Most of us have used coupons at least once in our lives. Many families rely on them every time they head out on a shopping trip in order to stretch their buck as far as possible. Of course, there are also those who proudly wear the title “Extreme Couponer” — but have you ever thought about how chasing those deals could be costing you more money in the long run?
It probably seems counterintuitive to say the coupons we clip from our newspapers and ads mailed to our home could actually cost you more, but it’s true. There are three issues in particular you should always take into consideration before heading to the checkout: whether you’re buying things you actually need, whether you’re spending more just to meet the dollar amount on a deal, and whether the bundled items being sold at a cheaper price together will even last long enough to make it worth buying.
Buying Things You Don’t Need
When we something that’s discounted with a coupon, our brains instantly start to buzz about how much we “need” that in our homes. Although we might be spending less money on that item (unless the store has done the old “hike the price before putting it on sale” trick), but it’s still money we probably would not have spent at all otherwise. Even on small items, this can add up to a huge chunk of change that you might wish you still had when something you really do need pops up — not just things that seemed like a good deal in the moment.
Spending More to Reach a Dollar Amount
This is when you find coupons and sales offering things like “20 percent off if you spend $50 or more.” That is obviously going to make you wonder if you should try hitting that price point in order to potentially save more — especially if the discount is offered on across all the items instead of just one. Again, unless you’re stocking up on things you know you and your family will actually need, this is just another way to waste money on items that will ultimately clutter up your home.
Buying Bundled Items That Will Expire
This one is probably the easiest one to fall for — how many “two for one” deals have you gotten at the grocery store, only to watch that produce wither away before you actually got the chance to make any good of the deal? Even if you’re stocking up on non-perishable items, how often are you really going to make the same can of beans for your meals? Sure, this can come in handy when you need an emergency stash of food (or canned food drives roll around), but you could ultimately be throwing cash out the window.
All of that said, you shouldn’t feel like you need to ignore coupons entirely. There are occasions where special deals can save you in the long run, it just takes a few extra moments of consideration to make sure. If you’re looking for a more reliable way to save money while shopping, though, you might want to look into the loyalty programs available at your favorite stores.