Saturday, April 7, 2012

Why I Quit Couponing

Before we begin, you really should understand that I'm not bashing couponers! You should also know where I'm coming from: I'm a pastor's wife and working mother of three with about an hour commute each day, and it's important for me to do my best in those capacities.

For the past three years, I've been an educated, committed, accordion file maintaining couponer.  For some reason, my average savings dropped from almost 50% three years ago to only 30% now. While that's great, it isn't enough to "Wow" me. The bottom line is that the savings I've been seeing wasn't  motivating me to invest the time required for me to purchase papers, organize inserts, develop coupon match-up lists, and cut out coupons. Therefore, my coupon trips slowed to only once a month, so the money I was investing in maintaining multiple inserts began to be wasted as more and more inserts were expiring before I used the coupons in them. 

I knew I needed to make a decision. I began to pray about quitting couponing, since I believe God is interested in every choice we make. My question wasn't whether or not couponing was bad, but rather was it right for my family in this season of our lives?

Soon afterward, I made a trip to a wholesale club and realized...
  • the unit prices were about what I would spend with coupons - not better, just about the same
  • the cost for an annual membership was a lot less than the cost of all the papers I bought each year
  • shopping there instead of couponing would save all the time I'd put toward maintaining the file, preparing the lists and cutting the coupons
  • I could actually save on brands we're loyal to but that rarely have coupons.

I believed I had an answer to my prayer and committed then and there to stop couponing. I was surprised to experience guilt over possibly not being a good steward of my family's resources. But that was ridiculous, given how close the savings from shopping at the wholesale club was to shopping with coupons. I got over that soon enough, but then I felt this silly burden of finding a good home for my accordion file and all those inserts. God laid someone on my heart, and you wouldn't believe how attached I'd become to that thing! It truly felt like I was letting someone adopt my pet. I pulled it together though and went through with it, leaving it and couponing behind me! I'm much happier without them!

I still appreciate a good coupon and use them whenever it's convenient, but I no longer depend on them to save money on groceries. Maybe another time, another place, but this is what's right for us now!


Stacy Uncorked said...

Oh good, I'm not the only one that decided not to go crazy with coupons - I do half my grocery shopping at BJ's (like a Costco or Sam's Club) and they send out a monthly coupon book that I'll flip through - and if I see something that I know I'll be getting on my next grocery run there, I'll clip it. I consider coupons that I happen across as a nice perk - and a blessing. ;)

Mikki said...

I wondered if I was the only one! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. It is nice to hear your comment, "...another time, another place..." I have felt guilty about not couponing now and I have to let that go. With 5 kids, master's program, husband, home... I can't devote the time to it. I also shop quite a bit at wholesale stores, try to get good deals, shop sales and consignmen stores and like the other comment, consider whatever coupons I do use and the money saved an extra blessing. Thank you! Thank you! for sharing your story.

Mikki said...

Thank YOU for sharing your story. I so wish we could get this message out to others. There are probably quite a few of us who, trying to be good stewards, jumped on the bandwagon and found that it was just too much! I was quite shocked by the guilt (definitely self-imposed) I struggled with when I decided to let it go. God bless you and yours.