Whenever you see the word “dissertation”, you know it’s going to be a long read. Hear me out.
Couponing is all the rage these days. From reality shows about couponing to websites that focus primarily on coupon savings, there isn’t anyone immune to at least a basic knowledge about much money can be saved using coupons.
Couponing can save a lot of money on groceries, it can’t be disputed. With enough time and effort, to the tune of 40-50 hours a week, coupon divas can really rake up the savings and feed their families for almost nothing. Learning how to do this has been a wonderful thing for those who are facing unemployment, the number standing at about 14 million now.
I’ve couponed off and on over the years, with some great success, I might add. I’ve played the “Drugstore” game and once again, scored bigtime. There’s just something about the whole coupon scene that doesn’t sit well with me.
All of us are dealt 24 hours each day, to do with what we choose. We can choose to spend time chasing coupons and sales, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that.
You may also be someone who sees couponing as a “means to an end”, to get you through a temporary situation and once again, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Howevever, I would rather spend my time, given the choice, doing things that increase my skill level and capability to be self-sustaining, for life and not just the short-term.
Issues with Couponing as a Way of Life
* It’s not sustainable: Coupons are primarily offered for convenience foods. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, this is true and we all know it. ”Stockpiling” is achieved by creating an archive of artificial food. Sooner or later, the “stockpile” will run out. If for some reason the grocery store shelves weren’t stocked, or the store even open, this lifestyle would come to a complete halt.
I would rather….pursue a self-reliant lifestyle by growing my own food. No one can take away my skills, the sun, soil or my seeds.
* I have little/no control: I have no control over what major manufacturers choose to offer in terms of sales and/or coupons. They set the rules of the game, I am only a player.
If for some reason companies begin to feel that they are losing money on coupons, they can reduce what is offered almost overnight. These corporations aren’t stupid. They track the coupons and certainly wouldn’t put themselves in a position to lose money.
I would rather…keep control and spend time in books and classes, learning to overcome obstacles to my own food production and increase my yields. I would rather “pay tuition” now, in terms of canning supplies, etc. and learn valuable skills that will last a lifetime.
I would rather….learn how to make laundry detergent at $3 for 10 gallons, rather than coupon-purchase 5 years worth of detergent.
* Feeds my OCD: As someone who has worked hard to recover from real life OCD, I can tell you that couponing isn’t good for me. I get obsessed with it, I want every coupon and every deal…it takes over.
I would rather….live a balanced life, closer to the earth and God, finding balance in the seasons and the ways of nature.
* Hurts relationships: I hurt the ones I love when I coupon, OCD here again. Rather than cuddle with my husband a few extra minutes Sunday morning, I’m rushing out to the mailbox to see what coupons came or if the paper carrier gave me any extra. When I coupon, I deny my family other purchases just because we don’t have coupons for those items. This doesn’t feel right for me. I love my family and want to please them more than my grocery receipt.
I would rather….teach my children how to garden and munch on what we’ve grown. Obsessing over anything in life is a bad idea. I want my kids to see a happy, non-stressed mom who loves what she is able to grow and produce for her family. I want my husband to see what he wants on his dinner plate, not just what I had a coupon for.
* Cheap food depends upon cheap oil prices: A couponing lifestyle depends upon the “cheap food” industry that will not be in play much longer. Cheap food depends upon cheap oil.
World food shortages are on the rise and the US isn’t immune to the coming food crisis. Report after report, coming out of news organizations that are both liberal and conservative, talk about the looming food crisis.
This isn’t about fear and worry, I can’t go there anymore in my life. But what I am into is “long-term thinking“. I don’t want anyone to control what I eat and when/where I can buy it. This is the spirit of the homesteader and “self-sustainability”.
I would rather…stay focused on continual planting, harvest and processing of my own homegrown food, but also buying local and finding other like-minded folks to partner with.
“Why can’t you do both?” you might be asking.
Back to the “24 hours in a day” rational. I guess you could, but I don’t do it well.
Sure, I find an occasional coupon that I’ll use right away, this isn’t about demonizing coupons.
But the effective use of coupons, where you save significant amounts of money, can only be done with a system and commitment that takes a lot of time and energy. You really can’t do both well.
I know that I’m stepping on a lot of toes here, and it’s not my intention to make anyone defensive about couponing.
My heart behind this post is to point out the inherent weaknesses of couponing as a way of life and obtaining food for your family.
My heart would love to see everyone with a small garden full of fresh veggies for your family and a couple of chickens to give you fresh eggs. Urban homesteaders do this all the time!
There are more sustainable ways to get the job done! :)