In light of my recent post about The Blade’s Coupon Queen promotion, you might be wondering, “Just how many coupons do you really need, anyway?”
The objective of having extra coupons is to enable you to buy what you will need in the future, that you can get for cheap or free now, and buying enough quantity that you won’t need to buy it again until the next great sale. Or in one word: Stockpiling (we’ll cover that in more detail later).
So back to the coupon question – a good general rule is to have one of each coupon insert every week per household member. We have a family of four, and that works for us.
I originally chose this number when Kroger Perrysburg was offering super double coupons every day (doubling up to $1), because their limit per transaction was four “like” coupons. Having four coupons for each item allowed me to purchase the maximum number of a single item in one trip. It prevented me from abusing the store policy by doing multiple transactions. And having used all my available coupons in one visit, I was also then not tempted to return to the store a second or third time during the same sale period to get more items, which would have been an unnecessary waste of time.
Now that the days of super doubles have ended, I still use the four coupon rule as a guide. I found that four “like” coupons is quite enough to:
Supply our family with a nice stockpile.
Allow us to make regular donations to the food pantry.
Prevent me from getting caught up in the practice of excessive couponing.
ALL for $200 to $300 per month less than I was spending before I started using coupons.
I do know people who buy 10 or more newspapers each week. So it’s certainly a subjective decision. If you find that you’re having to regularly manipulate a store’s coupon policy in order to use that many, though, I’d say it’s time to reexamine your methods.
(Disclaimer: sometimes I do get more than four “like” coupons, e.g. when a friend donates them to me, or when a printable coupon is issued for the same item as a Sunday insert coupon. I just don’t go out of my way to acquire more than four.)
For more about staying grounded while coupon shopping, check out Paula Wethington’s article 10 rules to play fair while shopping with coupons.