I often hear from readers that while they would love to learn how to coupon and build a stockpile that the one thing holding them back is that their spouse is not exactly thrilled with the idea. There can be several reasons why a husband or wife (or significant other) is not onboard with the whole idea of couponing.
The three most common reasons spouses are not exactly thrilled about the idea of couponing are:
1Couponing is a waste of time – While it is true that couponing takes time, the time spent saving your family money should not be looked at as a waste of time. Couponing is a hobby, and frankly, it is the only hobby that I am aware of that saves you money. If you were to pick up another hobby, such as scrapbooking, knitting, sewing, fishing, etc. that would cost your family money. On the other hand the time spent couponing can save the average family $75 – $200 a week! If you save on the lower end of that range and do the math that is a savings of $3,900 a year! Just think about what you could do with almost $4000 a year? Go on vacation? Pay off debt? Purchase a new toy or big ticket items needed for the house?
The time it takes each week can be minimal too. I won’t lie though, when you are first learning how to coupon you will spend more time and effort learning the ropes on how to save money with coupons. There is a learning curve just like with any other hobby or pursuit. The average couponer who is past the learning phase spends just 12-20 hours a week couponing. And most of that time is passive time doing things like clipping coupons, looking online at sites like HotCouponWorld for deals and making their shopping lists. All of those activities are things you can do while doing other things or sporadically when you have a bit of downtime. For example I clip my coupons and make my shopping list while watching TV or when I am on the phone. Actually going to the grocery store is probably the only thing you cannot do while doing other things, but you were going to the grocery store anyway. It may take you a little longer at the grocery store, but if you plan your shopping trips out well in advance it shouldn’t take you much longer than before. I personally hit the stores for my deals either late at night once my children are in bed or I squeeze a quick trip in while running other errands throughout the week.
2Couponing is for poor people – This is one of the most common myths I hear about couponing and it could not be further from the truth. Couponing is for everyone! Rich or poor there is no shame in saving your family money. You work HARD to earn your money why should you not work just as hard saving it and making it last longer. The fact of the matter is average income for coupon users is $100,000 a year. Couponing is for SMART people. You have a couple options to build wealth for your family. Earn more money or save the money you already earn. Or, you can do both and get ahead just a little bit faster. So unless you want to get a second job (and in this economy, good luck with that) saving your money is just a smart thing to do. Everyone has to buy groceries, so why not try to find little ways to save some money on the things you are already purchasing?
There is no shame in couponing. If someone out there is judging you for your desire to save money then you just need to change your mind set about it and realize that not everyone is as smart as you for wanting to make your money go further. I have personally seen couponing change people’s lives. I hear all the time about how the money people save from couponing helped them get to a place where they are debt free, paid off their house early, helped them afford to send their children to college, or even just gave them some extra spending money so they could go on a family vacation without going into debt.
3Stockpiling is like hoarding – When you think back to times in the past when our great-grandparents would hunt, grow a garden and preserve food and necessities for the winter or lean times. That was a stockpile. The times have shifted however and most families no longer do those activities, and they don’t have to. Not when there is a grocery store on every major city corner stocked with food and everything a family needs in one convenient location. What is not convenient however is the price of those easy to acquire goods. The market, the manufactures and the stores control the prices. But one way of taking back the control is buying the items your family needs and uses when the prices are the lowest. So instead of buying pasta at $2.50 a package you wait until the price is 50¢ a package on sale with a coupon and you stockup on enough pasta to last your family until the next great sale. This is the basic premise of couponing and stockpiling has a place in that. The key here is to do it reasonably and smartly and not buy things you will not use just because you got a good deal on it. There is a right way to stockpile and there is indeed a wrong way to stockpile. The right way is to focus on getting deals and buying extra of the things your family will use, buying enough of those items to last your family until the next sale on those items. The wrong way to stockpile is to purchase things just because you can get a good deal regardless of need. When you see TV shows such as Extreme Couponing you have to realize that is not a realistic expectation of couponing and stockpiling. Your personal stockpile is going to depend on two things:
- The size and needs of your family.
- The storage space in your home.
That is it! The size of my family’s stockpile (we are a family of 6 with a large home with a basement and garage and some pretty decent storage) is going to be different than that of a family of 3 living in a small apartment.
If you already have hoarding tendencies, hanging on to stuff you no longer need or are not useful to a point where it is disrupting your everyday life and your quality of life then I am going to just say it, stop right here, couponing is NOT for you.
So how do you get your spouse onboard with your couponing?
Communication is the key to getting your spouse onboard with your desire to coupon. Find a good time when you’ll have your spouse’s undivided attention, perhaps after the kids are in bed or whenever you have some time alone with them. It is probably a good idea to have your spouse in a good mood. Approaching a subject that you know they are hesitant about at a time when they have other things upsetting them is probably not a good idea.
Here are some tips to opening up the lines of communication.
- Explain – Approach your spouse with your idea about how you would like to take up couponing to help save your family money. Explain WHY it is important to you and what you think the benefits would be for your family. Use non-confrontational language such as “I think…”, “I believe”. For example, “I think I could really use my spare time to help our family save money.”
- Share YOUR fears – Your spouse may have their own fears about money and you should definitely ask about them, but you should also share your fears. For example, “I am worried that we have accumulated too much debt and I would really like for us to work together as a team and come up with some ideas of how we can save money in other areas of our budget so that we can start paying down our debt” work in how couponing is one the ways you can work towards making your household money stretch further and free up some money to put towards your debt (or other goals).
- Ask about THEIR fears and goals– Open up the dialog and ask them about what their fears are about money. Are they also worried about debt, putting the kids through college, or perhaps they would just like to be able to afford something that is not normally in the budget. For some men, there is also the fear that they are not being good providers. This is a real fear and something ingrained in most men that their “job” is to provide financially for their family. Keep that in mind, because if you come at the subject with a “we don’t have enough” attitude your husband may take that as blow to his manhood and his ability to provide for your family. It is better instead to approach the subject with the attitude that you want to help and work as a partner on reaching your financial goals.
So what do you do when they still don’t want you to coupon?
I am a firm believer that a marriage is a partnership and before you take on any new hobby such as couponing that it is really important to have your spouse on-board. If you have patiently explained and tried to have an open and honest discussion about your desire to help with the family’s finances but your spouse still does not want you to pursue it, you may not have a lot of options but to respect their wishes and keep the peace in your marriage.
That being said there are a couple of final options that are worth giving a try.
Negotiate a trial run – Ask your spouse if they would be willing to let you try couponing for a couple of months (say 6 months) and see how it goes. If they agree, you are going to need to give it your all so that you can prove that you can do this and make a real impact in your budget!
Become a casual coupon clipper – Instead of putting your all into becoming a hard-core couponer you might be able to just do some casual couponing. Clipping and using coupons for the brands and grocery items you already buy each week. No stockpiling is involved here. Just go about your normal weekly grocery shopping but use coupons for those items as you can. Even a couple dollars saved each week adds up!
Skip couponing and find other ways to save money on your groceries – While couponing is one of the best ways (in my opinion) to save on your grocery budget it is not the only way. By shopping the sale flyers and looking for the best deals and loss leaders you can still save a lot. Meal planning and cooking frugal budget-conscious meals is another way to really help save money too. There are a plethora of little ways to save money that do not require clipping coupons such as shopping at bread thrift stores, looking for clearance items and manager markdowns on produce and meat, frugal cooking, and more!
In the end if there is will to save money, there is a way! You just have to have patience and be resourceful!
I wish you well!
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