Personal Finance

Can Coupons Cost You Money?


Coupons are supposed to save you money. Hoard and bookmark those online coupons, cut out and collect the printable ones, and redeem them to get big savings, right? Not necessarily. Coupons can actually cost you money rather than save you money. How’s that? Well let’s consider a few scenarios when this could happen.

Beware of Retailer Coupons

Retailers will issue coupons to lure you into their stores. Sometimes it’s a great way to discover new deals on stuff you need. On other occasions, you wind up making impulse purchases you might not need. Once again, don’t use retailer’s coupons unless you already have items from that store on your shopping list.

Before you decide to use a retailer coupon, comparison shop and check out other alternative stores to make sure that you’re getting the best deal. Also, take note of the case when you may have several coupons that you can’t use simultaneously. And realize that a 15% Macy’s promo code is worth less than a 25% in-store discount at Macy’s, so make sure to do the math.

But if used correctly, retailer coupons can translate to savings. If you’re interested in what some top retailers are offering, check out some of their latest promotional codes.

Let’s Just Try It Once

Unless you had plans to try a new product, don’t be lured into spending money just because you have a coupon. Manufacturers and retailers know that you can’t wait to try new goodies and therefore issue coupons as soon as new products hit the shelves. Don’t buy any merchandise unless you actually need and have the item on your list BEFORE the coupon is made available.

Buy One, Get One Free

Buy one, get one free coupons are great for items you use all the time. Large families and groups also benefit from using buy one, get one free coupons. On the other hand, it doesn’t pay if you’re unable to use the extra item. If you still want to experience the savings, consider donating any extra items so that they aren’t wasted. You might even qualify for a tax deduction if you donate several items at once.

Maybe We Will Like It

The fact is, we all have some type of brand loyalty. Our children refuse to drink certain juices. Our husbands prefer a particular mayonnaise on lunch sandwiches. We might like a certain brand of coffee in the morning. Why stray from a tried-and-true brand just to use a coupon? Spontaneously using a coupon (without planning) may actually cost you more than you think you’ll save.

I refuse to purchase stuff we don’t really like or need even if I happen to have a coupon for the item. I would rather trade this coupon for one I really want. I don’t like dumping juice down the sink or seeing coffee grounds sit in a can unused for six months. Sometimes a sure thing saves you more money in the long run.

I Don’t Need It, But I Can Really Save A Lot Right Now

If you don’t need an item but you buy it anyway because you have a coupon, then how is that saving money? Use common sense when you clip and cash in coupons. If you don’t need something, don’t buy it… even if you have a coupon. The only exception is when you’re shopping for non-perishable items that you can store indefinitely such as toilet paper and paper towels. Otherwise, items with limited shelf lives tend to expire before you actually use them — a major source of waste for many American households.

Is The Store Brand Cheaper?

Why buy a brand name with a coupon when the store brand can still be cheaper? If you like store brands and want to save money, then don’t let brand coupons distract you. But if using a coupon will allow you to buy a brand name item for much less than a store brand item, then by all means, go for it. Otherwise, it might be better to stick to generic or store brands to save the most money.

Later on, I plan to discuss the benefits of using coupons for your inevitable impulse purchases!

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