How Clipping Coupons Got Me Into Trouble

January 14, 2008 at 4:33 AM 15 comments

About a year ago I began a subscription to the weekend edition of the Washington Post so I could try my hand at clipping coupons. Since that time I’ve managed to save a ton of money on personal hygiene products like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo and razors. I’ve also saved a ton on cleaning products like dish soap, laundry detergent, and bathroom cleaners. (Although, once these run out I’m switching over to simple vinegar and baking soda.) I’ve made a dent in our general food bills for staple items like sour cream, butter, ketchup and salad dressings. I try to use coupons in combination with sales, though I’ll admit that I don’t keep on this as much as I should.

When clipping coupons I tend to adhere to one rule. I won’t clip coupons for items that I wouldn’t otherwise buy. My dad clips coupons, but he’s a sucker for buying the latest cookies, crackers, chips, etc., just because he has a coupon for it. Most of the time I throw these coupons out. I don’t want to bring unwanted food into the house just because I bought it with a coupon.

But a few weeks ago I broke my rule by clipping a coupon for POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice. I noticed the local Food Lion in North Carolina had the juice on sale, so with the coupon in hand I decided to give it a try. I bought two 16 ounce bottles for around $1.50 each. I brought it home poured myself a glass and fell in love. I’m not usually much of a juice drinker. I love the taste of water, so I drink it more than any other beverage, but that pomegranate juice has the best flavor.

The problem: POM’s juice typically costs $3.99 for a 16 ounce bottle. That’s a crazy amount of money to spend on fruit juice. So now every time I pass a bottle I’m tempted to buy one. In fact, I’m so in love with the flavor that I’ve considered buying a stack of POM coupons off of eBay. I should have left that coupon attached to the insert. If I’d never clipped it I wouldn’t be so tempted to buy more.

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15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. T.  |  January 14, 2008 at 5:04 AM

    Funny that you’re writing about this, because I just wrote a post over at The Frugal Law Student about The Grocery Game, it should be up at about 7:00 a.m.

    The long and short of it is that I only clip the coupons for products I would already buy, not as a vehicle to test new products cheap, because as you point out, you know in the long run you will be paying full price if you decide you love the product.

  • 2. Dawn  |  January 14, 2008 at 8:29 AM

    Since you like water anyway, have you thought about watering the juice down? That would make it go twice as far…

  • 3. Brooke (Dollar Frugal)  |  January 14, 2008 at 11:43 AM

    I hear you on this problem…I have the same one. It eventually leads to price slip…I slip into a higher cost of living slowly but surely.

    I try not to have too much TV, magazines, or outside marketing in my house because then I’m not tempted!

  • 4. SavingDiva  |  January 14, 2008 at 4:15 PM

    pomegranates are really good for you! I don’t think this is a horrible thing! Check out Trader Joe’s. You could find a TJ pomegranate juice for a little less…

  • 5. Amphritrite  |  January 14, 2008 at 4:48 PM

    It’s the devil, innit? But! You can write to POM or call their toll-free number and tell them basically that:

    – You’re supporting yourself.
    – You LOVE their product.
    – It’s too expensive to buy regularly, however.

    Then ask if they have any coupons they are offering at this time. Generally, I get six to seven coupons at once.

    Be sure to stock up when they go on sale, too 🙂 That stuff doesn’t go bad as long as it’s sealed!

  • 6. Amphritrite  |  January 14, 2008 at 4:55 PM

    Also! You can buy POM Coupons on Ebay:

    or get POM Ice Tea:

    or sign up for their club and get a free coupon and special offers as they fritter them upon the world:

    Good luck 🙂

  • 7. evy  |  January 14, 2008 at 7:06 PM

    I love POM juice and add water to it as dawn suggested. I switched from POM to Langers 100% pomegrante juice a couple of years ago. I thought the Langers was almost as good as POM at a more affordable price. A large bottle costs $6.00 at Costco however my Costco stopped carrying it last year. They now have Apple & Eve for the same price but it is a much more inferior product. I have now switched back to POM because I can’t find the Langers brand at my local markets.

  • 8. Kimberly  |  January 14, 2008 at 8:46 PM

    I did the same thing with that coupon! .. I used it on the POM tea and loved it! Every time I go to the store I have to force myself to walk by without putting it in my cart even though I hear it screaming my name.. 🙂

  • 9. beth  |  January 15, 2008 at 12:28 AM

    You could consider POM your special treat–that is, when it goes on sale/you have a coupon, you can get it. Otherwise, don’t. Consider it a reward for finding a good bargain.

  • 10. Canadian Saver  |  January 15, 2008 at 1:14 AM

    I agree it is an awesome treat!! I love the whole fruit but I find it too messy… the juice is perfect!

  • 11. WomensDaily  |  January 15, 2008 at 4:03 AM

    I have yet to try it, but have heard such good things about it. Yes it is expensive, but look at it this way- it is supposed to have fabulous health benefits and you can always have one relatively inexpensive vice in your life, you can always consider this yours :OP

  • 12. DFWKnitter  |  January 15, 2008 at 6:09 PM

    I agreen with the POM dilema, and I am also glad to hear that you are switching to the baking soda-vinegar…I recommend “Clean House Clean Planet” by Karen Logan.

    She has really fun recipes for cleaning product alternatives, and they are very economical… I will never switch back.

  • 13. One Frugal Girl  |  January 16, 2008 at 1:28 AM

    I didn’t think this post would receive so many comments, it’s good to know I’m not alone in this one.

    @dawn – I haven’t tried watering down the juice. I normally wouldn’t do that, (although it is my father-in-law’s favorite trick), but since the juice is so thick and strong it might be worth a try.

    @Amphritrite – I did write to the company and joined the POM Club as you suggested. So far they haven’t responded to my inquiry.

    @savingdiva – I don’t live near a Trader Joe’s but if I’m ever near one I’ll give their version of POM a try. I looked at other pomegranate juices in the supermarket but none of them looked as tasty.

    @kimberly – It’s good to know I’m not alone in my vices.

    @womensdaily – Maybe I am looking at this from the wrong perspective. At least the product I’m yearning for is good for me 🙂

    For now I’m going to hold off on buying another bottle at least until I see a sale or find a coupon.

  • 14. Frugal Dad  |  January 17, 2008 at 2:47 PM

    This became such a problem for us that we had to unsubscribe from the Grocery Game, and stop looking at coupons until we could get a handle on only buying things we absolutely needed.

  • 15. Mr. Debtbeater  |  February 6, 2008 at 6:43 AM

    We’ll do the same thing with coupons if it’s something we already need. i.e. juice. If there’s another juice that’s cheaper that week, we’ll end up getting the cheaper juice anyhow.

    Also, with a family of 8…it won’t be long before we’re back at the store looking to restock the fridge, so maybe it’ll be better priced.

    Another thing we do when we find something we really want, but don’t necessarily want to load up on it for everyone is to buy “mommy’s juice” and then “everyone’s juice” separately and label the more expensive bottle for mom. Then she can have a small glass every day and make it last a full week or so.


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