The Day I Threw Away My Coupons, And Other Adventures in Frugality

The Day I Threw Away My Coupons, And Other Adventures in Frugality

The day I threw my coupons away, and other adventures in frugality

Today I’m happy to share a guest post from my bloggy friend Carrie Willard

One lovely Sunday morning, I had an epiphany. It happened in the car, on the way to the drugstore to buy razor blades. But truly, it wasn’t about razor blades. It was about finding the sweet spot with practical frugality while having a simpler, more peaceful life. It was also about valuing my time.

Razor blades are one of those things I really hate buying. I’m a classic under-buyer, and so I tend to put off these necessary purchases. And the cheapskate in me hates how pricey razors can be! So, on Sunday morning I spent about half an hour searching one of those coupon aggregator (more like aggravator) websites to find a “deal” so I could save a couple of bucks. And I did find a deal, but in order to be a true deal, I had to combine the coupon with the sale, which necessitated my searching through my coupon file. (I never did find the coupon.) Then, once I purchased said razors, I had to remember to actually USE the “bucks” printed on the receipt. (Which I often forget to do, or because I don’t need anything, the coupon expires.)

I’m a frugal type of gal, to be sure. But driving to the drugstore that day, I began grumbling to my husband. (Something I rarely do, so when I do it, I try to pay attention!) I realized that I had spent about 30 minutes of my life to save around $5.

Now–I’m not knocking couponing. I used coupons and played the “drugstore game” when I paid off my credit card debt several years ago. Back then I squirreled every bit of extra money I could nickel and dime out of my budget into paying my debts. But I’m no longer in that situation.  At this stage of life, simplicity and creating routines that save time are more important to me.

Another fact struck me as I continued grumbling to my husband: He had no idea how much time I spent on this particular chore, and I wasn’t even buying the type of razors he prefers! Ostensibly I was going through this periodic hassle to be a good steward of our money, and (in my mind) a good homemaker. But as you know if you’ve ever done couponing, you can’t be loyal to a particular brand. You have to chase the sales in order to do it right. We rarely bought the razors my husband prefers, the ones that (in 20 years of shaving experience) are best on his very sensitive skin, because they rarely went on sale!

This onerous chore I had taken upon myself wasn’t really making anyone happy.

At that very moment, I decided to fire myself. I got on Amazon, set up a subscribe and save for razors (hubby’s preferred brand, for once), and I’ll never have to think about it again. Then I threw my coupon file in the trash can.

My takeaway points from this experience:

 There are many things I could have done with that 30 minutes that would have brought me more happiness, as well as save or make me money.

• Some frugal activities are based on faulty assumptions. If nobody really appreciates it and it doesn’t make you happy, drop it!

Amazon Prime (which, based on previous purchases I have calculated actually does save me money each year) and Subscribe and Save are my best friends

• Frugal activities are sustainable when they’re fun, not stressful. There are many frugal things I really enjoy doing. Such as cooking a meal from scratch, or clothes shopping at my favorite thrift store. I need to focus on doing more of these things.

Have you ever dropped a frugal activity from your life and not looked back?

Carrie Willard is a mom of seven who blogs about natural parenting, homeschooling, simplicity and frugality. She’s become a grocery shopping whiz out of necessity and years of practice feeding a family of nine.

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  1. Allison B says:

    I never got into couponing at an extreme level. I only clip coupons for the items I buy and I use them when the item goes on sale but I don’t run around to 8 stores to get the best deals. I shop one grocery store that has the best overall prices and one drugstore where I get prescriptions. I don’t have time to find every single deal. Too muh hassle and not something I want to do.

  2. Megan says:

    I love this post! I have found myself taking advantage of deals for things I don’t want or need, which makes it not a deal at all. Even if it’s 99% off, if I don’t want or need it, it’s making my life worse, not better.
    I still use coupons occasionally, but only for things I WAS GOING TO BUY ANYWAY. I’m probably not saving the maximum amount of money possible, but I’m happy with it, so it’s a good thing!

  3. oh this post is perfect! I haven’t cut coupons in over a month – I have all the inserts “waiting” for me to look through and cut. Truthfully, since I now do the majority of my shopping at Aldi I really have no need for chasing the coupon deals like I used and with two kids (two and under) to drag around with me at the store, it is to avoid couponing.

  4. I stopped making special trips to find deals. I do clip coupons from the Sunday paper and put them in my binder. When we reach check out at the grocery store I go through the binder quickly to see if any coupons work. I no longer go out of my way though. It’s just too much of a headache!

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