Not one week after posting about my
frivolous wasteful stupid couponing shenanigans, I couldn’t resist their siren song. A great grocery store sale combined with four high-value manufacturer’s coupons netted me four boxes of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies for $2.00. If you buy lots of cereal because it’s back-to-school time and you have kids your husband is a big kid, you know that’s a screamin’ deal. But is couponing really worth it?
I’m torn. I know couponing for things we will never use (I’m looking at you, free contact solution) isn’t productive or helpful for anyone. I also know that stockpiling isn’t something productive or helpful for me.* In addition, frequent couponing expends a fairly significant amount of time and organizational gusto. So in that regard, it seems that I should skip coupons and settle for checking sale ads and shopping from lists.
But, what about the deal I outlined above? Here’s how it played out: During my routine store flyer scan, I noticed the cereal deal–buy four boxes, pay $1.49/box. After that, it took me about two minutes to log into my Kellogg’s Family Rewards account, cash in my points for four (4) $1 off coupons, and print them. I gave them a quick snip and slid them into my purse until the following morning. The next day, instead of driving past the grocery store on my way to work, I turned in, parked, grabbed the goods plus a few other items, and left in under fifteen minutes.**
On one hand, I saved $4 (plus an extra few bucks from buying the cereal on sale) with less than twenty minutes of work. On the other hand, my time is worth more than $16 an hour, isn’t it? This is where things get tricky for me. This is why I haven’t been able to walk away from couponing altogether. If I think strategic couponing consumes too much of my time, what about shopping sale ads? If I think shopping sale ads drains too many valuable minutes, what about writing out shopping lists? If I push this logic too far, I’m ready to abandon budgeting and mindful spending all together and follow my dad’s MO of picking up groceries at the local 7-Eleven.***
As of today, it seems that I can justify purposeful couponing — couponing that requires relatively little planning, clipping, sorting, and driving — because our grocery budget is so lean. Saving four bucks here and there may not seem like much, but that’s nearly 2% of our grocery budget. So maybe it is worth it. My husband seems to think so given the fact that he’s now happily pouring himself a bowl of Rice Krispies as I type.
*We don’t have a pantry for one thing.
**It pays to grocery shop at 6AM.
***$3 apple, anyone?
****Yes, we spend about $250 per month on groceries with a surprising amount of our food being organic and/or natural. And, yes, I plan on writing about that more next month.
So Tell Me…Is couponing worth it? When it comes to time and money, where do you draw the line?