Can Clipping Coupons Ruin Your Grocery Budget


Will you really save money by spending more?

Coupon clipping is a popular way for many individuals and families to save money. There are times that you could save hundreds of dollars on one shop. However, they also lure people into spending more money and buying things they don't need, just for the sake of a few bucks. Those coupons could actually ruin your grocery budget if you're not careful.

Saving Money on Coupons

If you were going to buy something anyway and happened to come across a coupon for it, using that coupon will save you money. You could find a coupon for a set amount off or a buy one get one free deal. However, you need to check the details of the coupons before you even think about using them.

You will sometimes need to buy something to get the coupons, whether it is a newspaper or magazine. Does the cost of that paper or magazine outweigh the benefit of the coupon? It hinders your overall shop if it does.

Buying Items You Don't Need

Coupons can draw you in to spend more than you budgeted for, in the hope of saving money. You may have to spend a set amount for some money off or buy a specific item to get something for free.

In the first case, you risk spending more than you would outright. It's important to check the current amount of your groceries and determine whether you will save more than the extra you end up spending. For example, you shouldn't spend $15 more to save $10. You have ruined your budget by $5. On the other hand, if you spend an extra $10 to save $15, you have saved $5; as long as you needed the items.

To spend the extra, you may find yourself pulled into buying items that you don't really need. You may even have coupons that involve buying something you don't need to save money on something else. It's extra money being spent, and that other item is likely going to waste.


How much goes to waste when you use coupons to buy groceries?

Spend Money to Buy Coupons

One trick for some websites is to get you to pay for the coupons. This could be a small booklet of them or it could be one or two small coupons towards your grocery shop. In many cases, you don't know the value of the coupons before you spend the money, and could find yourself spending more of your grocery budget for nothing.

The Time Wasted Searching

It's not always about money, either. Searching for coupons takes time. You could find yourself spending seven hours searching through books, magazines and websites to save a few bucks. Is that time really that well spent? Could you have found something else to do that could have improved your grocery budget? You may have been able to do work online or sold a few items you no longer need instead.

Couponing isn't always the way to save money. It can ruin your grocery budget if you're not careful about it. You feel pressured to spend the money to be able to save a little, without really thinking whether you would have spent it in the first place.

Alexandria Ingham is a freelance writer with experience in personal finance, budgeting and shopping for a family.