Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Wonder.........

I wonder......  Is it cheaper to use coupons or buy generic?

This question appeared on the Facebook page earlier this week and got me thinking.  When my oldest cherub was a baby and toddler, I used to use coupons.  But I was spending more by trying to use the coupons than I was saving so I decided that it would  be much easier, and cheaper, to just buy generic.  It's all the same, right?  For us, it did save money for a while.  But as our family grew so did the grocery bill - even with all the generics.

Fast forward to this past January when I did an overhaul on how I shop and started REALLY saving money.  The big "secret" to using coupons is that you have to change the way that you shop.  You can't just decide to save money and **BOOM** money saved.  If you really want to save money and spend less, you need to approach it from a logical perspective.  For example, before coupons I would shop sales, but I didn't buy it if I didn't need it within the next week or two.  I was always down to the last paper towel or roll of toilet paper before I got more and my cupboards often looked as bare as the day I moved in to my house.

Once I started using coupons, I actually had to clean out all my cupboard and closets to make room for the things I was beginning to stockpile.  I'm not so extreme that I'm building shelving in my garage or stacking cereal in my closet, but my cupboards are definitely not empty anymore.  I never run out of toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, soap or toilet paper and I have 6 months of dishwasher detergent under my sink.  Am I extreme?  Maybe.  Is my stockpile taking over my house?  No.  Am I saving money?  Every time I go to the store.

So, to answer the question - I believe that if you are going to "buy as you go" it's probably cheaper to just stick with generic unless you happen to see a coupon the week you run out of something.  If however, you are willing to take a little bit of extra time to organize and plan ahead, coupons will almost always save you more than the generics.  (Insert disclaimer here - this is, of course, strictly my opinion, not proven fact)

Is there something you have been wondering?  A question you haven't seen asked or answered yet?  Leave a comment and we'll do our best to answer each one.

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