Anyone who is on a tight budget knows that coupons can be a wonderful way to save money. Sometimes saving an extra dollar or two can make a huge difference in your weekly finances. While coupons definitely have a lot of benefits, they also have some downsides. Most of the time, the downsides of coupons tend to happen to people who don’t use coupons all that often or who are easily swayed into buying something that they really don’t need. Here are ten reasons not to use coupons:
Encourage Over Buying
Some supermarkets or retail stores hope that their coupons will force you to overbuy. For instance, they may offer a “$5 off a $25 purchase” hoping that you’ll spend at least $25 in order to get that $5 off. While $5 off your total purchase seems like a great deal, it’s not so great if you stopped into the store with the intention of only spending $5 or $10. Sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into spending the extra amount just so you can use that coupon. But if you’re spending that much just to use a coupon, then you’ve become victim to the store’s attempt to get you to overspend.
Not Always a Good Deal
Have you seen those “buy two, get one free” coupons? These coupons are tricky since it seems like you’re getting a great deal. But the coupon is actually forcing you to buy three items which you may not actually need. Let’s say that one of these coupons is a package of cookies that’s $4. You need to spend $8 in order to get a third $4 package for free. Now, if you’re going to use all three packages of cookies before they go stale, that’s great! But if not, then you’re just buying more than you really need.
You Buy Items You Don’t Need
There are quite a few people who will buy something just because they have a coupon for the item. Of course, not everyone who uses coupons is like this. But for those who are, it might be hard for them to resist the temptation to buy that $2.50 jar of special, imported pasta sauce just because they clipped a $1 off coupon for it. If you’re someone who is easily tempted by impulse purchases you need to be very careful of what coupons you clip and how you use them.
Pre-Packaged, Processed Food
If you flip through the Sunday paper you’ll notice that many of the food-related coupons tend to be for pre-packaged or processed foods. There are rarely any coupons for fresh produce. And while there might be coupons for healthier alternatives, those coupons aren’t usually as great of a deal as their unhealthy counterparts. These types of coupons are great if you tend to buy a lot of processed foods, but if you don’t it’ll end up being frustrating to try and find coupons for the items you use.
For Brand Name Items
Anyone who has clipped coupons or printed them online has probably noticed that coupons usually tend to be only for brand name items. There are rarely coupons for generic products or store brand products. This is partly because the manufacturer’s of the brand name products want to encourage you to buy more of their product and that encouragement comes in the form of coupons. However, sometimes the generic counterpart is cheaper even after you use the coupon for the brand name product.
Clipping a couple of coupons from the weekly paper won’t be that time consuming but if you’re really dedicated to couponing, it can take up a serious amount of time. There are some people who clip dozens upon dozens of coupons a week and even have spreadsheets on the best stores to save money and how they want to go about their weekly shopping and coupon saving. Those methods can be great if you have the time and energy, but if you’re constantly on the go or have very little time, couponing might not be right for you.
Have you ever read the fine print on a coupon? If not, you’re not alone. A lot of people tend to avoid the fine print on any type of item. But sometimes the fine print on coupons will end up giving you more hassle than it’s worth. Some coupons might say they can only be used at certain stores or some might say that you need to buy 5 items in order to use the $1 off coupon. Don’t get caught at the checkout handing over a coupon that ends up causing you a headache.
Most coupons have expiration dates in order to encourage people to buy that product immediately. Have you ever stuffed a coupon away, forgotten about it, found it again, and then panicked because the expiration date was coming up? Sometimes the expiration date might cause you to buy an item you don’t need at the time just because you don’t want to coupon o go to waste.
Some Stores Don’t Allow Coupons
It may seem strange, but there are stores that don’t allow coupons. These tend to be stores that aren’t part of a national or regional chain. If you have coupons, you can use them at stores that accept them (obviously). But if you’re only surrounded by stores that don’t accept coupons – even manufacturer’s coupons – then you’ve wasted all that time clipping and saving for nothing.
Sometimes coupons can lead to stockpiling or hoarding. This may only happen if you’re extreme about couponing, but some people have been known to buy 10 bottles of ketchup because it was on sale or they had enough coupons to get it for free. This is great if you’re going to use 10 bottles of ketchup, but if not they’re just going to sit in your pantry and waste away. Just because your coupon says “limit 10” doesn’t mean you actually need to buy 10 items.