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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Extreme couponing vs. boat loads of cash, which one actually makes more sense?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) March 26th, 2010

You hear of extreme couponers like Nathan Engel, Jill Lansky, and Stacy Smith and how they get $100s of goods for cents on the dollar. Is that really better than just finding a way to make a boat load of cash and just buying what you want regardless of price? These people end up with garages and basements etc crammed full of goods, goods they could hardly use up themselves. Is that worth it to save money in the short only to have the items go bad, take up space, or become useless before you could use it? Is that better than having enough money that you can buy whatever with as much thought as you’d buy a candy bar?

With a boat load of cash you won’t have a garage fill of soap, lotion, and t-paper but actually have room for your car. You won’t spend time clipping and sorting coupons you could be out sailing, shooting billards, walking the dog or whatever. As I once heard “it in not how much it cost it is how much you can afford”, basically if you can pay for it who cares how much it cost; you want it you buy it.

Which is more practical and/or makes most sense to you and why?

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18 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

The boat load of cash would be better, but don’t hold your breath waiting for your ship to come in. Better to go the coupon route while you are waiting, since you actually have some control over that. We bought a full basket full of stuff we will be using over the next few days, and paid 77 cents for $45 worth of groceries.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I am time constrained, and the time that it takes to put that much effort into shopping has a dollar value attached to it in terms of both work and opportunity costs. Clipping and organizing coupons, searching for the deals and shopping by what you have coupons for takes a lot of time. And you still have to shop for fresh meat and produce, which is rarely couponed. Even though you save some cost, there is an effort hour cost attached to it.

faye's avatar

I used to find expired coupons tucked in my purse. I usually buy store brand.

j0ey's avatar

I am an aussie…what the hell are these coupon things you always talk about?

faye's avatar

it’s a slip of paper offering you 29 cents off, eg, if you buy their product

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@j0ey Manufacturers offer money off on grocery items, usually canned goods, paper goods, processed foods, in order to entice you to buy the product. You can find coupons in the newspapers, in mailings to your home, through online sources, on displays in the store. (For example, I have one in my purse now for $1 off if you buy 2 – 2 liters of Coke and $4 from the grocery deli). In some areas, stores will have days when they double coupon values in order to get you to shop there. People have found ways to use the coupons and store offers to save large amounts of money on things.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

This article from the Wall Street Journal explains it.

Yes, you could buy 150 bottles of PowerAde for 25 cents each, but if you don’t buy PowerAde at all, your would have saved $37.50.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You have to include the value of your time into the equation. My threshold is $60 per hour. That is $1 per minute. If I can save $1 for something I need with less than 1 minute of extra time, I will do it. Otherwise I will spend time on more productive endeavors.

Cruiser's avatar

There are only so many “boat load of cash” opportunities out there and way more people that will have to make do with paycheck to paycheck lives. So the coupon craze is the more “practical” of the two for the majority of the people on this planet.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Why not a happy medium between the two?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’ll take the cash, thanks. Coupons… and hey are they “cue-pons” or “coo-pons” or “coop-uns”? Anyhow, most of the foods I buy they don’t make coupons for so there’s never been an interest on my part. More applicable are the in store specials such as two-for-one’s or whatever.

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

Big Fucking Whoop. LOL

JLeslie's avatar

I like the happy medium idea @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities suggests, but if I have to choose I choose the cash.

@Neizvestnaya I say cue-pons, but I think it just matters where you live, I don’t think one is more correct. Well, coop-uns seems just wrong in my mind. LOL.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would like to apologize for my bad memory. I did not get $45 worth of groceries for 77cents, it was only $18.00 worth for 77cents. I’m sorry for the mistake.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Cruiser If you love on a small apartment or house you don’t have space to stack up a year’s worth of t-paper or 6 months worth of Gatoraide etc. So how would you really benefit from extreme couponing? To be able to afford it as you need it with out taking up living or storage space because you have to put it somewhere UNTIL you actually need it is much better to me. Instead of clipping coupons maybe that effort would be better suited to creat ways to get the boat load of cash. :-0

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Oddly, thanks to a Martha Stewart suggestion, I try to do quarterly commodity purchases, where I don’t buy groceries but by durables. I stock up on several packages of toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, toothpaste, dish soap, light bulbs, batteries, furnace filters, garbage bags, etc. Her rationale proved true for me: when you run out of things like this under the normal course of the month, and you go to the store for that item, you tend to buy other things that you didn’t intend to buy, and the trip for a $2.50 bottle of dish detergent turns out to be $45 worth of “stuff”. That leaves your grocery shopping trips free to be food only purchases, making it more likely that you will purchase fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat.

YARNLADY's avatar

@PandoraBoxx Very good advice. Also when you do your food shopping, go to the Farmer’s Market first and stock up on all the fruits and vegetables, then only go to the supermarket for the exact items you still need, such as meat, milk, eggs, cheese and bread. Then go home, no touring the aisles, where you will buy too many packaged foods. Personally, I buy my bread at the bread store, and my meat at the meat store, so less temptation.

At most stores, if you stick to the outside aisles of the store, and do not go up and down the inner aisles, you will find everything you should have, and not be tempted by anything else.

Cruiser's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central That’s silly! You do not need to stock up on anything you don’t need!! That is what “they” want you to do but you can be smart about it and only buy what you need! Now that would be extreme! lol! Couponing and smart shopping to me is part of the cash flow process in my life and simply allows me more disposable income and a lot at that which is like not have to “work” another part time job in terms of the extra money smart shopping can provide.

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