Personal Finance

How to Waste Money Using Coupons

Coupons are a fantastic way to save big money on your grocery bill. If you coupon correctly and diligently, you can easily cut your bill by as much as 50%. For some families, this can be their saving grace. However, if you’re not careful, coupons can actually cause you to waste money and I don’t mean chump change.

How to Waste Money Using Coupons

 © karenkh / Dollar Photo Club

Couponing can easily become not only a habit, but an adrenaline “high” for a lot of people. It becomes a game to see just how many deals you can score, how much you can save and just how many cheap tubes of toothpaste you can pick up in a month.  The thing is though, each one of those items, free ones included, cost you money in some way, shape or form. Let’s take a look at how you can waste money using coupons.

I know that the very idea of a coupon wasting money seems odd. After all, coupons are printed so that people can save money. You personally use them to save money, right? Waste is not an easy thing to find sometimes and if you’re not on guard against it, it can sneak up on you. Wasting money with coupons comes in three very easily identified forms:

  1. Buying an item your family won’t need or use
  2. Buying an item just because you have the coupon
  3. Buying more of an item than your family can reasonably use

How many times have you gone to the store with your coupon binder or coupon box and saw a clearance item that you had a coupon for and picked up a few of those items? If you’re like most coupon users, I’m willing to bet that the answer is quite a few times. How many of those items did you need right then and there? Probably very few. Instead, the items probably sat in your pantry for a bit where they were either used finally, donated or even trashed because they were no longer any good. If your item falls into the last 2 uses, you wasted money.

How about the times you have bought an item just for the sake of using the coupon? This happens quite often and I’m also guilty of doing it. Sometimes, the item is something that no one will use! Why would you buy something that no one in your family will use? The coupon doesn’t make your family magically like that particular food or brand of shampoo. Instead, save the money and wait for another deal on your favourites.

How about when you’ve seen an item you do use on sale, but you buy more than what your family can reasonably use? If you have a family of three that doesn’t like ketchup, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to use 15 bottles before they all expire. Instead, pick up 3-4 and keep the rest of the money in your pocket.

When you’re using coupons, you need to be absolutely certain of a few things One, that your family will use the item you’re buying. Two, that they’ll use the amount you’re buying. Three, that you’re not just buying it because there is a coupon for it. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money.

Remind yourself that you don’t need to use every single coupon before it expires. Coupons cycle in and out each year. It’s totally fine to not grab every single deal. There will always be another deal and there will always be another coupon.

Check out my other posts about couponing and saving money: 17 ways to save money on groceries, how to save money on groceries with Checkout 51, why I’m not price matching anymore, how to price match with flyers, 10 sites to find coupons online in Canada, 20 ways to save money on electricity, how to save money shopping online and four apps to save money on groceries in Canada.

Have you ever wasted money couponing?

Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

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