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It's Not Really Savings: How Coupons Are Wasting Your Money and Time

Clipping coupons is synonymous with saving money. The mere mention of frugal living paints a picture of the long hours spent at the dinner table to shred the Sunday paper into a pile of money-saving coupons. Why Coupons Don't Actually Save Money Money Talks News.

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1. Price / reward ratio is low

In exchange for the modest savings they offer, traditional coupon clipping is a demanding taskmaster.

When you buy a newspaper, cut out the coupons you want, organize them, keep track of expiration dates, and find stores where you can redeem those coupons, it seems like you should get the product for free.

2. Coupons are being manipulated

It's no secret that manufacturers and retailers only want us to use coupons for one reason: to introduce us to products we don't normally buy. Once the supply disappears, they expect the demand to remain and the price may gradually increase.

Most coupons are distractions that only add new items to your shopping list.

If you want to save on the things you really need, check out coupons online directly from the manufacturer.

On the subject: Help save money on groceries and more: top 16 best loyalty programs in various American stores

3. Coupons distract you from better deals

Saving money doesn't have to be an obstacle course. It's easier and more profitable to just stick to the brands in the store, find out what products to buy, or wait for a sale in the store.

Store brands often offer better deals than coupons - and without the hassle. Without spending on advertising campaigns, generics are usually much more profitable for packaging designers and product innovators.

4. Coupons promote prepackaged and processed foods

When it comes to groceries, coupons often sell convenience foods that are more expensive and less useful.

5. Coupons encourage over-purchases.

To take advantage of a discount, coupons often require the purchase of more than one item. This may be fine for products you know and love, but it's risky otherwise.

What if you don't like the taste of coffee or the smell of moisturizer? Instead of the cost of one item, you lose several.

6. Coupons increase brand loyalty

Part of the purpose of coupons is to establish a pattern of buying behavior and build brand loyalty. In matters of love, loyalty is a virtue. But when it comes to shopping, a little cheating can come in handy.

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By blindly sticking to one brand of yogurt, sauce, or toothpaste, you are likely to miss out on great deals or products you might like more.

Brand loyalty can speed up the buying process, but that's where the benefits end.

7. Coupons are not free

Don't think that these "free" coupons you get with your check don't require payment.

Most of them are created as part of complex loyalty programs that track dozens of data points, such as what time of day you shop, how much you spend on average, what services you use in the store, and whether you have children.

Stores can not only use it themselves, but also sell your information. In exchange for these discounts, you can give away a lot of your privacy.

Read also on ForumDaily:

Walmart regularly runs secret sales with discounts of up to 70%, but they are not publicly reported.

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