Friday, January 21, 2011


Frequently, massive couponers boast about the difference between the pre-coupon price and the final total. They circle the "you saved" number on their receipts. "You're circling the wrong number," Amy said. What you need to compare is the difference between all possible alternatives and your final total. Other alternatives include store brands on sale, buying in bulk, picking fruit off friend's trees or just going without.  --Not my words, but I can't remember where I got it from either.  Sorry original author.

Ouch.  That's me!  I love to save a dollar and I love to talk about it.  The original author is right though.

The super-couponing craze is spreading like wildfire.  There are Web sites and seminars popping up all over the place  dedicated to the trend.  There is even going to be a reality show about it. (gag)  Hey, who can blame folks?  With the rising prices of food and the shrinking sizes of the products, we all have the need to stretch our dollars as far as we can. (Of course the pundits say we are NOT in an inflationary period....I say BS...go to the grocery store)  I approach this tactic a little differently.  A large part of my attempt to "Back 'er Down" is how I spend my time.  The old saying, "Time is Money" is true.  Everyone's time has a value associated with it....whether you are working or not.

I use coupons a lot.  I save a lot of money using them.  You have to be careful though.  After all, coupons are just another marketing strategy used to move product.  It's a good one too!  The trap that many fall into is that you have to buy something because it's such a good deal!  Do you really like oatmeal though?  Even at .25 a box are you or your family going to eat it?  This is the same strategy that has been used in other forms of retail for years.  You say to yourself, it's so cheap... I HAVE to buy it.  This mindset is now fully entrenched into our grocery buying habits.  Hooray PR and Market Research!  Don't take me the wrong  way.  I'm not saying I'm some high and mighty all-seeing market guru.  I have a flat of Vienna Sausages and 7 boxes of LED Christmas lights that prove I'm just as prone as the next guy.

Get back on track what about time?  If done correctly super-coupoining takes up a lot of time.  In essence it is playing the sales cycles of the major grocers.  Of course you start by clipping, printing and sorting.  That's the easy part.  The time consuming part is researching various stores weekly sales and pairing those with your stash of coupons.  Don't forget to add the time involved in shopping at several different stores to maximize the savings.  All of a sudden you're invested in this deal!  If your time is worth money you just spent a lot of it.  But Alex, I saved like 50 bucks!  That's right.  You saved $50 and your time spent was $50 so you broke even.  Is a break even proposition worth it?  For some folks it may well be.  For me it isn't.  (Ironic that I could have done some couponing instead of spending time writing about coupons.  Ha!)

I applaud anyone trying to save money.  I applaud the folks taking part in this craze.  It just isn't right for me to go all in.  It took me a while to realize that.  For someone that is retired or does not work it might be.  One of my favorite quotes puts it best, "when your money is in short supply and your time is long, use your time and don’t spend the money." 

Never bring a problem without offering a solution.  10-4  This might not be the best for everyone reading, but it works best for me and my family.  It all goes back to the quote above.

1. Store Brands:  Many times they are cheaper even after using a coupon on the brand stuff.  They aren't all created equal though.  Some things I refuse to skimp on.  Others, store brands serve us well.

2.  Buying in Bulk:  This is a super-couponing tactic that I use often.  When something on sale at a good price I stock up.  HOWEVER.... this should only apply to stuff I know I'm going to use.  Don't buy junk that's going to waste away.  Toilet paper is my most common bulk purchase.  I also buy chicken in bulk.

3.  Gardening and Hunting:  I haven't bought greenbeans in a long time.  I also have a pretty decent supply of tomatoes, corn and squash.  All from my garden.  If you can stand to eat game meat it is a great source.  I have a freezer full of deer meat.  It typically costs about $40-$50 to process one and 2 will serve us for a year or more.  Helpful hint.......mix deer hamburger 70-30 with ground beef and you can barely taste the difference.

4. Doing Without:  Yeah boy.  I could learn a lot from that.  BlueBell Cookies and Cream stares me in the face on this point..... We do go without a lot of stuff though.  This is the number one area in which almost everyone in America could save more on their grocery bills.  Did I really need those talapia fillets that have been in the bottom of the freezer for a year?

Please don't construe any of this as me demonizing super-couponing.  I blog about my personal path of "Backing 'er Down.  For's just not worth it to go all in on the process.  My family is better served by using portions of it.  There are many stories like this one in which charities are blessed by people who play the game.  That's a win for all involved!  Just gotta have the time to do it......and time is money.

Ya'll take it easy,



  1. Good read Alex, thanks! Here is a meal plan geared toward supermarket sales and healthy eating that saves time and money. I've been using it for a while now at Publix and really enjoy it. Dave Ramsey even endorses them. Later,
    Jason Ward

  2. Thanks Jason. Looks pretty interesting! I appreciate the head's up.