The extreme couponing obsession may have died down as far as the television show goes, but I still see many individuals who are obsessed with scoring a deal or stocking up on free items. One friend I know spends hours driving to different Toys R Us and Target locations to scan products that are wrongly marked clearance. She has scored some amazing deals, but it is hard to justify saving $100 on products that took 20-40 hours of effort and time to score.
Time for a quick quiz to determine if couponing is taking over your life –
Are You Scoring Deals on Usable Items?
Couponing can be a great thing, especially if you score free items. However, it is essential that you coupon for items you need. You may be bragging that you scored 50 bottles of mustard and made .25-cents on each bottle, but that still doesn’t make the deal worth it. For example, if those mustard bottles took you 2-3 hours of effort to score, at most you are making $6.25 an hour. Let’s not mention the fact that you aren’t going to use that many bottles of mustard and how much space they will take up in your home.
One past extreme couponer, Christy Rakoczy, wrote on Money Crashers that she stopped couponing because she was buying things like diabetes monitors to get other items for free. In the end, she got some of her essentials for free, but the majority of the items she bought were useless to her.
As far as my friend goes, she found a lot of great toy deals for her family, but let’s get real here, how many kids do you know need more toys?
Are You Wasting All of Your Time?
Time is a precious commodity that most of us are misusing. Many people view couponing as a part-time job that benefits their family, but can it really be a low-salary obsession that keeps individuals from essential family time? If you are serious about saving money or making money part-time, there are several better ways to do so. Calculate how much time you are spending with couponing and shopping, and then calculate how much money you are saving. You can then decide if the time spent couponing is worth it.
Alternatives to Extreme Couponing
There are so many other amazing ways to save money that are not time-consuming. For example, buying used items or just buying less will save you a lot of money each year. Other money saving ideas include the following:
- Making your own laundry detergent
- Cutting the cable
- Switching to one car
- Making your own latte or coffee
- Making your own lunch
- Limit eating out
- Make your own bread
As you can see, there are many other ways to save money that don’t involve huge time commitments. When it comes to extreme couponing, you have to find a right balance for you and your family.