Mar
02
2010

Are coupons worth it?

Wendy and I are on a “writer’s lock down.” We’ve extended our deadline to the publisher (was due Feb. 28) and got a hotel room, managed babysitters for the kids, and are busily typing away on our new book.

I took a quick drive to Taco Bell and listened to Rush Limbaugh get attacked by callers for admitting to have never used coupons. I’m shocked. How did Rush get a transcript of our new book without our knowledge? I’m changing my server passwords. I had better get this posted now or else the Maha Rushie will come after us for plagiarism. Rush didn’t take on bread baking, but the coupon section sounds eerily familiar. Here’s a sneak peak from our chapter “Financially Speaking”:

On a side note: we don’t bake our own bread. Through the 1990s there was a cultural expectation among stay-at-home mothers to bake their own bread. We looked into it and figured at least a few hundred dollars worth of hardware and ingredients that would end up costing more than the bread outlet. Add to that the labor of messing up the kitchen and the cost of running the oven all day long for a family our size, we are glad we blew off this expectation. For us, it was a no brainer: no way are we baking our own bread.

We’ve literally had mothers at conferences come to us as if we lifted the world from their shoulders. “Thank you, thank you, for telling me you don’t bake your own bread! I’m never baking my own bread again!”

We don’t do coupons, either, and we get the same response from mothers who were told they should do the coupon game. We considered all the time it took to cut coupons and compared it to the savings, and our decision to axe the project was an easy one. Make no mistake about it: coupons are meant to get you to buy certain products, not to save you money. There isn’t anything inherently evil about coupons, but they do control the buyer, not the other way around.

The chapter goes on to explain how grocery store marketing is set up, coupons being one of many ways to draw you in to purchasing the product they (the stores and manufacturers) want you to buy. Whenever someone defends coupons by saying something like, “I saved 50% on my grocery bill because of coupons,” we demand to look at their list. “What list?” they reply, “You mean the receipt?” No, we mean the shopping list they started with. There seldom is one. They were led by the hand by the Sunday paper, told exactly what to buy, and they are now proud owners of a cupboard full of food they may not even get to.

So there you go, Rush. We have this time-stamped prior to your broadcast. It’s all original, and the book goes into further detail on how to save money and live the life God is calling parents to live. Now, back to writing…

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Angie

    Well, praise God! The weight is lifting . . . smiling!

  • http://candle-by-night.blogspot.com LadySnow

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have felt some “pressure” to use coupons, but 99.9% of it is for things we don’t use!

  • Sheri Lorenz

    I think there was a season that if you didn’t coupon or bake your own bread, you were likened unto an unbeliever! God’s yoke is easy! Why do we continue to believe that if we are walking the walk He called us to, it will be oh so difficult?! I must say that recently I admitted that I did make our bread, and I was told that now the “currant” theme is that we shouldn’t use grains at all in our diets and that if I wanted to really be a good mother, I would put our family on this other “godly, homeschool” diet! Whew! I’m so glad His yoke is easy! Thanks for your loving kindness and freeing truth!

  • Jo

    I couldn’t agree more! While I do bake my own bread, its an occasional treat and not a weekly expectation. Also, we manage to feed our family for a ton less than those that use coupons. Make a list and bring that calculator (if you follow a grocery budget like we do).

  • Jennifer

    We do use coupons on items that are on sale anyway, but it is time consuming. I am either a complete moron or the ladies who speak of only spending 30 minutes a week on couponing are lying through their teeth :-)

    We shop from the pantry, but if something is nearly free with coupons, I will make an effort. Then again, I am not talking about getting 30 cents off a bottle of ketchup when you buy brand x, I am talking about getting 100 boxes of cereal nearly free at one time, or 50 cartons of ice cream for 50 cents a piece. That sort of thing. And those deals don’t come on a weekly basis.

