I have to admit that couponing was never my idea of a fun time. At one point in time I wanted nothing to do with couponing or coupons in general. Coupons just seemed to be too much of a hassle to me, and I really didn’t think that they could actually save us enough money to matter. And for year I got by without couponing by using other savings strategies.
During a particularly tight financial time for my family, however, I realized that my typical frugal strategies just weren’t going to cut it. No matter how I crunched, the numbers just didn’t add up. There were no more expenses that we could cut out of our budget, and we needed to save money somewhere.
So began my journey into the world of couponing—reluctantly, of course!
The hardest part of getting started was justifying the time and effort spent for the amount of money I actually saved. It took only a few trial runs, though, to realize that couponing could actually save my family a load of cash in the long run!
I know that there are more than a few people on the fence out there asking themselves the same question I asked myself:
Is couponing worth it?
Determining whether couponing is worth it for your family really depends on a number of factors. However, for most households, couponing is worth it!
I’ve put together a little example to show just how much couponing can save the average household in one year. This is a list of 10 common products that nearly every household purchases and for which coupons are readily available. Keep in mind that the prices and quantities used are just averages. You may pay more or less for these items, or you may use more or less. This is just an example of how coupon savings can add up over time.
Let’s get started!
1. Toilet Paper
Every household uses toilet paper, so this is a good place to start with our couponing example. Let’s say your household goes through two rolls a week (a conservative estimate in my house!) and you normally buy packages of toilet paper that equal $.50 per roll.
- $.50/roll @ 2 rolls/week = $52/year
Now, let’s assume that you only buy toilet paper when you can get it for $.30 per roll when you use coupons during a sale.
- $.30/roll @ 2 rolls/week = $31.20/year
2. Paper Towels
Most households also use paper towels these days as well. Let’s say your household uses 3 rolls per week (for cleaning, meals, and miscellaneous tasks) and you normally buy packages of paper towels that equal $1 per roll.
- $1/roll @ 3 rolls per week = $156/year
You can pick up paper towels by using a coupon during a sale for around $.50 per roll, so you can easily cut that cost in half.
- $.50/roll @ 3 rolls per week = $78/year
You could also go a different route and nix paper towels completely to save even more! Instead, pick up a large pack of washcloths that you can reuse all year for as little as $4.
Savings: $78 to $152/year
3. Dish Detergent
For the sake of this couponing example, I’m going to assume that everyone else is in the Dark Ages and washes dishes by hand. So, let’s say that you pick up a 25 oz bottle of dish detergent for $2.50, or $.10 per ounce, and you use 2 ounces per day.
- $.10/ounce @ 2 ounces/day = $73/year
Using coupons, you can easily pick up dish detergent for $.05 per ounce on a regular basis and cut this cost in half.
- $.05/ounce @ 2 oz/day = $36.50/year
4. Laundry Detergent
You have to have clean clothes, right? One load of laundry per day sounds about right for this example. Depending on which brand and type of laundry detergent you buy, you could pay anywhere from $.05 to $.20 per load.
- $.05 to $.20/load @ 1 load/day = $18.25 to $73/year
Using coupons, sales, and store offers, you can significantly slash the cost of your laundry detergent to $.03 er load or less.
- $.03/load @ 1 load/day = $10.95/year
Savings: $7.30 to $62.05
5. Cleaning Supplies
The cleaning section of this example was a bit of a struggle, since all households have different cleaning wants and needs. For the purposed of this example, though, I’m going to say that a household will purchase the following cleaners at the following average prices:
- Toilet cleaner @ $2.00
- Multi-purpose spray @ $3.00
- Window cleaner @ $3.00
- Antibacterial wipes @ $2.50
- Furniture polish @ $3.00
Your household may pay more or less than the prices listed, and may use more or less of each per month, but remember that this is just an example. A learning experience, if you will.
- $13.50/month on cleaning supplies = $162/year
What if I said you could easily cut your costs for each of the products listed above to an average of $1 each? Well, that’s entirely possible with coupons, and you can even score them for less at times!!
- 5 cleaning products @ $1 each = $5/month = $60 per year
You can also easily cut your cleaning costs to around $1 per month by using DIY cleaners and stocking up on dirt cheap cleaning supplies with coupons!
Savings: $102 to $150/year
Antiperspirant is one of modern life’s little inventions that I just can’t do without. Before I started couponing, I used to spend around $2.50 per stick of deodorant and used about one stick every two months.
- $2.50/stick @ 6 sticks/year = $15/year per person
With couponing, you can easily grab deodorant and antiperspirant for $.50 each, and you can sometimes even snag it for free!
- $.50/stick @ 6 sticks/year = $3/year per person
Let’s assume that two people in your household need and use deodorant or antiperspirant, which would cost you $12 per year with coupons instead of $30.
7. Shampoo and Conditioner
Depending on what brand you use, you might spend anywhere from $2 to $5 for a bottle of shampoo or conditioner. I’m going to assume an average of $3 here. Assuming that you use one bottle per month of each, that can really add up!
- $3/bottle of shampoo @ 1 bottle/month = $36/year
- $3/bottle of conditioner @ 1 bottle/month = $36/year
- $72/year for both shampoo and conditioner
You can usually pick up shampoo and conditioner for around $.75 each, on average, when using coupons, though.
- $.75/bottle of shampoo @ 1 bottle/month = $9/year
- $75/bottle of conditioner @ 1 bottle/month = $9/year
- $18/year for shampoo and conditioner
8. Body Wash
Body wash will cost most people around $3 per bottle, and we can safely assume that most household will go through about one bottle per month.
- $3/bottle @ 1/month = $36/year
Pay around $.75 each for body wash by using coupons and cut your costs significantly!
- $.75/bottle @ 1/month = $9 per year
We can’t let oral hygiene fall to the wayside, now can we? Let’s say you’re paying $2.50 per tube for toothpaste, and your household goes through one tube per month.
- $2.50/tube @ 1 tube/month = $30/year
I hate to see anyone pay for toothpaste—I really do! Toothpaste is one of those items that you can score for free at least once each month at one of the three major drug stores. But, not everyone can score it for free every time, so for the sake of this example, let’s say that you’ll pay $.25 per tube, on average, when using coupons.
- $.25/tube @ 1 tube/month = $3/year
10. Over-the-Counter Medications
Between pain medication, cold medication, and various other OTC medications, a household can easily spend $10 per month in this area, or twice that if you buy vitamins.
- OTC medications @ $10/month = $120/year
- Vitamins @ $10/month = $120/year
- $240/year for both
Fortunately, you can also get over-the-counter medications for cheap when using coupons! This goes double for vitamins, which you can often score for free or under $1.
- OTC medications @ $5/month = $60 per year
- Vitamins @ $2/month = $24/year
- $84/year for both
Savings: $60 to $156/year
So, at the end of this year, our example family has potentially saved $703.35! And that was done just by couponing for 10 products that just about every household uses!
Imagine how much could be saved by using coupons for other products as well…
How much Are you looking to save this year? Do you think you can use coupons to do it?