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Money Poll #2: Coupons

Written by Nickel - 24 Comments

After a successful first week with the budgeting poll (results here), I’m pleased to announce Money Poll #2. This week’s topic is coupons. As before, I thought I’d say a few words about how we do things around here before jumping into the poll.

In general terms, we don’t use coupons when we shop for groceries. Rather, we typically focus on store brands when we shop, and we also try to stock up on things when they’re on sale.

While I’ve read some amazing stories of people getting cartloads of groceries for a song by trading for (or buying) a buttload of appropriate coupons, finding a store that will triple them, then using then for items that are already on sale, thereby creating a massive stockpile of whatever it is that they’re buying…

That’s just not us. With that said, let’s get to it…

Do you use coupons when you shop for groceries?
View Results

Published on February 27th, 2006
Modified on January 8th, 2013 - 24 Comments
Filed under: Polls

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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24 Responses to “Money Poll #2: Coupons”

  1. 1
    Blaine Moore Says:

    I used to be “Yes, as much as possible but not militant” but ever since my fiance moved in with me I haven’t been buying the sunday paper as often, so it has been more of “No/not really/store brand and sales”. I also lost my coupon folder I used to use to organize them, which may have a lot to do with why I don’t clip coupons as often.

    One time, a local supermarket had a 75 cent coupon that they were doubling on a $1.75 newspaper. My favorite spaghetti sauce was on sale, and there was a coupon in the newspaper for either 50 cents (doubled) or $1 off two jars. I bought 10 or 12 newspapers, clipped the coupons out, then went back inside and cleaned them out of the spaghetti sauce. The afternoon was then spent walking around the city discovering how difficult it is to give away free newspapers; it’s amazing how heavy that much paper can get after lugging it around in a backpack for a few hours.

  2. 2
    MoneyDummy Says:

    Bah! It didn’t register my vote, which was for the top option.

    I’m becoming more discriminating about what I get for free, though. For example, I’m all about 70 bottles of assorted pasta sauces, but I’ve learned that if you get 40 free cake mixes– well, then you have 40 cake mixes sitting around. Thank heavens for food banks!

  3. 3
    Kim Says:

    I am a coupon chick. I cut out the ones we would use and try and wait to use them to match them up to a sale. If they are expiring soon then I will just go ahead and use them. I try and use store brand when I can but we do notice the difference on some things. For example, peanut butter. I gotta stick with Jif – but they have $.55 coupons and my store doubles up to $1. I love it!

  4. 4
    lauraloops Says:

    Few groceries around here double coupons, and SuperTarget never does, so I rarely remember to take them with me. I am also a big fan of store brands, so coupons don’t help too much. I will clip ones for toothpaste, as I’m not too brand-picky.

  5. 5
    charles Says:

    I find i can save about 20% with coupons, and hope to save more when my fiancee and her son move here this summer. But, i get dissapointed when the bulk of coupons i get are for products that still cost more than i want to pay, even after the .55 off when purchasing 2 type deals. I tend to look at the cost per unit savings.

  6. 6
    Daytonscott Says:

    One Word: Aldi

  7. 7
    jim Says:

    I find that a lot of the coupons in the vlassis inserts are for premade food, which I don’t like, or other products I normally don’t buy. So, I clip some coupons but find myself buying on the basics that don’t ever have coupons (eggs? milk?)

  8. 8
    nickel's wife Says:

    Kim- I agree that some of the store brands aren’t always the same. We are BIG fans of Jif peanut butter too. Did you know that you can get them in two packs at Sam’s Club?

    Incidentally, Sam’s Club is a great (i.e. cheap) place to buy eggs and milk, Jim.

  9. 9
    Emma Says:

    I don’t use coupons that often actually. Most of the time they’re for stuff I don’t buy. I found that, for me, it worked best to pay with cash. That way, I go in the store with a purpose and with a specific amount to spend, which is whatever we decided on our budget.

  10. 10
    Matt Says:

    I almost never use them. I mean, I have a few stories about times when I got stuff for near-free or totally-free thanks to deals I heard about (and one time where an electronics store actually paid me to take blank CDRW disks off their hands, thanks to coupons, sales, and rebates), but in truth I do that more for the story value than the actual savings. :)

    Coupons are nice for people who like them, but most of the time they’re not worth the time and effort for me.

  11. 11
    Newsgirly Says:

    I cut coupons that fall into categories that we eat/use. Last week I got $148 worth of groceries for $74. It’s all stuff we eat. Two weeks’ worth, with the exception of fresh produce and milk. I am just not brand-particular. Bread, cereal, juice, cold cuts, etc. Whatever brand/type is on sale, AND I have a coupon for it, which my store doubles, I get. OR I get the store brand, if that comes out cheaper. I don’t usually buy soda, though I like it, but last week I got two big bottles of 7Up for free. The only problem is that the produce is kind of yucky in the cheap store. Two weeks ago there was a bird hopping from celery to apples, etc., with no attempt to get it out. I now go to the more expensive chain for produce.