  • mollie

    TOTALLY agree on the coupon thing! I always say they are for things I don’t even buy! Like Go-gurt, its cheaper to buy a big container of yogurt. Anyways I am thrilled you are writing a new book and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!!!

  • http://comptines.over-blog.com nicole

    We do not have “coupons” in France. And I never bought in bulk food I did not need…
    But I have been baking our bread for years (7 people) and I just love it…
    I have done a lot of savings this way because bread in france is so expensive and so good you eat too much of it!!!!!!
    Buying bread is a big budget…
    And it is so quick and easy to make! Now we are only 5,I bake it every second day.It’s my pleasure!

  • katie

    i learned to make my own yogurt as a child from my parents (from india). It is way cheaper (I use cheap milk), wholesome, and tasty.

  • Rachael

    I can’t wait for your book!

  • Amy

    I find your views on life and things very refreshing. What a breath of fresh air to read a new perspective. It shows me just how diverse God is and that He doesn’t want us all to be cookie cutter imitations of each other, but rather His image bearers. For the record, we do make our own bread, but for health reasons not as a means of saving money. Thanks again for your generosity in sharing your life with all of “us”.

  • Shelly

    I can’t wait to read this book!! I just love you guys.

    While I don’t use coupons too much for groceries, I have to respectfully disagree they aren’t worth it for toiletry type items. I haven’t paid a penny for toothpaste, shampoo, and the like in the last two years thanks to coupons. Not only enough for our family of 8, but plenty to give to those in need as well.

    I realize not everyone has the stores nearby or the time/patience to do it, but they have been a major help to our budget.

  • Shelly

    I don’t make all my family’s bread, but I do like to make some of it. As I was sticking a loaf in the oven this evening, I started thinking and just had to come back and leave another comment. :)

    Breadmaking, to some, is like hunting for the Jeubs. It may (or may not) save you a few pennies, but you can’t really put a price on special memories and a family working together to put food on the table!

  • http://stephsoundoff.blogspot.com Steph T

    Nice!! I don’t do couponing either, for the some of the same reasons you mentioned. I can’t wait to read more. Glad to hear you are having a little time away to finish the manuscript. I have learned to bake bread recently, but only for the sake of nostalgia (and our German exchange student), not for the purpose of saving money. We purchase from the bread outlet, too.

  • Sheila

    In regard to paragraph two, you must not have used Carbonite… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

    Aaaalllright, Shelly. Points taken. I like your idea of zeroing in on coupons that work, chuck the rest. Not a bad idea. And truth be known, I love it when my Cynthia bakes homemade bread…and she loves baking it.

  • http://www.theviewfromhiddenvalley.blogspot.com Amy

    I DO bake our bread but DO NOT coupon! But I totally get what you are saying! :) Funny post! :)

  • nicole j bideau

    I was a sucker for buy one get one free till I actually worked out that we did not need those frivolous items, I love to bake bread I find it soothing I make it when I can get free yeast from the store. We do not seem to get the same coupons here in the uk well we might do but I don’t buy a paper every day or any day to that matter so if there are coupons in them I don’t know.Made God bless you and your loved one take care love Nicole x

  • http://www.creatingtreasures.blogspot.com tereza crump aka MyTreasuredCreations

    My husband is a very wise man, not only that but a Bible believing man – He believes what God has said in His word. For years he has been telling me against this coupon thing, bread baking trend, cloth diapers and other nonsense that people do because they think they are saving money but they are actually slaving themselves. As another commenter said “the Lord’s yoke is easy.” Why do we complicate it??

    I don’t use coupons, bake break occasionally because I want to, and use disposable diapers. :) God is good and He is my provider.

    Look forward to your book. Get writing. :)

  • http://www.ourfruitfulharvest.com Fruitful Harvest

    Funny my comment is the same as Amy’s comment above~
    I bake our own bread most of the time but have never used coupons!

