- I used coupons for many years when shopping for groceries, but recently I've been using them less often.
- Coupons were leading me to waste money and buy less-healthy foods.
- I found some better ways to save money on groceries, like learning sales cycles for items I purchase often.
Coupons aren't always all they're cracked up to be.
Using coupons is often a smart move in order to save money. That's why I used coupons regularly for years whenever I went to the grocery store. In recent months, however, I've cut back on my coupon use and now I rarely end up being able to save on my groceries using this approach.
Here's why I'm not using coupons nearly as much as I used to.
1. Using coupons was leading to a lot of waste
Many times, manufacturers will put out coupons for new products to try, rather than for existing products. Unfortunately, this ended up meaning I was buying products that we had not yet tried out just to use the coupons. With a picky two-year-old, this often meant the things I was buying didn't get eaten. So in my attempt to save money, I was actually wasting it instead by buying products that we just had to throw out in the end.
2. Coupons often lead to purchasing items that weren't as healthy
Many coupons are for pre-prepared or processed foods, rather than for things like fresh produce or flour and milk and other staples. So when I was making an effort to use coupons, I often ended up buying things that were not as healthy -- and that were sometimes more expensive than the basic staples.
I realized that we weren't eating as well as I would have liked us to, so we made a commitment to make our shopping list based on buying fresh, local, and organic ingredients as much as possible -- and we decided to cook more from scratch rather than buying the prepared items that coupons made available to us at a discounted rate.
3. I found better ways to save on groceries
For many years, I used coupons even when doing so was not necessarily ideal because I did not want to increase my grocery budget and decrease the amount of money going into savings. Since I was committed to trying to save on this expense, I thought buying based on what there was a coupon for was a good way to go.
Fortunately, I was able to develop some other techniques and strategies to save on my food purchases without having to use coupons and buy items that manufacturers were trying to promote, rather than items that were my top picks to eat.
Now, I prioritize shopping at local farms and farmers markets whenever I can as I find that I can get cheaper produce and meats from these sources than from the grocery store. I also look at what types of meats and vegetables are on sale and plan my meals around them when possible. And when there are items I know I will use regularly, I learn the sales cycle for them and I purchase enough when the price drops to last me until there is another discount.
By employing these other strategies, I've been able to significantly reduce my coupon usage at the grocery store while still not going over budget on my food spending. It has been a great change for my family, and it shows there are different ways to save money on essential purchases if you're willing to put in the effort to find them.
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