Couponing can certainly save you a great deal of money each and every week! This is especially true when you’re diligent about planning your shopping trips and scouring the sales each week. Of course, having a store that doubles coupons doesn’t hurt either!
What many couponing beginners (and even some experts) may not realize, though, is that there can be hidden costs of couponing. Depending on how serious some couponers are, the hidden costs of couponing can actually be quite high. So high, that it almost negates the amount of money they’re actually saving.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common hidden costs of couponing.
- Extra Coupons
Serious couponers – or “extreme couponers”, as they’ve come to be known as – are often armed with several copies of the same coupon. Although you can often find extra coupon inserts for free if you know where to look, getting several different inserts can cost money. Some hidden costs of couponing, for instance, might be buying extra Sunday papers or investing in coupon clipping services.
- Impulse Purchases Have you ever bought something you normally wouldn’t buy just because it was on sale or you had a coupon? Chances are, you have. Impulse purchase are some of the other hidden costs of couponing. Some couponers may fall prey to impulses purchases, simply because they have a coupon. Unless this item is free, couponers will be spending money that they normally wouldn’t, which means that they’re actually spending more money than they’re saving. Small impulse purchases may seem insignificant, but they can add up quickly.
- Fuel We don’t often think of fuel as one of the hidden costs of couponing, but it can be in certain situations. For instance, if you’re chasing down several different deals at several stores in busy city traffic, you might actually be using a great deal of fuel. And let’s face it – fuel ain’t cheap these days!
- Ink and Paper Couponers who primarily use Internet printable coupons will run into other hidden costs of couponing – ink and paper for their printers. This is especially true for couponers with ink jet printers, since these types of printers tend to use ink much faster than laser printers.
- Time It’s an old cliche, but time really is money for many people. Serious couponing trips take a great deal of time to plan. Matching coupons to sales certainly isn’t easy or quick! If you’re spending most of your time couponing, you could be neglecting other responsibilities or consuming time that could be spent earning money. Of course, if you recently lost your job or had your hours cut at work, couponing is often a pretty decent use of your time!
Are the hidden costs of couponing worth it?
Determining whether the hidden costs of coupons is worth it really depends on your personal situation. You’ll first need to be honest with yourself and determine just how much you spend on the hidden costs of couponing each week or each month. Then, determine how much money you’re saving on items that you would normally buy?
Are you spending more than you save? Then there’s a good chance that the hidden costs of couponing may not be worth it for you. Look for ways to lower these costs.
For instance, look for ways to get extra coupons for free instead of buying several papers, or try to cut printing costs. Try to limit impulse purchases just because you have a coupon. Remember, if you’re spending money that you wouldn’t norally spending, it’s really not that great of a bargain.
You might also want to consider limiting your couponing trips to just a handful of stores and use price matching to help. Finally, if you’re finding that couponing is consuming too much of your time, consider getting a little help finding deals from a fellow couponer or follow couponing blogs and let someone else do the deal chasing for you.