WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Couponers saved $4.6 BILLION in 2011!

Posted February 9, 2012

The numbers are out and according to NCH Marketing, shoppers saved $4.6 billion last year using coupons! That's an increase of 12.2% from 2010.

A recent article from, shows that coupon redemption has increased 58.6% in the last five years. Clearly the struggling economy has resulted in an increase in coupon use by consumers.

One of the statistics I found interesting is that overall, the average coupon value offered (but not necessarily redeemed) was $1.54. For just grocery items, the average coupon value offered was $1.17 and for health and beauty items, the average value offered was $2.09. I don't know about you, but the average coupon I actually redeemed for grocery items was far less than $1.17 face value. Many of the coupons for food items we use in our home have gone down in value to 50 cents or less. If it wasn't for stores that double coupons, my savings would be significantly less. Thankfully, we do have stores in the Triangle who double coupons every day of the week making my real savings per grocery coupon closer to the $1.17 indicated in the findings.

Another fascinating statistic is that of all the grocery coupons released, there were 3 product types that issued more than any others: candy & gum, butter & margarine and died fruit. I have to agree that we have seen many more food coupons for those products than coupons for products we really need to make healthy meals like rice, pasta, yogurt, frozen vegetables, tuna, tofu, etc. We all know that coupons for meat and fresh produce are few and far between, but coupons for other food staples do exist. Many of the best coupons I am finding are coming from printable coupons and directly from manufacturer's.  I hope that in the figures for next year, it shows that there were more coupons issued in 2012 for products that keep our families healthy and not just full of chocolate and butter covered raisins. A girl can hope, can't she?

What are your thoughts on the recently released numbers?

Has your coupon use increased by 58% (or at least significantly) in the last 5 years?

If you have increased your use of coupons, what specifically prompted you to turn to coupons to cut costs?



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  • heremeaj Feb 10, 2012

    Amen Nancy! For the past three years we have been in the zone of not "needing" anything and buying at great prices to replenish. We just pick off the great deals and eat from the freezer/stockpile when there are no good sales. Amazing how cheaply you can live when the food budget is changed. I rarely consider things that are not achieved at at least 50% off as a starting point and overall our household spend is probably paying 25-40% of retail for things. It really is fun to see how you can get what you want and not pay much for it.

  • Nancy Feb 9, 2012

    bowb4me2 - do you maintain a stockpile of food items etc? Not a roomful mind you, but enough to satisfy 2 months ahead? That really helps you in the long term.

    It allows you to wait for a good sale/coupon match up on everything you need and not run out while you're waiting.

    For instance, I have a one year supply on peanut butter, paid anywhere from "0" to "$1.00) a jar for it. Since it has a long expiration date, I'm good, it will be used before it expires. BUT it allows me to wait for a terrific deal to back fill that supply as needed. So if one doesn't happen for a couple months, I'm not stuck buying it at a price I'm not totally happy with.

    You can do that with every item you use a lot of or consume routinely (personal care, food, paper, cleaners etc).

    That's what keeps me way ahead on the budget, not 'needing' anything but just picking off the super good deals week to week keeps that supply going.

  • bowb4me2 Feb 9, 2012

    I've been couponing for years and the rate for me has stayed about the same, however I've noticed alot more people using coupons in the stores. I used to be in the minority. Now I see MEN all the time using them.:) I see couples split up in the store and do the couponing/shopping together. What's sad is that my dollar doesn't go as far. I'm putting in the same amount of effort as I used to, but with less reward. I can't seem to get my grocery bill down as low as it should be. It just keeps going up and up, but I'm working my tail off to coupon and do menu planning, sales, MIR's etc.

  • cdwp521 Feb 9, 2012

    I started cpning in March '11, what a wonderful thing for my family. I've saved so much, tried new products and met wonderful like minded couponers. I lost my job in April '11, if it wasn't from couponing it would be hard to feed my family on my unemployment on top of my bills. I appreciate this blog and the guided information I've learned from this site. I'm not a Faye/Nancy (thanks ladies) but I've shared my couponing knowledge to any of my friends that's interested. Looking forward to continued great savings with coupons. I will not stop couponing, a penny save, is a penny EARNED for my family.

  • luvstoQ Feb 9, 2012

    I have ALWAYS been a couponer, and it has helped our family tremendously. I will not try new products without coupons. I have been adding up my savings for quite some time, and what I have saved (without trying products not really necessary, but useful) I put toward a fund that practically pays for a nice vacation each year. That's what I call "healthy" savings. Coupons were a lot less in value when I started, then increased, and now are going down somewhat with quicker expiration dates. Still very much worth my time for me.

  • Nancy Feb 9, 2012

    Those relatively 'new' to couponing, isn't it amazing that as you learn and save more you find yourself looking at deals and saying to yourself "nope, not good enough, I'll pass and wait for a better deal"?

    That's when you KNOW you've arrived to the higher level LOL!

  • knowles7806 Feb 9, 2012

    I started couponing in May of last year and it's hard to believe that there are those out there that don't use coupons ever! Sometimes I want to just shake people that try to tell me they can do just as well shopping at a wholesale store as I do shopping with coupons! Seriously?! I think to myself that it must be nice to have money!! LOL! I think even if I didn't have to pinch pennies, I wouldn't stop couponing. What a waste to pay full price for everything!

  • prisskat Feb 9, 2012

    I really got into couponing last year. I have always loved a good sale now there is very little I buy that isn't on sale or has a coupon. This year I'm using your tracking sheet and keep track of exactly how much I save and spend. My mom called me the coupon queen. I told her no, I was just a princess in training! ;)

  • 40andtired Feb 9, 2012

    As my knowledge of couponing increases, so does my usage of them. I've just become a 'cheap' person! Sadly, I still can't convince all my family and friends to jump on the wagon. Lastly, if it weren't for you Faye and Nancy and others on this blog, I wouldn't know about all those special deals that make my day too!

  • carelesswhisper Feb 9, 2012

    I didn't use coupons until last May I think it was. I stumbled upon this blog and thought that I would give it a try. With a baby still in diapers it helps tremendously!

    Now I won't buy certain items if I don't have my coupons with me.