by Mr. Cheap

As much as I love to save money, something I’m embarrassed to admit is that I never bother with coupons. I’ll grudgingly submit rebates (I hate them though, just sell me the thing cheaper please), but coupons have always seemed like more trouble then they’re worth.

Every so often you read about a coupon queen and it always makes me suspicious I’m missing out on some big savings. An article I read a while back said to combine coupons that give you money off EACH item, with “buy one, get one free” sales in order to get paid to buy things (i.e. they give you the items AND money).

Recently I got “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” out of the library after a reader recommended it. One suggestion turned me off a bit. “Make potholders out of old blue jeans”. My reaction was “come on! how big of an expense are POTHOLDERS for the typical family!”. Most of the suggestions are reasonable though, and even things like this she’ll often acknowledge don’t really make sense from just a dollar and cents perspective (she makes her kid’s Halloween costumes, even though she agrees that they can be purchased pretty darn cheaply – its about crafting as well as saving money).

She addresses coupons at one point, and her feeling is similar to my own: that they’re a lot of work for debatable savings. She makes the point that many people look at their SAVINGS from coupons, rather than their TOTAL SPENDING. If you save $20 buying name brand products with coupons, but you could have saved $30 buying store brands, are you any further ahead?

Have any of our readers saved big by getting serious about coupons? Can you find situations where you get paid to take things home (or can get them for next to nothing) very often? Has anyone done this in Canada?

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