Why I Failed at Couponing

About a year ago, I shared a post all about my shiny new coupon binder. I was so excited and dead set on becoming a great couponer. I thought that soon I would be getting steals and deals on everything I picked up at the grocery store. Unfortunately, I did a few things along the way that didn't make this an easy or a successful process. Today, I'm going to tell you why I failed at couponing.

1. I thought it would be easy. 
I knew that couponing would be a time intensive process, with all the gathering, cutting and organizing of coupons, but I assumed that I would have the process down in a week or two. There are so many great resources out there for people who want to get into couponing, but unfortunately, there aren't very many for my area. Wyoming sometimes has different deals and sales than other states. I would often get excited for a deal I had seen advertised on a website, only to find myself later disappointed that it wasn't the same in my area. 

2. I didn't fully commit. 
I wasn't sure how successful I would be at the whole couponing process. This meant that I would only buy two newspapers from outside the doughnut shop on Sunday morning. I did look into ordering newspapers, but I just never got around to actually doing it. This meant that if I wanted coupons from the Sunday paper, I had to get up every Sunday morning and drive to a newspaper dispenser with my quarters. I'm sure you can figure out how long that lasted! 

3. I have limited store options. 
My little town only has a Walmart, a Safeway, an Albertsons, and a Kmart. Oh yeah, and a Staples. Those are the only stores that I ever found coupons useful for. I desperately wanted to take advantage of the Target coupons I would find, but the closest one is about an hour away. Also, only having one of every store means that if they are out of an item, there aren't any other locations to check. That's it. 

4. I'm kind of a brand snob. 
Okay, I actually have to blame this one on my husband. Before we got married, I would easily switch around between brands. Let's just say he has very special taste buds that can only be satisfied with the correct brand. To be fair, I have become just as picky as he is. This makes it difficult when you're trying to take advantage of sales. 

5. I prefer fresh foods over boxed or processed. 
Let's face it, a majority coupons for chain grocery stores are for boxed or processed foods. I found myself buying foods that we wouldn't normally have purchased, simply because I had a coupon for it. I'm not saying that there aren't coupons for healthier and fresher foods, but they are much harder to come by in my area. 

6. I don't have kids. 
This might seem like a strange reason to list for failing, but the fact is, when you are only feeding two instead of a family, you don't need to stock up on things the same way. For some perishable items, if you don't go through them fast enough, it's a waste of money. Also, we aren't buying things like diapers or baby formula. When it's just two adults, you begin to realize how many coupons are for kids' snacks or products for a family. 

7. I don't have to coupon. 
I don't say this to brag, but simply to point out that financial necessity plays a huge role in how motivated you are to succeed at couponing. The truth is, we don't need coupons to afford our groceries. I was just hoping to save money on food items so we could have a little extra for fun things that we have to skip out on normally. Who doesn't want to have their cake and eat it too? The fact that it wasn't necessary for me to coupon allowed me to majorly slack off. 

It turns out I was just not made to be a coupon queen. That's okay with me, but if you're hoping to be more successful at it than I was, take note of my mistakes. Try to find online resources for your area, and don't give up if it's important to you!

**Update** Since receiving a large amount of discussion due to this blog post, I'd like to clear a few things up. I don't consider my small savings from coupons a failure. I claim that I failed at "couponing" because I don't consider the act of using a coupon now and then to save money the same as being a "couponer" who won't buy things unless they can match a sale and a coupon to stock up on the item. This post was written to explain why I felt that the "coupon queen" style of couponing just wasn't working for me. I will always check for coupons when I'm purchasing my weekly groceries, but I won't be creating my shopping lists based around the sales. I hope this makes sense, and that this clears a few things up. 


Anonymous said...

1. It is easy at least to me ...i dont have a lot of free time so i just sit down hopefully 1 sometimes 2 nights a week and clip what i need while i sneak in a little tv ...i dont use a binder seems like a time waster to me and as far as deal im lucky to have a great blog in my area

2. You do have to commit ...must get the paper delivered or be willing to make the trek sunday morning ...i do delivery ...not a morning person and papers sell out quick here

3. I never shop walmart and barely target ...we have 4 major grocey chains here and 3 double coupons so thats where i go ...also cvs and walgreens or whatever drug stores you may have have some great deals too

4. I used to be more of a brand snob than i am now ...well about most things ...have actually found some brands that i like better than what i thought i did ...but its hard when you live with someone picky

5. It is much harder to find coupons for fresh foods ...i just always by whats on sale ...we do eat pretty healthy i think ...and i have used a ton of coupons for yogurt, cheese, milk, nuts, healthy ceral, oatmeal, ww bread, pickles, frozen veggies - not my favorite thing but i like to keep on hand for when i just dont have time or desire to put in more effort

5. Just two of us here too ...if its something we eat a lot of i buy as much as i can when its a good deal ...example i love dried fruit so if there is a sale i use every coupon i can get my hands on ...never buy more than three papers myself but have a few people i can get a few more from ...also at one time we had about 12 bottles of shampoo all the our normal brand and all under a dollar ...just kept finding sales and coupons and couldnt pass it up ...i tend to stock up more on personal care items, paper goods, stuff like that than food ...razors for example always seem to be a really good deal at the first of summer and i havent had to buy any since

7. I dont have to coupon either but i love saving money ...i do it really makes me happy to walk out of any store really and save more than i spent ...it also really nice to have a little extra for other things so enjoy my monthly massage a little more cause my grocery savings paid for it ...or a fancy dinner whatever

Unlikely Oilfield Wife said...

Most of your reasons is why I could never get into couponing mode when the whole world seemed to be. I avoid the center aisles of the grocery store as much as possible, and it seems like that's where everything that's on sale is.

Not to mention I don't want to end up like one of those women hoarding 100's of bottles of dishwashing liquid :)

Anonymous said...

I couponed starting last year--even though my family earned over $200k. It was part of a financial crash diet I underwent. In one year, I wiped out all of my credit card debt and $35k in student loans (saving me $60k in interest over the life of my loan.) So it works if you're committed.

Just use the coupons and deals that work for your situation.