Do you see the difference between the two? When we save money, we are still spending money. When we don’t spend money, there is still money in our pockets.
It’s a hard distinction. But here’s an example. Say there are two bottles of Mr. Clean for sale. You have a coupon for $1.50 off of 1 bottle (no size limit). The first bottle is 30 oz and costs $2.50. If you use the coupon on this bottle you will only spend $1.00. The second bottle of Mr. Clean is 8 oz and costs $1.75. If you use the coupon on this bottle you will only spend $.25. Which bottle should you buy? Now, both are a good deal. In both cases you come out ahead. But, the purpose of couponing is to spend less and if possible nothing. So, I would recommend buying the .25 item. You only pay a quarter, and you still have the extra .75 in your pocket for future purchases.
I am able to get free toothpaste, dish soap, hand soap, toothbrushes, and deodorant. Free. I don’t pay a penny for any of those items. If it cost me a dollar for every time I had one of those items, I would have paid a few hundred dollars a year. Now, the deodorant and dish soap may be the smallest size possible, but that’s ok. I got it for free, it’ll last me for a little bit, and I still have my money.
The great thing about couponing to remember is that those coupons will probably come back around in a few months. So, you can buy those items again (for free), and not have to pay again until the next sale.
A quick disclaimer about savings: Most people don’t save 75%-100% on their bills, most start by saving 40%-60% on their bills. Don’t try to be an extreme couponer, don’t compare yourself with them. Don’t compare with the thrifty guru or his friends. Compare with yourself, look at where you started and see where you’ve gone. Remember, savings will vary from person to person depending on the family, and the resources they need/have.
Also, remember if you don’t use an item don’t buy it UNLESS you can get it for free (and in that case donate it right away), or unless you only have to spend a little bit of change and then again you have a place to donate the item. Try not to be a hoarder/cluterer, and try to be conscientious of others when finding good deals on items.