Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If it were free...

Jeana explains what I consider the most misunderstood question of coupon critics everywhere:

"...you have to ask yourself, not "Is this something I normally buy?" but "Is this something I would use if it were free?"

Read the rest of her supermarket savings advice at Days To Come.

3 comments:

MoneyDummy said...

Hear, hear! I always hear people say that you should only coupon for things you would have bought anyway. I then picture some eccentric old millionaire stopping these people on the street and offering to sell them a 2007 Corvette for five hundred dollars only to have these people say, "No thanks. I wasn't planning on buying a Corvette."

The REAL question people need to ask themselves is, "Will this item fill a need which I would otherwise have to fill through another expenditure?"

So, maybe you don't generally buy frozen meals, but do you have an occasion coming up on which you were going to need quick, less-than-gourmet food for your family? The twenty-cent frozen meal will fill that need.

When I went out yardsaling, I wasn't planning on buying an unopened set of Christmas cups and plates, but I did know that I would be needing to put together some kind of Christmas gifts for DH's office. Ergo, they'd fill a need.

That's how people should coupon and bargain shop.

Anonymous said...

The risk there is developing a taste for the more expensive brand name thingie that you can't often get. Or worse, having your husband (who one really shouldn't flatly say "no" to) develop such a preference. If that happens and the coupons dry up or are irregular in coming, I have a difficult situation where what had previously been fine is now a source for feelings of deprivation. If I stay with generics, I may lose a few dollars over the course of a year but I don't risk losing many, many more. Or worse, risk associating frugality with inferior products we'd rather not have to use.

This exact thing happened to me with Irish Spring Body Wash. My husband strongly prefers the scent but was happy with the bar soap until I brought home a free sample of the body wash. Now using the bar soap is a step back that he doesn't want to make and I need to decide if spending $8 or so a month on body wash is worth the disagreement. But no matter what I decide, I can't go back to the days of him being perfectly content with the frugal alternative. The free sample has turned out to be very expensive.

MoneyCommonSense said...

I've been thinking a lot about this lately and I think my only fear would be to become a hoarder. I hate clutter. I do stock up on things that I need in reasonable amounts. But I can't think of having stacks and stacks of items it will take me one to two years to go through. Call me silly, but I think the sale will come around again.