In the media, it all sounds like a great idea...you spend your time finding great coupons and sales so that when you go to the store, you end up spending very little money. Who doesn’t want to save on their food costs while building up a massive stock of food? Or, you learn to buy in bulk so that you always have what you need and it’s cheaper, right? Coupons and buying bulk: does it really save you money? We think you’re going to be surprised!
Let’s start with the act of couponing; according to Yahoo Australia, in an older, but still relevant article, it’s noted that couponing will take hours out of your week. Not only will you need to spend time finding coupons, you will also need to spend time organising them and the time commitment doesn’t end there. You can’t use all of your coupons at one store - you need to use the coupons where they are accepted, which can end up being numerous stores!
Let’s say you spend 10 hours per week couponing, which results in savings of $100 that week. You just made $10 per hour saving that money - is that enough? Or could you have spent 10 hours freelancing or doing extra work for more than $10 per hour? If obtaining more money or saving more money is your goal, the numbers will rarely add up! While couponing might make sense for some, do the maths before you decide if it’s a good investment of your time.
Now let’s talk about buying in bulk. The danger with bulk purchases is the risk of the product spoiling or going bad in some other way before you have a chance to use it. Can it save money? Yes, but only if you’re using the product in a timely manner, or using it at all. One downfall to bulk buying is that you may purchase an item because you’re getting a deal, when in the end, you won’t use it efficiently. So again, make sure to do the maths and really think through your purchases.
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The Government’s MoneySmart website shows you how small amount loans work and suggests other options that may help you. https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/
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