    The store brand is often cheaper than a name brand with coupon and we shop at Costco for many things~

    Great post….I pray you get your book done! Remember to take time for each other ay the hotel with no kids! {wink wink!}

    Peace and Love,
    Georgiann

  • http://www.joyhomeliving2.blogspot.com Vicki

    Im right there with you! Actually your book has helped me decide to NOT use cloth diapers anymore. Really the cost of water is about the same as the cost of store brand diapers anymore! So for savings reasons paper is just as cost effective! And no coupons we dont buy that stuff anyway. And bread baking is yummy for days when we have soup for dinner but for sandwiches and stuff its not worth my time.. Good article. Cant wait for the new book!!!

  • Jalita

    I agree with you on the bread, but think you are crazy wrong on coupons. The thing is, the average person doesn’t know HOW to use coupons the right way… I used to shop at Walmart and discount grocery stores and think I was doing so well…but it seemed as though we were always out of something. Now that I have learned the art of couponing (and I do only spend about 30 min a week, sometimes less but never more) I have an abundance of groceries and plenty to donate, and spend a fraction of what I did before…and I get to shop at much nicer stores. Call me silly, but I do enjoy that.

    For instance, last week I got a ton of groceries for $18….with coupons and sales I saved almost $80.

  • Stephanie

    I love to bake bread, on rare occasions. What a relief to hear you say I’m not evil for not making our families bread for the week. I felt for a long time that I was somehow missing out or not doing my job right as a mom if I didn’t make bread. But what you said makes sense, spending all that money to buy the products needed and then all the baking time involved seems rather pointless now. Thanks for making it real. I’m excited to purchase your new book.

  • http://hillsidecottage.blogspot.com Kate Scott

    Great post! It’s not just expectations, though. I’ve noticed almost a competition! “I birthed naturally a the hospital.” “I birthed naturally at a birthing center.” “I birthed naturally at home with a midwife.” “I birthed naturally at home by myself.” “I cloth diaper.” “Well I eliminate communicate.” “I cook from scratch.” “Well, I have a 1 acre organic garden and bake my own bread from wheat I grow, harvest and grind myself all while homeschooling my expanding brood and making everyone’s clothes. Did I mention I’m pregnant again and vomiting every hour?” :b :b :b

    Ok, ok, so I’m being a bit tongue in cheek, but you get my drift.

    We do what we do because it’s best for our family and circumstances.

    I do use coupons, but only if they’re for products I use and am planning on buying. We do have a few name-brand products we prefer, so I coupon hunt to help defer their more pricey cost. Otherwise, we either shop at Aldis or buy generic items. We also buy very little processed foods.

  • http://tmlf.blogspot.com Tanya

    Like most things, I think the bread and the coupons are a YMMV type of thing. No one thing is right for every family in every situation. Bread works for us some of the time. Our outlets are expensive. If I can’t get bread for my personal max price, then I bake it. If the discount rack at the grocery looks good that week, I buy it. Coupons work for us as long as I stick with what I would buy anyway. I get a lot of stuff free with coupons, and at this stage in my life the time is worth it for me personally. Again, YMMV. Good post though, and every family should carefully and logically evaluate whether something is worth it, meaning how much it saves and what the trade-off is.

  • http://mommyneedsatimeout.org Karen R.

    I have to say I disagree about the coupons. I live in a place where coupons are doubled and combined with Publix buy one get one where you can use two coupons and its doubled, I get so many items free or almost free and allows me to spend the rest of my budget on some organic items and we eat like kings! If its something I don’t use I can always donate it to a shelter, especially for free items. Its great for toiletries, I have not paid for shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper etc in over a year. Websites do all the work for you so I only spend one hour a week getting it all together and I am not lying about that. Its definitely a way I can stay home and show my husband we can feed as many children God sends us on one small income.

