web analytics

Why Couponing is a Waste of My Time

I hate to admit it, but I am totally worthless when it comes to using coupons. I’d love to say that I spend my afternoons clipping the Sunday paper and saving hundreds of dollars on diapers and wipes, but unfortunately, I just don’t have the patience for it. At one point, I gave using coupons a valid effort, but I ended up buying a bunch of crap that I don’t even need or use just because it was on sale.  Don’t get me wrong, it was thrilling to save some money in the checkout line. However, I think I’d be better off without a bunch of frozen pizzas and several boxes of Pop Tarts floating around my kitchen, even if I did save $1.47. So, sadly, I pay full price for a lot of products.

Luckily, I have a mother who loves spoiling her grand kids by spending ridiculous amounts of money at Babies R’ Us and Toys R’ Us, thus earning an equally ridiculous amount of rewards points and redeemable coupons. Every time she stops by, she brings me their most recent, infamous “20% Off Any Purchase” in the store. The problem with Babies R Us, and many other stores for that matter, is that by 20% Off Any Purchase, they really mean 20% Off Any Purchase… excluding diapers, wipes, furniture, toys, formula, clothing, breast pumps, monitors, strollers, car seats, or anything else useful. Really?? After everything that the coupon excludes, what the hell can you buy with it?? A bottle of water to rehydrate myself after the ranting I will do at the cash register about how the coupon is totally useless?

Like I said, I’ve given couponing a serious attempt. I designated a drawer in my kitchen and started saving the few that I thought might actually be worth something. The problem with people like me is that even if I go through the effort of clipping and saving the coupons, it’s pretty much a guarantee that I will leave the house to grocery shop without them. Getting myself and the kid out the door, around the store, and through the checkout line is overwhelming enough, so trying to remember to sort through and pack the relevant coupons becomes last on my list of priorities. What ended up happening was the creation of just another junk drawer, full of coupons, most of which are currently expired.

The Infamous (Expired) Coupon Drawer.

The Infamous (Expired) Coupon Drawer.

If there was one thing that I think it’d be worth trying to save some cash on, it’s definitely diapers. I can’t even imagine how much I have spent in the past 18 months. I know what you’re thinking. I should totally try cloth diapers – not only are they less expensive, but earth-friendly as well! Thanks for the suggestion, but I can barely get through the current amount of laundry that is sitting in my hamper and I don’t think adding 10-12 dirty cloth diapers a day is a realistic option for me. Oh yeah, I know, you can hire a diaper service to clean them. But doesn’t that defeat the purpose of trying to save some cash in the first place??

So, when I realized that Huggies offers a rewards program, I decided to give it a shot. All I had to do was take the rewards’ codes on the inside of the packaging and enter them online to collect points in which I could put toward purchasing prizes. I guess I sort of assumed that I’d be able to put these points toward purchasing more diapers, but I was wrong. I quickly realized that creating an account, trying to remember my password every time I logged in, and typing in each (lengthy) code was time consuming. I really wanted to stick with it, so I finally sat down one day and entered the millions of little codes I had saved, thinking I was about to score a serious amount of free shit. Turns out, I had saved about 400 points (and spent probably several hundred dollars on diapers and wipes to get there). I looked through the rewards catalog, realizing that the prizes were things like coupons to Shutterfly. Really?? Just more coupons?? Some of the worthwhile prizes, like a $50 Amazon gift card, cost something like 1300 points. I think I’d need to pop out a second kid and have two in diapers to be able to collect that many points. I finally settled on a one-year subscription to Shape Magazine. Fair enough.

Don't mind the dog hair on the table in this picture. Maybe I should have been vacuuming instead of couponing.

Rewards codes from hell. Do you know how long it took me to read the tiny print and enter the lengthy codes?? 

After realizing that I had wasted an entire nap time dicking around with these rewards codes and catalogs when I should have been washing bottles and mopping my floors, I decided that maybe it wasn’t worth the effort. I Googled the cost for a one-year subscription to Shape Magazine – which turns out is less than $18.00 per year. Next time, I think I’ll use my precious time more wisely and just spend the $18.00 to purchase a magazine, sans rewards codes.

Hell, maybe if I stop trying to be an Extreme Couponer, I just might have the time to attempt cloth diapers.