There are definitely some couponing misconceptions and myths circulating. You may have even believed a couple of them. Well, I’m here to set the record straight! Here are eight couponing myths—busted!
Myth #1: Generic brands always cost less than name brands, even with coupons.
While it may be true that generic brands are cheaper if you plan to pay the retail value, any extreme couponer knows that doubling up on store sales and manufacturer coupons can make name brands seriously cheaper than generic brands. For example, let's say Generic Cereal X retails for $2.50 and Name Brand Cereal Y retails for $4.00. If the store is offering a buy one, get one (BOGO) special on Cereal Y and you have two $1.00-off coupons for Cereal Y, you'll only pay $1.00 a box. It takes a little math and patience, but it's easy to see how savvy shoppers get bargains on name brands.
Myth #2: It takes hours and hours each week to coupon.
Thanks to shows like Extreme Couponing, everyone thinks that couponing needs to be a 40-hour-a-week job. In reality, you can spend as much or little time as you like clipping coupons, organizing them, checking out sales circulars, and making your list. For instance, at KCL, we always list hot deals at a variety of stores such as Target, Walmart and Walgreens. Even if all you do is clip some coupons and follow KCL's suggestions, you'll be ahead of the game…and you won't have to quit your job to save money.
Myth #3: If I coupon, it means I'm admitting I can't afford groceries.
A lot of people have been brought up under the assumption that couponers must be living hand-to-mouth. Actually, coupon users come from all walks of life and social strata. A well-off lawyer living in a large home may be just as fanatical about couponing as a college student living on a meager income. Using coupons isn't about declaring poverty; it's about being a good steward of your wealth.
Myth #4: I have to go to tons of stores to make couponing worth it.
Okay, we admit that you'll be able to score more freebies and brag-worthy deals if you go to at least three different stores each week. However, we know that's not always possible. Besides, even if you can reduce your grocery bill by 10% each week, that money will add up. A family that spends $150 a week will save almost $800 a year by adopting a 10% savings rule. That's not exactly pocket change!
Myth #5: There's no good place to find coupons except the paper.
Once upon a time, it was a bit challenging to find coupons in places other than the Sunday paper. The Internet has made couponing much simpler. Sites like Coupons.com and RedPlum.com offer printable coupons, as do many brand websites, social media pages and text campaigns. If you're not finding coupons, you're not looking hard enough. (Need some help? Check out our coupons page!)
Myth #6: Most of the coupons are for stuff I won't use.
Never say never when it comes to coupons! We've found coupons for everything from milk to fresh produce, and organics to orange juice. Even if you have dietary restrictions, we bet you can find some coupons.
Myth #7: Stores know you use coupons, so they just increase their prices.
We cannot guarantee that no store uses this tactic, but we can assure you that they aren't making it impossible to save. It's estimated that a tiny percent of coupons are ever actually used, so stores know that they probably aren't going out of business because of couponing enthusiasts. Besides, most people buy other things without coupons, so the stores figure if they can get you in the door with some good deals, they can encourage you to splurge on other items while you're there. Resist the temptation, and you'll come out on top!
Myth #8: Coupons encourage you to buy too much.
This presumes that you have no free will of your own, which is untrue. As we have often said at KCL, the key to being a responsible couponer is to buy what you need. If 700 jars of mayo isn't needed, we're going to assume you won't get them just because you can. On the other hand, if your family goes through 5 bottles of shampoo a month, getting 15 bottles for pennies apiece doesn't seem like a bad investment at all.
In the end, it's up to you to decide how and when to coupon. Just make sure you base your decisions on fact, not fiction.
This is a guest post by Angelique from Camp Hill, PA.