Penny-wise and pound-foolish?

Interesting post yesterday on Free Money Finance about a couple of articles that discuss saving money on groceries. Some of the tips include the classics like cutting coupons, but also things like keeping a price notebook to record the prices of the stuff you normally buy?

My mom has always been a coupon person and a bargain hunter. She’ll drive all over town looking for the best deals on organic produce. I’ve never fully understood that philosophy. It seems like your time is worth more than trying to save $.50 on a cucumber. At what point does the gas you’re using and the time you’re spending outweigh any small savings? I know that small numbers add up, and especially when you have a lot of mouths to feed, it may make more sense.

For my wife and I, who both work, it’s just not usually worth it to try and do all this bargain shopping and coupon clipping. We order our groceries online and have them delivered for $10. Most of the things we buy are staple items and I do a quick check to see if there’s another brand or something that’s on sale. There are several “luxury” items that we simply do without if they’re not on sale.

The ironic thing to me is that I have seen a LOT of people who clip coupons and bargain shop to save a few pennies, but never contribute anything to retirement savings, never purchase a home, and never really get their act together when it comes to the bigger things. My wife and I try hard to keep the small things in order, like not eating out too much, and checking for things on sale at the grocery store, but we try a lot harder to keep the big things in order, like saving for retirement, moving our careers forward at a good pace, and investing in stocks and real estate. I’d much rather get a few of the small things wrong and hit the big ones than the other way around.

What about you? Do you have a different perspective on this?