Ever heard of couponing which save you money? Nope, we’re not talking about that popular TV series that showed America just how far some people are willing to go—just to save a dollar.

But we are talking about your Great Aunt Betty who’s been couponing since before the Great Depression. What Aunt Betty taught us all was the value of saving a dollar or two—just by shopping the sales and never purchasing anything without a coupon code (or promo code) in hand.

While some people are willing to spend 40 hours a week on mastering their coupon game hoping to get money back, save double, or come home with five gallons of generic laundry detergent, others are just shopping for discounts when they’re ready to make a purchase.

What Is Couponing?

Couponing is the act of searching for deals and steals on goods and services by cutting out ads (from newspapers and catalogues), searching for online promo codes, and sometimes even using extreme measures (like using expired coupons) to save you money at checkout.

Why People Use Coupons?

For some people, couponing is a way of life. It’s a simple and easy way to save you money on the grocery bill and put that hard-earned cash to use somewhere else—like saving up for your next family vacation. And for others, it’s just a great way to save a dollar or two on something they were already in the market for.

Coupons are a great way to save you money on things you were already going to purchase. So, if you’re in the market for some home décor but don’t feel like spending an arm and a leg, you might go to Hobby Lobby or Michaels because you know they have weekly coupons. You’re already going to buy the picture frame . . . so why not get it at a lower price? Score!

Types of Coupons

These days, there are many different options when it comes to saving money. But most come in the form of paper ads or digital codes. So what’s the difference?

Paper: Most stores are still keeping the printing industry alive and well. Walk-in through those double doors and you’ll probably see a stand with the week’s best savings on things like bananas and powdered peanut butter.

Digital Coupons: The use of digital coupons goes hand in hand with online shopping. Whether you’re standing in a brick-and-mortar store scouring the web for a discount (to scan at the register) or signing up for a store’s newsletter for that coveted 20% off, these are becoming more and more popular ways to save.

Money-Saving Apps: If you’re a frequent shopper, you’ve probably been bombarded with the option to download your local store’s app. Not only does it provide them prime real estate on your mobile device, it also gives you a way to collect an online wallet of weekly discounts. Wondering what stores have an app? Just name it and they probably have one (we’re looking at you, Target, Starbucks and Chick-fil-A).

There are also apps like Honey or RetailMeNot that connect to your search engines and automatically search coupon sites for the best deals and steals.

Is Couponing Worth It?

Here’s the deal: Couponing is only worth what you save, the time you spent looking for deals, and the value you place on the item you purchased.

Does Couponing Save You Money?

Coupons are a form of advertising that stores use to lure you into spending money on something you may or may not have needed.

By providing a sense of urgency (the sale is almost over) or touting their sale as the biggest of the year (giving you a very bad case of FOMO—Fear of Missing Out), they know it’s only a matter of time until you spend your hard-earned cash on those “must-haves.”

Seems like a win-win scenario, right? You get to walk away with a new pair of shoes and the nice feeling that you even saved money.

But the question is: Did you actually save you money? The answer really depends on if you actually needed what you purchased. That’s where your budget comes in! If you budgeted $250 for groceries but spent half of that on a new set of pots and pans—you had a coupon—did you really save money?