Why I stopped using coupons

Better than coupons

For nearly six months now I haven’t laid eyes on a newspaper coupon. It’s not that they’re not a useful tool but I have a method that’s working better for me at this point.

I have built up to a six month stock on most household items and now I’m using it up – slowly. Which means the six month stock is probably going to last me 18 if I’m lucky.

Some things I will not replace outright when they’re used up. Once I’m out of shower gel I’ll switch to bar soap. I’m going to experiment with homemade cleaners once I get through my stock of general cleaners and Windex.

Other things don’t really get used up. I have kitchen hand towels and drying towels, bath towels, rags and a stack of dog bath towels. Those take a LONG time to wear out. I can wear good quality clothes again and again without the fabric staining, fading or tearing. When I open a new toothbrush the old one gets thrown in the cleaning cabinet so I can use it to scrub small spaces. Considering how often I scrub those will last me a few years.

This strategy is not really about saving 2 cents by using less toothpaste or stretching shampoo for one more shower. First and foremost it’s about wasting less. Whether you’re an environmentalist or a frugalist, avoiding waste is good sense. Wastefulness is something we have come to expect and enjoy as a right in this country. I want to produce less waste not because of Al Gore and not because of stewardship but because I believe it’s the proper thing to do.

I’m also saving time. If I buy something I’m naturally putting a lot of thought into it. I notice my toilet paper stock is low, I consider the impact of not buying more toilet paper, I do a quick search for coupons online, I may even print one off, I go to the store buy it, pay for it, haul it home and store it. The fewer times I have to do that the better.

I’ve narrowed down my choices for a lot of items so I don’t stand there debating to myself vanilla vs mint mouthwash. Somethings I have a definite preference – like nicer razors that don’t nick my skin – and others I have no preference – most shampoos work fine for my hair. By identifying those preferences ahead of time I save a lot of back and forth.

This doesn’t mean I never buy something I don’t want to use. I might pick it up free in order to include it in a gift pack. And when it comes to some items I like to think long term. I have a gift box and many ways to give to others from my stock without missing a thing.

Yesterday I sent my brother a belated Christmas present consisting of refills for his overnight bag (he travels for work training). New razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving gel and body wash. Total cost: $5.21

Tomorrow: how to stock up a little at a time without breaking your budget.

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2 thoughts on “Why I stopped using coupons

  1. Im very interested in tomorrows post. I love to have extra stock of everything, my husband jokes that our shelves look like they belong in Target because there are multiples of the exact same item lined up neatly in a row across the shelf. I’d love tips on how to stock up frugally!

  2. Im very interested in tomorrows post. I love to have extra stock of everything, my husband jokes that our shelves look like they belong in Target because there are multiples of the exact same item lined up neatly in a row across the shelf. I’d love tips on how to stock up frugally!
    P.S.: Wanted to add great post!

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