Coupons are a great way to save money on anything from groceries to to electronics to domain names.
But if you’re not careful, coupons can actually have an adverse effect on your budget. How so?
If you rack up the impulse buys while you’re shopping, you’ll defeat the savings purpose of using your coupon.
One of the funniest memories I have of my mom is that she could never go into any store and purchase just one thing. She would always return to the car with her arms full.
My wife, on the other hand, is very savvy when it comes to using coupons. She’s as sturdy as an oak.
$10 Off? You’re Asking for Trouble
We get a JC Penney coupon in the mail about every 2 months. This coupon is good for $10 off any purchase of $10 or more.
Wow, sounds like free money doesn’t it? But they know that 99% of the population using that coupon will spend more than $10.
This is an amazing coupon if you can control your spending. But if you have trouble putting a limit on yourself when you’re out shopping, then coupons like these present a dangerous threat to your otherwise healthy budget.
If a retail store can get you to walk through their doors, then they’ve won half of the battle.
Retail stores issue coupons because they want to give you a reason to shop with them. They are betting that you are going to spend more than just what the coupon offers.
My wife amazes me with these coupons. She can stroll into JC Penney, pick out something we need for $10, and walk out without paying a cent (ok, maybe some tax, but that’s it).
Although they offer savings, coupons are similar to cash back credit cards because the issuing company is betting that you’ll spend more money than what they are offering in return.
Stay Away From Unnecessary Purchases
Even if you’ve somehow found a coupon for it, an unnecessary purchase is still an unnecessary purchase.
I watched about 5 minutes of an extreme couponing show before I had to change the channel. It was too frustrating watching these ladies use 40 coupons for 40 jars of mustard. Sure, they saved 90% off of their total bill, but about 90% of their purchases were unnecessary items.
[Soapbox Moment: And now grocery stores are cancelling their double and triple coupon programs because of these extreme couponers. Why can't they just put a limit on the number of coupons you can use per item? It's like the wild kid in class is ruining recess for all of us all over again.]
Whether at the grocery store or the gadget store, purchasing unnecessary items, even when using a coupon, should always be considered overspending. And we all know what overspending leads to . . . a financial nightmare.
Use coupons for what you need or what you already have budgeted for, but stay away from unnecessary purchases just because a coupon shows up in your mailbox.
It’s Time to Turn the Tables
Control the coupons, and don’t let the coupons control you.
Instead of going crazy with a $10 coupon, walk out of the store with your head held high and your free merchandise.
When Bed Bath and Beyond offers 20% off of one item, leave the store with one item.
Instead of being controlled by excess, stick to your budget, save money with a wise coupon strategy, and stay in control of your financial universe.
Photo By Lomo-Cam