During the ‘depths’ of the recent recession, it became almost an obsession with some people to try to use coupons to get ‘something for nothing’. These ‘extreme-couponers’, as they were dubbed would spend precious hours every week clipping coupons and looking for printable coupons online in order to save a few cents or a few dollars here and there. My wife and I, for the most part, simply don’t clip coupons. Yes, we live simply and yes, we look for sales. But, coupon clipping is just not part of our shopping strategy, and here are 3 reasons why.
1. The Opportunity Cost of Clipping Coupons
Wikipedia definesopportunity costas “the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the next best alternative forgone (that is not chosen)”. So what does that mean in layman’s terms as it relates to coupon clipping? It means that if the value received from a. an activity (time spent coupon clipping) is trumped by the value of b. an alternative activity (working to earn cash, or quality leisure time), then choosing option b. is more advantageous and less complicated in order to live ‘simply’. Basically, we feel the time investment isn’t worth the value we receive.
2. Coupons Are For Brand Name Items
Often, coupons are for brand name items that cost more in the first place then their no-name counterparts. So, if you use that $1 off coupon for brand name dish soap and the no-name brand is $1.50 less already, how much have you really saved? We’d rather avoid the hassle of coupon clipping and go for the off brand product which in most cases is just as good a value.
3. Coupons Encourage More Spending
Most coupons are along the lines of ‘buy one, get one for 50% off!’. What if I only need one item in the first place? Now, with a coupon, the manufacturer has successfully convinced me to spend 50% more than I initially planned to spend. You’ll see this a lot with retail shoe stores. If a shoe manufacturer with a retail outlet can sell a second pair of shoes to you for half price and still make a profit, you know the markup on their shoes is pretty high.
Reader Response: Do you use coupons as part of your saving strategy? Why or why not?