  • Melissa

    I agree with Kate Scott. I mean come on I had a c-section with each of my kids and I feel like I am just as good a mom as any. I use coupons on things that I have on my GROCERY LIST that my family prefers and I also get coupons on diapers that I use that will make them cheaper than the store brand. You have to be aware of what you are buying, make meals list and buy accordingly instead of just running about buying this or that.

  • http://www.shellsgang.blogspot.com Michelle Hall

    Hmmm…Lots of advice. I do use some coupons. I use some manufacture coupons with store coupons sometimes. I buy alot of generic store brand food and products. I only buy what we use.

    I don’t make our bread daily. I occasionally make some honey wheat but, I usually buy our bread from the local bakery outlet.

    Cloth diapers can save you money if you do NOT pay for water. We have well water and I make our diapers myself. After adding up how much it would cost for me to make our cloth diapers for 3 yrs worth of diapering; it was cheaper than buying off brand disposibles for 3 yrs. Besides, I made them sturdy and they can be passed down to any more babies that we may be blessed with.

    I would guess that everyone can find what works for their family the most economically and, something that doesn’t take away “family” time.

    Good luck on the book!

    Michelle Hall
    (Shell)

  • http://www.preschoolersandpeace.com Kendra Fletcher

    I agree with the other coupon users, but I have to say I wouldn’t do it if it weren’t for blogs like moneysavingmom.com and myfrugaladventures.com, both of which do the work for me. I just have to save the coupons and look at the blogs for what the free deals are each week.

    Like Shelly, I haven’t paid for shampoo, deodorant, body wash, razors, toothbrushes or toothpaste in a long, long time (and my husband’s a dentist :D)

    ~Kendra, mom of 8

  • http://apatchworkmommy.blogspot.com a patchwork mommy

    Great post!

    We have 14 children.

    We get free day old bread from a local bakery every few weeks and frequent a bread thrift store.

    Many years ago I thought that a ‘good wife and mom’ made her family homemade bread from freshly ground wheat. I tried it but really did not enjoy it at all. I felt secretly guilty for years over it. Some people do think making their own bread is relaxing.I burn most everything I cook. It is so nice we are all made unique.

    We do not use coupons. We found with our family when we have our Monday meals, Tuesday meals, etc…without much change it keeps our grocery bill down. It also saves me that extra time I would be stressing out each month making a meal plan and shopping list. We
    buy the same things each month even if the cost varies some but it usually does not vary much. If the cost on say whole chicken is much higher we just buy less of that item and make it stretch. This is what works for us.

    Eight of our children are biological (six we adopted ) and I bottle formula fed all our biological children. Most people are shocked when I tell them that. Our kids have been very healthy, none have had colic, or allergies, or the other things we hear are attributed to formula fed babies.In fact our babies were healthier than some breast fed babies we knew.

    There is so much more freedom in Christ than people tend to give each other.

    One of the most freeing things I found having an extra large family is there isn’t the pressure there was when we had say four, five, or six to do what others are doing. We are kind of in our own category. That has been nice.

  • http://apatchworkmommy.blogspot.com a patchwork mommy

    I was so busy working on my goofy post above
    that I forgot to say good luck on your book!!!

    Warmly,
    Tina

    PS (it’s ok to delete my previouse post if it sounds too off-base.I was really just rambling)

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

      Delete your post…are you kidding? You were right on. The comments above show how we have freedom in Christ to make our families work. Strange, yet not that surprising, how clinging to cultural expectations rarely brings the rewards we were promised.

  • http://simplebees.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I love this post! I *gasp* use disposable diapers, deliver in a hospital with a *gasp* OB and an epidural, buy our bread from the store, have formula fed each of my babies at some point, buy laundry soap instead of making my own and *gasp* quit getting the paper to mess around with coupons.

    And God still loves me! ๐Ÿ˜€ We don’t all have to be the same! What works for my family might not work for the next one. We need to hold ourselves up to what God has asked of us, and not our neighbors.

