I’m not an extreme couponer, but I like to save money at the grocery store. I don’t go crazy and spend hours matching up my coupons with sale items to save big. I stick to the basics every week, and buy in bulk when I find a good sale.

Once you start clipping coupons, you see the same ones over and over. They come in cycles. Some are seasonal, while others appear every few weeks. You’ll especially notice this if you rely on online coupon sites.

Coupons are also used to introduce new products to the market. It’s a way to get you to try a product. I know this, and when I get bored with the same old staples in my life I mix it up and use a coupon to save on that new food. I can’t remember a time that I had a bad experience doing that, until last week.

I eat yogurt almost on a daily basis. It gets old after awhile. How much low-fat strawberry yogurt can one person eat? I’ve mixed it up by adding strawberry Greek yogurt to the mix. Still boring. So, I decided to try cottage cheese. I had a coupon for a new version of cottage cheese. It came in flavors and regular. I had a coupon for singles or a four pack. I wanted to try the single carton first, but the single shelves were empty. Since it was an impulse buy, I failed and splurged for the four pack.

Typically, a four pack of yogurt costs no more than $2.00 retail and the final price I pay is often less than that because I have a coupon that gets doubled at my grocery store. The four pack was more than $3 for regular cottage cheese and around $3 for flavored. Plus, the serving size was smaller. I couldn’t believe how expensive it was, but it was still cheaper than the store brand if I used the coupon.

As I sat there staring at the two containers (regular or flavored cottage cheese), I became fixated on the high price. Not only did I make an impulse buy because I had a coupon and was in the mood for something different, I let price drive my decision. I bought the strawberry shortcake cottage cheese. I love strawberries and love strawberry shortcake even better. I’d had that flavor yogurt and it tasted great so I thought it can’t taste that bad, and bought it against my better judgement.

When I got home, I took a bite. It was the most disgusting thing I ever ate. It was inedible. I had my boyfriend try it. Same thing. Now, I have three containers of disgusting cottage cheese sitting in my refrigerator. Eventually, I’ll throw them in the trash. I thought I was saving money while trying something new. In the end, all I did was waste money because I let money and a coupon drive my decision on what food to eat.

Saving money is important, but make sure it’s a smart financial decision. Don’t let a coupon drive your decision. I’m usually good at that, looking at the price per ounce and comparing name brand products that usually come with a coupon with store brand products. This time, money drove my decision and at a time when I thought I was saving money, I wasted money.