An Alternative to Coupon Clipping?

INTRODUCTION

I derive joy about not necessarily being brand loyal unless it deserving and is a good value. In my mind, good value is how the product measures up and is it money worth spent.

If you don’t mind choosing generic or brands on sale, why spend so much time clipping coupons?

DON’T ADVERTISE TOO MUCH…The more a brand is advertised, the more suspicious I become about their higher price and the overall value of that product. I know it’s not always fair, but generally, it’s an accurate model to shop by.

IS COUPON CLIPPING PASSE…It’s becoming more passé to clip coupons, to help mitigate the additional price you pay for brand items. I have a better solution, ignore coupons for the most part, and buy generic or the store brand. Yes, you save money-using coupons but there’s a greater cost to begin with. Coupon marketers (and some coupon clipping TV shows) fail to mention that fact.

IN LOVE WITH COUPONS…Shoppers who are in love with coupons sometimes will buy too much of an item – they are getting such a good deal with an item that they may buy too much of that product and enough to last for many years. It’s important to remember that it’s only a good deal if you need the item or will use it in a timely fashion.

RETAIL CONTRARIANISM…It is not just about saving money. It’s about thumbing my nose at those marketers. You’re bombarded with ads on TV, radio, Internet to just name a few. Sometimes, I wonder, if it’s empowering to bypass popular and more expensive brands that are part of a larger, TV advertising campaign?

ARE YOU BRAND CONSCIOUS?…If you’re not brand conscious, you can find a great opportunity to save money. For example, if you’re looking for cookies, pasta or corn chips, and are flexible and not focused on any one brand, invariably you can find these items on sale. This can save you 20 to 50%. Sale items come and go so the following week or two, this same principle could apply to cheese, milk, some frozen items and other items. This approach is not foolproof although it works most of the time.

ONLINE SALES FLYERS OR ADS…Obviously sale flyers can be helpful to help look for deals ahead of time before visiting the store. Sometimes, if I have time, I’ll review the sales flyer online. Another option is talk to the store manager. Sometimes you can get some tips about sales items or what will be on special later that month.

ONE EXCEPTION TO COUPONS IS COSTCO…There is one exception to the rule about focusing too much on coupons and I must mention Costco. Costco sends members (over 60 million in the U.S.) coupons every 4-6 weeks. Some coupons are useful and some are not. Regardless, they have significant coupons – ranging from $2-5 off in most situations. Some apply to larger ticket items, vitamins and food. The coupons that I find most useful apply to food. If I spend $100 at Costco with a 15-16% markup, I can often use between $10 and $15 in coupons. A few days ago, I spent about $220 and I saved $27.50 in coupons. Not a bad deal considering most of their products are of higher quality and are inexpensive at their regular price.

Is couponing always the way to go? Is couponing overrated? How do you feel about possible alternatives to couponing?

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.