  • Sargents

    Thanks again, Chris and Wendy! One of my favorite scriptures is where Peter is wondering about another disciple’s life and death. Jesus tells Peter, “What is that to you? You follow me.” As Christians, we all have the same basic standards- Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, abide in Him, learn from Him and walk in His ways, trust Him for our salvation, and do His work until He returns; Love one another, forgive eachother and serve, among others. But as we all walk these things out, there are many ways that we can and do differ. We have 9 children and it is a season for focusing on some things above others. I cut coupons back when I had 3 little ones, while they were napping, but have found a better way for us since then. I tried my hand at baking bread a few years ago, but ended up spending so much time in the kitchen that other things got neglected. It’s a balance, using wisdom for each season we are in. Do we have more time, or more money? Are we in a difficult season, or a nice easy one? Can we handle juggling a thousand things well, or is it best for us to simplify and do just a few things very well? God has given us one life to spend for Him and for others. Why waste that precious time worrying about what we can’t or don’t do, and how we can’t keep up with those Homemaking Poster Children? Life is good and full, if we follow His lead.
    Love you guys!

  • Bea

    I use coupons and am proud of the money I save doing so. It takes me less than 5 minutes to go through the Sunday paper and clip the coupons for things we normally buy. I make my shopping list each week and then look through my coupons and grab the ones that work. I’m also subscriped to P&G saver online so once a month I go on their website (they send me an email to say new coupons are available otherwise I’d never remember) and download to my grocery card anything that we might buy in the month.

    Now while I say I use coupons I wholeheartedly agree that I could buy certain things like toilet paper cheaper even with a sale and a coupon but that’s where personal preference comes in. With Costco having just opened up in N. Colorado Springs I re-looked at Consumer’s Report tests on common items and found that it rated Costco’s toilet paper a CR Best Buy. So off to Costco I went and bought a pkg of 50? rolls. Sadly my joy over saving so much money was replaced a two weeks later when every bathroom in the house had the new stuff in it and everyone in the family had sore bums. So I am willing to pay more so I’m not putting creme on my kids bums every night!

  • http://medicationoptional.blogspot.com/ TWoP_Fan

    I enjoy using coupons, but only if they make the price cheaper than the store brand and if it’s on the list. The list is key.

    I enjoy making bread, but when we have so many other responsibilities, why add to the stress? I’ll buy several loaves of wheat in the discount bin, freeze them and coach soccer for an hour instead.

  • http://blessedfam.blogspot.com sandy

    Thank goodness! Glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t coupon! WOO HOO! I do pretty well and get to avoid the headache of coupons.

  • Amy

    We couponed when we just had 2 kids. It really did save us a ton, but it wouldn’t have worked without being a member of a coupon service. Couponing (or “extreme couponing,” which is what I did) was just about a part time job with all the work it took. I did love getting a cartload of groceries for $5, but, now with 5 kids (#6 on the way) I would never have time for it. Also, with 2, we cloth diapered and I baked all our bread, etc…For us, the more children we added, the more value we found in a few conviences.

  • http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ourfunhouseofgod/ Alexia

    I have been laughing at the comments. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I don’t coupon, or bake my own bread… except when I have the time. I LOVE to bake. ๐Ÿ˜€ so whenever I can… I try to.

    I do make my own laundry soap.. it really really only took me about 10 minutes, and lasted our family of 5 about 3 weeks. ๐Ÿ˜€ so worth it for us.

    YAY, for freedom in Christ, and yay for your new book. Can’t wait!

  • http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ourfunhouseofgod/ Alexia

    whoops. I forgot to mention making my own wipes! lol

    Its fun, the kids love it, and its cheaper for me, because when not making them, I bought the name brand. :-)

    can’t believe that didn’t get mentioned. lol

  • Jane

    Happylujah, good stuff! There’s no sin in clipping coupons, making bread, nor not clipping coupons or making bread…each to his own as the Lord directs them. Thanks for all you do!

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