I’ve written and rewritten this post about 10 times.
It’s hard to put into words why I quit couponing.
Hard for a number of reasons.
This site was originally founded on the principal of using coupons to save money on your grocery budget. I’ve taught over 100 classes on how to use strategic shopping principals to save money at the store. I was known in certain grocery stores as “hot mama”…the one who uses coupons all the time.
But the days of clipping 10 – 15 coupons per grocery trip are gone. I did an experiment and kept track of the number of coupons I used in the last three months..it was twenty. What I saved wasn’t enough to cover the cost of the newspapers.
Don’t get me wrong, I will still look for ways to save money. (Who wouldn’t?) I will still use strategic shopping principals like making a meal plan, cash only or keeping an up-to-date price book. I’ll shop outside of the box and utilize Amazon Subscribe & Save. I’ll take advantage of Ibotta and Savingstar.
But overall, I’ve decide to quit couponing.
The reason is simple.
There are not enough coupons for the things our family eats or uses to make it worth the time.
1. Coupons and deals are not as plentiful.
When I started couponing, it was unheard of to ever pay for a razor, toothpaste, lotion or body wash. Canned veggies were almost always free. Cereal was either free or $.50 per box. But now, those deals are rare (with the exception of cereal). Brands became savvy. They realized the growth in redemption wasn’t about an increase in trial, rather people stocking up and reselling items at garage sales. The gravy train I once rode is gone.
2. Our family drastically changed our eating habits.
We’ve eliminated many pre-made, from-a-box foods from our house and have focused on homemade, can pronounce all the less-refined ingredients meals or snacks.
We did this for two reasons. One, both my husband and son have cycles of depression. We’ve done extensive research and found the right supplements, regular exercise, and a diet in whole foods can eliminate the depression cycle. (Source: The Depression Cure)
Second, as I have aged (aka turned 40), I have found green juices are a lifeline to helping me staying on track mental and physically.
So we are eating a LOT of fresh veggies and produce from Door to Door Organics and traditional bricks and mortar stores. We have gotten rid of pre-packaged over-sweetened cereal, pre-packaged lunch options and snacks, and are enjoying homemade baked goods, energy bites and dinners from scratch instead.
3. Creating a meal plan was the key to us saving money.
During my couponing hey-day, I would try and cobble items I had purchased inexpensively into a meal plan. Nine times out of ten that meant only one or two meals per week that our family was excited about eating. I felt guilty about buying anything that wasn’t on sale, which made it nearly impossible to try new recipes. I was a frustrated, uninspired, and a bored cook.
Considering I LOVE TO COOK and am gifted at it, it seemed silly to waste a God-given talent in order to save $75 every month. By allowing me to explore my passion, we have defined weekly meal plans every week that I’m excited to make, we no longer eat out on a regular basis and are enjoying a variety of vegetarian and meaty meals.
What Does that Mean for You, My Beloved Readers
Because of the three reasons listed above, it is hard for me to stay on the past road and be authentic.
I can’t post deals about Hamburger Helper. Or Land O Lakes Skillets. Or Smart Ones. Or Peanut Butter Toast Crunch. Because I don’t believe those things are good for my family (or yours).
It also means that starting next week, Redefined Mom will no longer be doing coupon matchups for the local stores or drugstores. I will have a page on the site for Healthy Coupons and will continue to have the Coupon Database available for you to search. And I will still be posting online deals (because I like shopping online.) Outside of the coupon matchups, there should be no discernible differences because we’ve been making small, incremental changes on the site since last September.
I realize this change in me (and furthermore, my site) might make you decide to quit reading the blog.
I hope you will stay around, but I understand. I know there are many of you trying to make ends meat with a limited budget and you RELY on those coupon matchups. Please know that if we met face to face, I’d tell you I don’t take it personally and then give you a huge hug, because I’ve been in your shoes. You need to do what you need to do for your family. PERIOD.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my vision for Redefined Mom and beyond in 2015 in my I LOVE These Things post.
This site is about redefining who “you” are…that could be your makeup routine, the clothes you wear, how you organize your closet, homemade eye cream, or taking a skiing vacation. (And believe me, I want to find the best deal or the best resources to do it, that hasn’t changed.) I want to provide you articles and information that help better your life, for the long term.
