Friday, May 25, 2012

Does Couponing Make Me Spend More?

I had a very successful Sunday.  I worked a short shift at job #3, which gets me time-and-a-half pay; there's a Target and a Trader Joes on my way home so I can run errands without making a special trip; and I get first dibs on the Sunday coupons and circular.

I actually wasn't planning to go to Target at all this week, but I had coupons for Morningstar Farms veggie burgers, which were also on sale; and I found coupons for tampons and liners that were on special ($.50 off) and came with a $5 giftcard for buying three.

All told, I saved $13 with coupons and sales plus got that giftcard to use on my next trip, but I still left the store having spent all the money I'd earned that afternoon, and I strangely felt like a bit of a sucker.  Even the cashier was impressed by my deal-getting, she complimented my organization and significant savings, but as I tried to find a place to stash all the tampons once I got home, I couldn't help but feel downtrodden, which really has me surprised.

I can't figure out if I'm bummed because I didn't allow myself to stray from my list and get anything fun, or if I'm just sick of spending money right now, but I think it's the latter.  I mean, think about it.  Usually Morningstar Farms veggie burgers retail for about $3.50/box. I actually rarely buy them because they're more than I like to pay.  Right now, they're on sale for 2 boxes for $6 AND I had one coupon for $1 off a box and another for $.55 off a box.  Usually the only coupons you can find for Morningstar are for $1 off two boxes.  Really, I should be ecstatic.  I've already saved $2.50 and I have two more $1 off coupons, plus I really, really like veggie burgers, and I have a deep freeze to store them all in, but I just feel kind of meh about the whole thing.
These are not my groceries, and who would ever need
that many bags of marshmellows?
I'm not one of those people who goes nutso about coupons.  I rarely use coupons to try new foods, and I usually only clip the ones for things I would buy anyway, but I feel like I've slipped into a couponing vortex and I'm just spending spending spending with no end in sight--because why would there be, there are new coupons every week.

But if I'm only buying things I would anyway, or only buying things I would only buy with a coupon, am I really spending more, or just taking advantage of the deals available to me?  Does it really matter how significant my savings are if I'm unhappy with my credit card balance?  When I was unemployed and desperately trying to be in control of something, I spent hours couponing and scouring circulars.  I went to the grocery store up to four times a week, and sure, I got some great deals, but I also spent a ton of money.

Either way, I'm glad my time as fill in librarian at the two Target-adjacent libraries is coming to a close.  Even if it's a score to save $.50 on my favorite brand of toilet paper, I think I'd rather just put off that trip and maybe pay full price.


  1. Well, coupons come from advertisers . . . .

  2. You ask some really good questions and make a great point! You saved some money, yes, but you spent money to save it... Hmm.

  3. I used to coupon all the time and have found that I spend less money (overall) by simply buying things when I need them and not stocking up.