase.
(Here is my favorite part of the deal!)
· Buy 2 more toothbrushes for .50 each, use 2 $1 off coupons = use the $1 reward that you just received and receive another $1 to spend on your next purchase.
You just spent $1 out of pocket for four toothbrushes (making them only $0.25 each and you still have $1 to spend on your next purchase. Now if you have more coupons, you could roll that $1 reward again to get more free toothbrush, or you can save it for a future purchase that will give you reward money back. We call this rolling the rewards! You can roll most catalinas and rewards. This is my favorite way to save money!
Myth #2: The savings is not worth the time invested.
One time I had just finished paying .50 for about $30 worth of groceries. I smiled at my accomplishment and said, “not a bad price!” to the cashier. He smiled and nodded as always. (Obviously impressed by my skills…ha ha)
The guy behind me in line says, “yeah, but how much time to spend to do that?”
I thought a bit and said, “about 15 minutes”. Then I walked proudly out to my car.
$30 savings for 15 minutes of work is well worth it to me! That averages out to be $160 per hour! Very worth my time!!
I do most of my coupon work at home in front of the TV in the evenings on the weekends. I probably spend on around 2 hours a week doing this. I would conservatively say that I save around $100 a week on groceries. It varies from week to week, but this is a conservative average. That averages out to be $50 per hour!! There is a great article written about the cost (or payoff) of couponing in the New York Times that estimates a couponer makes around $100 per hour. I would definitely say that the savings is worth my time invested.
Myth #3: There are never coupons for things I would actually use.
This makes me laugh when I hear people say this. I think, hmmm, you don’t use toothbrushes, toilet paper, produce, cereal, or cleaning supplies? The truth is there are coupons out there for just about every product. It is true that coupons cycle. This means that there may be a coupon out for a certain product for a couple of weeks, and then you won’t see it again for a couple of months. I assure you though, if there is a product that you use, chances are that there will be a coupon for it at some point!
Myth #4: There are only coupons for processed foods and junk foods.
Although less common, there are plenty of coupons out there for healthy food as well. Some I have seen recently are $1 off any 2 pound block of cheese, buy one get on free pomegranates, $1 off orange juice, and $1 off a loaf of bread just to name a few. There are websites that specifically have coupons for organic foods. Yes, there are plenty of coupons out there for “not so healthy” foods, but that does not mean you have to use those ones. Just because there is a coupon for something, does not mean you have to use it. There might not be as many coupons out there for healthy foods, but you might as well use the ones that are! There are also many coupons for toiletries and cleaning supplies. We can all use savings in those areas too!
Myth #5: People who use coupons end up spending more on other things at the store.
It is true that stores will put some items on sale and then hike up the prices on other items to balance out their losses from the sale items. There are two ways I avoid spending more on other items. First, I make a list and I am very careful to stick to my list. Before I step into a store, I know what I am going to buy, what coupons I am going to use, and how much I am going to spend. The other way I avoid impulsively buying a product that is not on my list is that I have learned what a good price on an item is (I will talk about how to do this more later). Just because it is on an end cap or has its price listed as a “sale price” does not mean it is a good price. So if I do get something that is not on my list I make sure it is at a good price and I try to find a coupon to match up with it too!
Myth #6: Only really “poor” people coupon.
This may have been the case at some point, but in today’s economy and with the rising cost of food, think it is more realistic to say that only really “smart” people coupon. I know many people who have started couponing to save money and then later ended up having a family member lose a job. They were very thankful that they had a stockpile and the skills to save on groceries to get them through those tough times. I also know some very wealthy people who coupon. Really, who doesn’t like to save money?
Myth # 7: Stores lose money by accepting coupons.
This is a myth that I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was not true. The fact is that stores make more money from people that use coupons than those who do not. How is that possible? Let me explain. The manufacturers distribute their coupons. The store then gets reimbursed for the amount of every coupon that they accept PLUS an $0.08 handling fee. It only costs the store about $0.04 to handle each coupon. This means that the store is making about $0.04 per coupon accepted more than a person buying the same product without a coupon. This makes for a win-win scenario for the store and the shopper!
Myth #8: My local stores do not double coupons, so I cannot get good deals.
While it is true that having a store that doubles coupons helps you to get more deals and build your stockpile a bit faster, it is not the only way to get good deals. In fact my best deals usually do not come from doubling coupons. I actually found my best deals have come from rolling catalinas and not having clipped any coupons! The truth is: anyone can save money with coupons, doublers or not!