4 Reasons to Shop Without Coupons

4 Reasons to Skip Coupons Go Gingham

Frugal living is usually equated with coupon clipping. People often ask about my ‘extreme couponing techniques.’ Truth is: I don’t have any. I’m not a coupon user because I don’t think spending money to save money is sustainable.

Since September is National Coupon Month, here are…

4 Reasons to Shop Without Coupons

This is what I like to call ‘thoughtful spending’ – because while we do have to buy items, let’s think about our purchases and how they impact our health, the environment, and our wallets.

1.  Value

I find that largely, coupons aren’t worth using. If an item is available in the bulk section (Need tips for shopping in the bulk bin food section?) or as a generic store version, it’s usually less expensive than the coupon discounted price on name brands. Example: At the dentist recently, they offered me a ‘big’ coupon ($2 off) on fluoride rinse. I declined because I know the store brand is half the cost of the name brand – without a coupon.

There’s real value in using a coupon on an item that you or your family truly uses. Stocking up and buying more than is actually needed is wasteful – plus see #4 below. Yes, I’m all for a deal – on items you need and use.

2.  Health

Most coupons are only offered on processed, pre-packaged foods that aren’t healthy. Unless stores and companies are offering coupons on wholesome, real foods, I pass. If the coupon circular of the Sunday newspaper had coupons for organic apples or broccoli or red peppers, I’d clip those! (I do receive an email newsletter from Earthbound Farm’s – Organic Bound. Their coupons arrive in my email in-box. Coupons for fresh greens and frozen fruits? Yes, please!)

3.  Time

It’s time consuming to keep track of coupons and for my time, even if the coupon makes it close on price; it’s more of a hassle. Knowing prices and whether something is a good deal or not is more important. Shopping at warehouse stores or buying lots of an item isn’t always the best price. Shopping at a store that is no frills and offers healthy foods at a good price is where I want to spend my time – and not driving all over town for one item to save .35 cents.

4.  Space

Do we really want to use our homes for storing items we bought in bulk or on sale? Stock-piling household goods and storing products may be good for the companies who’ve sold us these items but is it a smart use of space inside our homes?

I have stocked up on items – plastic wrap, water pitcher filters, tissue, etc. – and stored them in our basement only to buy them again because I forgot we had them. After getting burned by this a few times, I stopped buying items that had to be stored outside of the kitchen or pantry and only purchase items we need. We need to remind ourselves that it’s okay to run out of an item and stop stock-piling.

Go Gingham No Coupon Shopping

There’s nothing wrong with clipping coupons. I recently clipped a few for my kiddos who are teenagers. They use particular brands of body care products (think name brand here) and buy those items for themselves. I happily clipped and passed those coupons on. The concept of spending money to save it doesn’t compute for me – or my budget. I’d rather spend less – and go on a fabulous trip – or add to my savings account.

Does using coupons compute for you? Do you have a secret source of healthy coupons to share?

Go Gingham related links:

Strategic frugality: our life approach to living and time as a luxury
How to save money each month
Frugal grocery shopping – Tips to save money, resources and time
Shopping: bulk bins – Tips for shopping from the bulk bins
11 reasons to meal plan every week – It’s a big time food budget saver!

17 thoughts on “4 Reasons to Shop Without Coupons

  1. I am finding myself using fewer and fewer coupons, for the reasons you have stated. For the paper goods I buy, there is a designated space in a small closet. I refuse to expand storage, so the closet size controls the amount of goods I buy.
    I use a drugstore brand of foundation, buy about 2x a year. I keep an eye out for coupons for the 2 different brands I will consider buying,then look for the best sale price. Then I make my own “Use By” label and put it on before I open the container.I cannot leave it to my memory as to when the item was purchased, and makeup does expire once opened.


    1. Karen, I like your style! Smart use of space and the make-up tip is a good one. I started using a buy at the drug store make-up (rather than dept. store) that I really like and will use a coupon for it when it needs replacing. That doesn’t happen often because I rarely wear make-up 🙂
      Thanks for the good info! Hope you had a nice August.


  2. I use maybe 4 or 5 coupons when I go to the store now, and they’re the ones that come in the store flyer (usually for produce, meat or seafood). I got tired of my meals being dictated by coupons and sales, and I’m trying to stay away from processed food. I didn’t want to spend the time clipping, sorting, planning and dealing with the clutter from all those paper scraps! I cancelled the Sunday paper a few months ago and I haven’t missed it.


    1. Way to go, Jen! I like the non-processed food routine. We receive coupons in the mail from our grocery store and use some of them. Honestly, since I started making our own soap and using very few cleaning supplies that need to be purchased, we hardly spend any money on those items any longer.
      Thanks for sharing – both here and on Twitter!! 🙂


  3. With you all the way on this, Sara! I use the coupons Fred Meyer sends me because they track what I buy and send coupons for what I buy, which is mostly meat, produce, pasta, and dairy items. I don’t usually shop there, but as you say, our time has value, too, and it’s often the most convenient place to go.


    1. Rita, that is so true – “our time has value, too” – and I went to Freddy’s more often than I usually do this summer because we weren’t home much and it was closer. We went to WinCo yesterday and stocked up! If you have one near you, they have the best prices in their bulk food section.
      Thanks, Rita!


  4. Here, here. Coupons are most often for stuff I don’t buy.
    I do pay attention to the coupon flyer at Whole Foods when I go in there, but lately the coupons are for processed “health” food. That bugs me….


    1. Hi Letty!
      Organic and non-gmo food can still be processed. I understand the time saving factor of already prepared meals but once you start cooking and freezing meals, it hits you how easy it is to do it yourself and skip the junk that companies add. That’s how it hit me anyway!!
      Thanks for writing in, Letty! 🙂


  5. I shop at Safeway regularly and use their Just For U online coupons. Before I go to the store, I log in to the Safeway website, click on the coupons I want, and they are automatically added to my Safeway card. It has saved me a lot of time and money by shopping this way. Most of my shopping trips I save 40-50% off my bill, without actually “clipping” an actual coupon. It takes me less than 5 minutes to select the coupons online, and then I make my trip to the store. It’s worth it every time!


    1. Gwen, that is wonderful! I had no idea that was even possible but that sounds like a real time saver and money saver – especially since it’s on items you actually use. Good to know and well done!
      Thanks for sharing 🙂


  6. And I find that when I am looking through a coupon book – like the Costco one that came in the mail the other day – I think that I “need” more things.


    1. Oh, Erin, I have that problem, too. When shopping at Costco, we really stick the list and – I have to stay out of the middle section – books, magazines, clothes, you name it!
      That’s also why I can’t get catalogs delivered to our home. Pottery Barn is my problem! I love their stuff and there’s never a cord or dust bunny out of place – it makes our house look like we have teenagers! 😉
      Thanks, Erin!!


  7. I’ve tried using coupons, but for the reasons you mentioned, it’s more hassle than it’s worth. There are a few items (personal products, tea …) in which it is occasionally helpful, but mostly they clutter up my purse and I forget about them. Much easier to shop at Aldi’s.


      1. It went well, thanks! We only had a 1/2 day of school yesterday so we hit the beach in the afternoon–how many kids do you know who get a sunburn at the beach on their first day of school? Hope your kids enjoyed their first day as well, although maybe teens don’t share that kind of information?


  8. amen! You know I’m not the most frugal gal, but I will say I have tried to use coupons and it just does not work for me. Sometimes I will almost get caught with the buy two specials but if I look at the price per item compared to the bulk it’s almost always more. You are right know your prices. Buy what you need. And try not to waste by stockpiling a bunch of stuff you’ll never use!


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