And God-willing, that mantra of helping women redefine “you” will make me relevant for the next five years, as I have been these last five years.
Totally agree with you it’s all junk. I too have realized that couponing ain’t what it used to be. Besides there aren’t any deals on grapefruit or kale. Keep posting and I’ll keep reading, I love online shopping too with free shipping. It’s just easier when you’ve got kids. Thanks for being yourself!
Thanks Juanita! I really appreciate you leaving a comment and supporting me for being authentic. 🙂 And I agree, couponing isn’t what it used to be.
Yay! I’m right there with you! The coupons aren’t what they used to be, I hardly ever buy anything the coupons are presented for and I want to eat more healthy foods and you rarely see coupons for produce!
So, cheers and brava to you Kelly! I hope your reasoning (healthy foods) will inspire others to look at what the cheap food might be costing them elsewhere in their budget (more time at the gym trying to burn off those loaded calories, for example, even if they remain healthy eating prepackaged food).
Thanks Juliee. I agree, coupons aren’t what they used to be and there is a cost to eating non-whole foods. It might not be immediate, but it is definitely there long term. Thanks for leaving a comment and showing support. It was hard post to write and I love the positive feedback I’ve received thus far.
I’m still with ya, Kelly! I don’t really use coupons that much anymore…but I really spend less just going to Aldis, Costco (for certain items…not much), Sprouts for lots of produce on Wednesday (double ad day), and the Price Chopper by our house (mostly stick to sale items). I am glad you are keeping the coupon data base as I still occasionally use that to see if any sale items have a coupon or for shampoo, toothpaste, etc…I can totally relate to your shift in focus! Continue to love the site!
Thanks Laura. You shop the exact same way I do…an occasional coupon here or there, but not very often. And thanks for being a long-time reader and commenter. I always get a smile when I see your name come up.
I have to admit it makes me a little sad just because it’s the end of an era. With that being said, I couldn’t agree more! I scroll through the deals at lightning speed these days since I don’t want to buy most of what’s listed anyway. And, I’ve noticed your focus on whole food and healthier living and have wondered if it didn’t bother you a little to advertise for Hamburger Helper, lol. 🙂 So, I say good for you for sticking up for what you believe in. I’m also trying to be healthier in what I prepare for my family. And, while it is a bit more expensive now, I believe the long term benefits are totally worth it. Thanks for all you do and good luck in the next adventure!
HA! I guess I’ve been a little transparent over the last few months, huh? And I agree with you Alicia, it is more expensive, but I think we either pay upfront now or pay out big later. And thanks for your support and leaving a comment.
Beautiful blog! Thank you for this. I’ve been waiting. Great work
Thanks Robin. And thanks for commenting, I really appreciate it.
Kelly, I hear ya. I haven’t collected newspapers in a while. I buy from among what’s on sale, but not exclusively, and keep a mental price book of the things we get commonly. I may print a coupon, if I happen to notice a match-up, but it’s true. Deals just aren’t what they used to be. I was always a pretty savvy consumer, and the couponing craze gave me a few more tools for my toolbox, but I learned a while back that it’s ok to miss a deal. There’ll be another one. And a good price doesn’t mean I need it. At the same time, never pay more than you have to, but know the definition of “have to”. For example, I don’t watch the ads for a jar of minced garlic. I just don’t need a new one that often. So I just get it at Aldi’s and call it a day. It may be cheaper somewhere else, but I don’t look. My time is more valuable. Here’s to fresh food and whole cooking!
I think that is key…just because something is a good deal, doesn’t mean it is the right deal for me. I’d rather spend $2.00 on a bag of apples, then four boxes of sugar-infused cereal. So cheers, we can click drinks over our chicken and kale. LOL.
But coupons can have their place. A friend of the family bought a tube of big kid toothpaste for the kindergartner who wasn’t responsible, which lead to little brother squeezing it all down the toilet. She told said child that he would have to gather his pennies together and buy a new tube. I support the lesson in responsibility, but printed out a 50 cent head start for him. An act of mercy. 🙂
I totally support this and I’m happy for you in this journey! I was never an extreme couponer and I’ve always had the limits of it not working out for me because our family doesn’t buy 80% of the items you can get with coupons. But you can definitely still shop smart. I still look for sales and match my meal plans each week to what’s in season and what’s on sale. We have a family of 6 so I’m always looking for bulk deals and Costco is a life-saver for us on organic items. Now days I make my list based on sales and nutritional value, and then before I hit the stores I do a quick online search for coupons. If they are there I print them, if not I still buy those items. The concept of couponing definitely helped to change my mindset about purchasing items in the retail world. Too bad there were a lot of greedy people out there that ruined it for the rest of us “moderate” couponers. Thanks again for your website, for all you provide and I will continue to follow even though the emphasis is not on coupons anymore.
