Everyone talks about how great coupons are at helping you save money. Unfortunately, for many of us, coupons are not the source of savings, but rather of increased spending. Why does something intended to help us save money end up costing us? Simply because coupons are not actually designed to save money. They are a marketing tool used to get us to buy something we wouldn’t normally buy. For true everyday savings, it is necessary to look for real sales, and then buy. And if you must clip coupons, make sure you only get them for things you actually use.
How coupons cost you money
When it comes to personal finances and saving money, many mavens will recommend that you clip coupons. However, this only works if you are buying the item anyway. Most of us use coupons as an excuse to buy something we wouldn’t normally even think about buying on a regular basis. So, while you might have saved 55 cents on that “cool” new cleaning product, you actually spent $7.44 ($7.99-$0.55) you wouldn’t have normally spent. Go down the list of things you tried, but didn’t need to, and you could end up spending hundreds of dollars a year from clipping coupons.
Clipping coupons the right way
I’m not always against clipping coupons. If you do it right, it can add up to actual savings. I buy a certain brand of bread every week. The 60-cent coupons that regularly come with the loaf, and which I can use the following week, tranlates into $30 saved per year. Not a lot on its own, but add it to the coupons for my butter, and the occasional coupon that appears for the toothpaste I use, as well as other sundry items, and I can save hundreds of dollars a year. But I do it by only clipping coupons for products I would buy anyway. And that means some weeks the only coupon I use is for my bread.