by Andrew Johnson, GreenPath communications manager

We all want to save and coupons can offer real savings at the grocery store. However, getting caught up in the coupon clipping craze can cost you.

Yes, saving .50 or $1 on a product is a good thing! But, it can be easy to convince yourself to purchase something, simply because you have a coupon.

Here’s some things to consider with coupons:

Over the past few years, more coupons have gone from purchasing a single item for the discount to purchasing two or more of an item to get the discount. Ask yourself first if you really need the product and then ask yourself do you need more than one?

Shoppers need to be aware that a comparable store brand can be as high in quality as a name brand, often at a much lower price.

If you are purchasing something perishable with a coupon, make sure you will use it! Buying ten quarts of strawberries for half-off is thrifty, but if you don’t eat or freeze them before they go bad, you end up throwing away a lot of money.

When getting ready to shop, make your shopping list first, then look to see what coupons you have to support the list. If you do it the opposite way, odds are you are buying things to really don’t need, just to be able to use the coupons!

Finally, it is so easy to purchase something because that $1 coupon is going to expire in a week. Weigh the pros and cons. Do you really need the item? Are you buying it to get the satisfaction of using the coupon? Can you get a store brand at a cheaper price? If it costs $3.49 after a $1 coupon and you never use it, then you are out $3.49!