I came across this article on saving money and started reading it with high hopes that it will point me towards prosperity and alleviate my financial cares.
But no. I was disappointed, as I have been many times before. All the advice given in this article (and many others like it) can be divided into two groups: those that are trite (“when buying, try to separate your needs from your wants”) and those not applicable to me or not very helpful (for example, I work from home and do not drive around a lot, so the gas-saving measures will not make any big difference to my budget).
Coupons are another of my pet peeves. The Simple Dollar and other frugality blogs seem to get miraculous value from them. The Simple Dollar‘s Trent says that using coupons he has been able to buy large boxes of cereals and bottles of shampoo for as low as ten cents. I don’t know what’s the trick here. Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe grocery coupons in the US work in an altogether different way than in Canada. Maybe groceries there are much cheaper. I don’t know. In my case, all the coupons can be divided into two groups: those that are only good for a small package (in which case I will get a much better value buying a large package anyway, and then I would not be able to use a coupon), and those for products that I don’t buy anyway (something overprocessed and overexpensive, in a box or a jar with a brightly coloured label). For some reasons, coupons for simple things like bread, fresh meat or vegetables never happen.
Besides, most coupons are not valid in conjunction with any other discount. Is that a purely Canadian thing?
One more thing. Trent clips his coupons out of a newspaper. Deduct the cost of newspaper subscription from the coupon savings, and what do you get?
Possibly it makes better sense to try and earn more than to save more, after all. But, alas, at the end of the day, this is also trite.