Tobins' Tastes: How Do You Find Time To Coupon?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How Do You Find Time To Coupon?

A couple people have recently emailed me commenting on this blog and asking me how I find time to coupon. My first impulse is to respond, " I don't!". I won't lie, couponing does take time and effort. If you do it occasionally and sporadically you will save money; you just won't save as much money as you could.

As I have mentioned before, I started couponing during my summer vacation (I am a teacher) when I had more time to devote to the process. When school started back up again, I definitely had a few weeks where I slacked off and it showed in my grocery bills.

During those weeks when I wasn't spending as much time couponing, I went to the grocery store without a clear cut list or plan. I did not always have all the coupons I needed for sales and I ended up buying stuff not at rock bottom price. I still saved $20-$30 on my weekly shopping trips but I wasn't adding to my stock pile and I was having to buy way more than usual at regular price.

Part of why I started this blog was to hold myself accountable to couponing and to "force" myself to stick with it and be serious. So how did I find the time?

  1. I only follow a few (4) blogs on couponing and saving money. I try to take some time before work in the morning to read those blogs and catch up with any major information. I also subscribe to them by email (which you can do with this blog too!) so that I get it all in a concise format and can pick and choose what to spend time reading.
  2. I check major printable coupon websites every few days when I find the time. This allows me to catch most of the deals without checking them multiple times a day, ect. You can find a good list of them here. When I see good coupons, I print them out and then leave them, uncut in a specific place so that I can go through them when I plan my shopping trips.
  3. When it comes to newspaper insert coupons, I have a different strategy (which I am still perfecting). When I buy my Sunday papers, I go through them and remove the coupon inserts and weekly ad flyers. I try to take some time each Sunday to go through the inserts and ads and make note of any major or any super good deals. I then leave all my flyers stacked by type uncut until I need them.
  4. I always plan my shopping trips ahead of time. If I know that I am going to Publix on a Thursday then I will find some time between when the Weekly Ad Match Ups come out and Thursday to plan my trip. I then sit down, go through the ad, make my printable list with coupon match ups and as I go through I print any of the Internet coupons from the list that I will need. I then go downstairs, go through my inserts and coupon binder and pull the rest of the coupons I need. I paperclip everything together and put them in a page protector in my binder so that have it all together for when I go shopping. (post on my coupon binder coming next week!)
Some friendly suggestions:
  • Cut and organize coupons when you are watching TV.
  • Set aside 20-30 minutes a few nights a week where you can cut coupons, organize a binder or look online for sales and coupons.
  • When you see coupons that you know you will need soon, put it on your fridge, in your wallet or in your binder so you won't forget to take it with you.
  • Don't freak out if you don't get the absolute best, rock bottom price on something. If its something you need and you are getting for cheaper than full retail price that is still a success.
  • Read this blog for help finding coupons and sales : ) Had to put that in there...
I have by no means perfected the way I coupon. Now that the swim season is over, my goal is to perfect my system and get caught up on my binder organization before the holidays. Look for posts on that soon.

Comment if you have questions you would like to see answered in a future post!
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