Personal Finance

When Couponing Becomes Compulsive

Have you ever heard of compulsive couponing? A lot of people haven’t, but believe it or not, it is a “thing.” Couponing has a certain draw to it that if you’re not careful, it can easily take over your life and your budget. When couponing becomes compulsive, it can lead to the same problems that a gambling addiction can and when that happens, it can have devastating consequences.

When Couponing Becomes Compulsive

© karenkh / Dollar Photo Club

I know that is a strong statement, but it’s true. Couponing can come with a “high” that rivals the same high that a person with a gambling addiction gets. The drive to get the deal, the need to hit the sales, the constant obsession over when the “right” deal will come out, the absolute need to get as many of the deal as you can and the need to constantly outdo themselves on the deals. It can easily become an addiction for some.

Like any addiction, compulsive couponing can destroy a family’s finances. Yes, you’re saving money with the coupons themselves, but you might also be spending money that you don’t have. Free coupon deals are truly rare these days so while you might only be spending $20.00 per trip, if that $20.00 per trip is earmarked for something else, you’re taking money from your family. For some though, it doesn’t stop at $20.00 per trip. There are couponers right now that hit the stores every single day, sometimes multiple times per day to get the deal. They make time in their day to do this and sometimes at the expense of other activities and their own families. If a couponer spends $20 per trip, every single trip, that could easily add up to the mortgage payment, car payment or more if they’re shopping enough.

If your couponing has gotten to this point, it’s time to do two things: 1. Realize that your couponing is compulsive and you may very well have an addiction and 2. Stop.

Sounds easy, right? For the compulsive couponer, it may not be, especially if they are truly addicted. They may need every bit of support they can get.

As I said earlier, I know that someone being addicted to couponing sounds silly, but it does happen. It just has never really been talked about since it does sound so silly, but just because something sounds silly doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. People once thought being addicted to beer or slots was silly too.

Traits of Compulsive Couponing

Do you recognize any of these traits in yourself or other loved ones?

  • Shops every day, sometimes multiple times per day.
  • Uses money that is budgeted elsewhere for coupon deals
  • “Has” to get the next deal
  • Compelled to beat the last deal they got (as in each deal has to be bigger and better)
  • Buys items that their family does not need or use (think diapers when they have no infants) and stores the items over donating them.
  • Gets agitated or upset at the thought of not couponing and/or stockpiling
  • Gets agitated or upset when someone mentions how often they coupon/how much they spend.
  • Is driven by the need to save for reasons other than financial necessity.
  • Is obsessed with the idea of couponing and dwells on it daily

I’m sure there are other traits, but someone who has the ones above are almost screaming that their couponing is a compulsion. If you’ve got someone in your life who is addicted in this way, sit them down and ask them how you can help them. Explain in very simple terms what you think is going on. There isn’t a Couponers Anon, but honestly? There probably should be.

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.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Did you know there was such a “thing” as compulsive 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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