Our weekly grocery budget for 2 adults is $70. Whenever I share my grocery hauls, I often get asked if I use coupons. 99% of the time my answer is no.
When I first started budgeting our groceries, I tried couponing, but as we continued to clean up our diet and make healthier food choices, I found that the foods with coupons didn’t fit with our new lifestyle.
As time went on, I basically abandoned searching through the Sunday paper inserts and now I no longer grocery shop with coupons. Here’s why.
6 Reasons I DON’T Grocery Shop with Coupons
1. Fresh meat and produce rarely have coupons.
We focus on eating healthy, natural foods, especially fresh meat, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and dairy. These items rarely have coupons. Instead, I keep an eye out for the reduced priced meat section at my grocery store and freeze milk that’s on super sale because it’s expiring soon.
2. Coupons encourage spending more money.
This may seem counterintuitive, but the purpose of coupons is to get consumers to buy new products or to get products that aren’t selling well off the shelves. I’ll admit, I’m often drawn in by the marketing of products that are on sale. That bag of popcorn may only be $1 with my coupon, but when I realize that I can make homemade microwave popcorn in under a minute for only $.06 (?!), I’ll pass on the pre-made stuff.
3. Store brands are oftentimes cheaper than brand name products with coupons.
The store brand almond milk we’ve been buying at Mariano’s costs $2.75 regularly priced. Almond Breeze almond milk is typically priced at $3.99, so unless we buy it on sale and with a coupon, it’s hard to beat the store brand’s price.
4. The time spent to find coupons versus the money saved isn’t worthwhile.
Even if we were to find a coupon for that almond milk, the quarter saved isn’t worth the time I put into finding the coupon. There are some packaged products we regularly purchase, like Triscuits, that I’ll keep my eye out for coupons. And if the grocery store gives me coupons with my receipt, I’ll quickly sort through them to see if there’s anything that fits with my regular grocery list. But other than that, I don’t find that searching for coupons is worth the savings.
5. Having extra products means more storage space needed.
Many coupons are for buy one get one free. That means that I have to find the storage space in my 750 square foot apartment for the extra goods. Even if an item is free with a coupon, I think to myself, “Will I actually use this product?” and “Is is worth the storage space?” I truly believe that there’s a cost to having too much stuff. After purging our apartment, I’m very mindful of everything we bring into our home, even if it didn’t cost me a dime.
6. Rebate apps are easier than coupons.
I will admit that even though I’ve mostly given up couponing, I do still like to use rebate apps to save money on groceries. Two of my favorites are Ibotta and Checkout 51. Ibotta has specific offers for stores near you while Checkout51 has offers on specific products at any store. You can even upload the same receipt to both apps for double the savings!
Related: How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Do you grocery shop with coupons? Why or why not?
This post was originally published on April 25, 2016.