  12. 12
    Jim Wright Says:

    The only thing I use coupons for is restaurants. As a foster dad it just makes sense to use those 2 for 1 deals when you are taking one of the kids out to have a “chat”

  13. 13
    LAMoneyGuy Says:

    I would use coupons more, but I find that the generic stuff is often still cheaper even after using a coupon on the name brand stuff. Also, the coupons are often for stuff that I wasn’t planning on buying, so I don’t want to get suckered in! But I use them once in a while, if I am getting something I would get anyway.

  14. 14
    Wandering Indian Monk Says:

    I posted some stats on the use of coupons in 2005. I found them very interesting and makes this poll that much more relevant. Please check it out at http://wanderingindianmonk.blo.....upons.html

  15. 15
    anjie Says:

    if you are not using coupons to get free and almost free food you are missing out! one of the things that people say is “there are not enuff coupons for the things that I buy” I say why not buy something else? heck if they are going to pay me to buy something or give it to me for pennies and I don’t use it SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS IT! a bit of time and a learning curve will have you cutting down your expenses DRASTICALLY if you take the time to learn! you can watch my video of me in “action” if you like to on my site………. anyway join some newsletters and groups to share the tips and tricks and in no time you will see they are well worth the effort, I feed 4-5 people daily and weekly budget $30 for groceries, eat well, name brand and heck try new things all of the time! some I like others I don’t, when you like something or don’t write the company and often they will send ya MORE free products or coupons to get it free! :) GOOD LUCK and happy couponing!

  16. 16
    Crusezoo Says:

    I second Aldi’s! Quality is great and most prices are impossible to beat. (Meat and a couple vegis are the only things we don’t buy there.)

  17. 17
    Stockbabe Says:

    I’m a stay at home Mom with 3 kids. I realize the importance of saving money – I used to be a diehard coupon cutter. I used to visit several groceries to save. But that has changed with the kids. We discovered Aldi’s!!! I don’t need 15 varieties of ketchup, etc…. Time can’t be bought with a coupon and shopping at Aldi’s gives me freedom from cutting coupons.

  18. 18
    Frugal Momma Says:

    I rarely use coupons. I don’t buy the Sunday paper or buy coupons on ebay. I do use a pricebook though to find the best prices and often buy generic.

  19. 19
    Caitlin Says:

    We rarely use coupons, but do keep an eye out for ones that are for things we already buy (mostly via circulars and val-paks, we dont get the paper).

    We tend to get the most out of a quick scan of the Costco coupons, but still are careful to not get sucked into buying stuff JUST to use a coupon. ($5 off on 4 NY sirloin steaks = good)

    I’m pretty particular about my brands though, so I rarely use store brands unless they are equal in quality to a favorite brand. I’ll always give generics a try in the hopes of saving money in the future, but I’ve found so many of them disappointing.

    I guess we mostly rely on stocking up when things go on sale and our new tactic of shopping less throughout the month (which enforces more planning etc)

  20. 20
    Lisa T. Says:

    I have to agree with angie…”if you are not using coupons…you are missing out.” I went to the store three times this week, I have last nights reciept in hand,total before savings =$75.40 I only paid $9.89 AND TOPS gave me another coupon for $10.00 off my next order! THEY PAID ME TO COME BACK!$1.50 of that was for 3 -.50 newspapers!In all $250 for less than $45.ALSO some of that money went into my sons UPROMISE account! Pillsbury,heathy choice,hot pockets,chore boy, zatarains …NO ALDIS for me! But I do buy Tops brand items.
    Educate yourself & profit.Buying your food at aldis is like buying your shoes/clothes at the Dollar General…you get what you pay for.

  21. 21
    rolo Says:

    We buy very little foods that are prepared, boxed, canned, whatever. Very few coupons out there for fresh foods that are prepared from scratch. OR for the specific items we do buy prepared. And since our shopping is done at a big deep discount warehouse type store, I don’t see that I can get a can of diced tomatoes for .29 anywhere else–coupon or no coupon.

  22. 22
    J Says:

    I don’t coupon mainly because it’s prepared food and DH won’t eat it. He prefers from scratch stuff, and it probably is cheaper, he’ll admit, but he thinks it tastes better fresh. Drives me nuts, but whatever, at least we’re cooking instead of eating out.

  23. 23
    Karen Says:

    Today I went to CVS. I bought $80.85 worth of products and paid $3.46 out of pocket. And that was AFTER tax was added.

    ’nuff said! :)

  24. 24
    Crissy Says:

    I use coupons, but only for things I already buy. I’ve gone onto pretty much every companies website for promotions and coupons. I wish there was a website were I could list EVERYTHING I buy on a weekly basis and get coupons emailed back to me. Is this only a dream or is it possible there is a such thing?

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