Yesterday, at my favorite grocery store, I used a coupon for the very first time. I felt a little funny doing it, since coupons are absolutely not my thing, but I had found a really great one somewhere on the world-wide web: $10 off a purchase of $50. So I bought the real Parmesan (evidently I can’t save money without immediately allocating it elsewhere!) and called it a day.
I started talking to the guy bagging my groceries, and I asked him about coupons. “Sure, people come in here with a file folder stuffed with coupons but nobody saves $10 like you just did. Their savings never really add up to much.”
That statement just cemented my stance against coupons.
Here are the reasons I don’t typically bother with coupons:
- The opportunity cost of clipping: I have a part-time work-from-home job that pays $15/hr, which is the smallest value of my time. So, any hour I spend clipping coupons would have to be an hour where I get $15, and I know that’s just not likely.
- Coupon categories: Usually, when I see a coupon, it’s for things I wouldn’t normally buy. The things I buy at the grocery store are produce, meat, and dairy. Period. Canned tomatoes, if I’m making something Italian. Since I don’t buy things from boxes, that makes me outside the target market for companies that offer coupons.
- The grocery store is my splurge area: I love spending money at the grocery store, and I love being able to feed myself and my friends great food without feeling guilty. I don’t want to be motivated by a 55 cent savings, I want to be inspired by food magazines and food blogs. I do look for savings at the grocery store (bacon vs pancetta is the first example that comes to mind) but I’m not motivated solely by slips of paper in my hand (or purse).
- My purse is already borderline hobo: Camera, notebook, sometimes the Kindle Fire… I do NOT need another forty pieces of paper in my bag!
- I like to feel like I’m in charge. There, I said it. I’m the boss of me. Coupons, you’re not the boss of me!