Thanks Nicole. I agree, I will always shop smart, but I just won’t chase the deals like I used to. But you are so right, if it wasn’t for learning about couponing, I’d still be doing 80% of my shopping at Walmart and calling it a day. No more.
I just happened to find your Pinterest link to this post today. I wanted to say I really do agree with this post. Most of the coupons are for things I don’t buy. I hardly ever find coupons for produce, meats, breads & organic items. I still get 1 Sunday paper to read & if I like the coupons I’ll get a 2nd, or I more often I use that money to buy multiples of the 1 coupon I do like from a coupon clipping service. I used to feel bad passing up on all these deals, but now I just let it go too. I get good prices at Aldi’s & on Wegman’s organic items. I also get good deals at Target with their store coupons, Cartwheel & clearance products.
Sue. I still shop at Target too. I love a good double or triple dip of savings. 🙂
I just signed up for your newsletter & I couldn’t have picked a better time. I used to be the die-hard couponer as well, but those deals just aren’t there. Even with coupon savings on name brands, you can’t get a great deal .50/2. So, I buy 90% store brand, meat from a local farmer who grass feeds his animals, and I’m learning about whole foods. Thanks Kelly, I’m sure to like it ’round here.
Welcome, Pam. I hope you enjoy the blog!
Sue Thomas says
I guess I am one of the very few that still do coupon and am really going to miss that portion, because I did frequently stock up on the deals that were listed. There is no doubt I, like most families, am trying to make ends meet, but even if I didn’t need to stock up on the items for my family, the deals were so good I purchased them anyway. I figured for no more than what the items cost, in some cases nothing at all, why not pay it forward? I have donated items to food pantry’s, churches, and other types of shelters numerous times and they are very grateful for it, because when you have nothing to eat at all, hamburger helper will do just fine, not to mention a razor or toothbrush of your very own. I have been doing a lot of searching on the internet, hoping to find a similar website. So far I have not had much luck, hopefully I’ll come across something soon, regardless I have enjoyed your information and I am still sticking around.
Sue, I completely understand and am thankful for your comment. You are keeping it real and that is what life is about. I’m glad you are sticking around. 🙂
I am so excited to see the new you and the new blog/website.. I continue to refer local people (and even those out of this area) to your page. You have and always will be a major resources I use and suggest to others. I am excited to see all the new things for 2015!! Way to go and stay Healthy!!!
Thanks Kim! And thanks for sharing my page with other people. I love personal referrals!!
I am the same..I used to teach classes and had 4-6 months of stockpile but with my husbands possible heath issues, trying to lose weight and maintain healthy eating there really isn’t much left. I use Target cartwheel and my target card to get deals. I have noticed on alot of the other coupon sites that the people who are now couponing are misusing them and I strongly believe that is why companies have stopped putting out good coupons.
We recently found Wildtree, which is a great company and mostly only cook with their products..they taste great and are good for you.
I agree about coupon misuse, Jennifer. I’ve always said, no brand sits in a marketing meeting trying to figure out how Kelly can get 250 bottle of mustard for free. And that is interesting about Wildtree. I’ve just started doing freezer cooking at my local Hy-Vee and it has been going awesome.
I had Dr. Illardi (Author of the Depression Cure) as a professor at KU. He certainly has many insightful ideas that just plain make sense.
I can’t wait to see what is next for you blog! 🙂 My mom, aunts, and all love reading your page.
That’s cool you had Dr. Illardi! He’s changed my husband’s life…so thankful for his common sense approach.
I got here from your daily deals section and what you’ve taken the time to write makes a lot of sense. We stopped doing it for similar reasons and we still eat well (better actually) and we are saving money at a better rate then ever before. I’ll still clip a coupon if I’ve bought a newspaper and it’s there staring me in the face offering a fabulous deal but I’m no longer searching them out.