Monday, May 12, 2014

Is Shopping with Coupons Worth Your Time? Part 1: It takes too much time.

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Number one reason why people don't coupon.  Number one reason why people don't come to my classes.  Number one reason why I didn't coupon 6 years ago.

Couponing takes too much time!

Couponing does take time, but it doesn't have to control your life.  It doesn't have to be a full time or even a part time job.  Anyone can Coupon.  Anyone can save 50% on their Grocery Bill.

If you have ever watched Extreme Couponing on TLC's you'll see that it's a full time job for them. Most of them say they spend 40+ hours a week couponing.  We see them with store ads scattered all over their kitchen counters, they cut coupons, and then they cut more coupons!  They have a huge binder and they spend hours in the grocery store!

I can see why couponing would take them 40 hours a week and I can see why people think that it takes too much time.  I'm here to say it doesn't have to be like that.  Couponing can take you 2-3 hours a week!  That's right, and that includes staying organized, planning your shopping trip and actually shopping.  You don't have to have a binder and you don't even have to look at store ads!

There are several tools and websites to help you save time.  There is no need to look at store ads and there is no need to cut out every single coupon.  The wonderful ladies at GrocerySmarts.com put your local store ads in a spreadsheet format.  They tell you what's on sale, and where to find any available coupon.  They do the work for you!  You can access these store list on my menu bar above or over here. The lists are updated every week with the first day of the sale.  You can customize the list with the "Start", "Shrink" and "Print" feature.  You can copy and paste any of the unadvertised deals you find on UDD in the notes section on the bottom.  You can print out your shopping list, locate your coupons and head to the store.

Locate the GrocerySmarts lists on my Menu Bar.  You'll also find all the Smith's deals in one location.



On UDD I'll highlight the best advertised deals from GrocerySmarts and locate the best unadvertised deals each week at my favorite store, Smith's.  I'll also tell you where to find any available coupon.  You don't need to Google online coupons, you don't need to spend hours cutting out all your newspaper coupons and filing them away in baseball card holders in a big binder.

This is how easy it can be:

1. Keep it simple and get multiple newspapers coming to your home. No need to run around town to buy papers and spend 3x more money!  (more on why you should have multiples on the next post in this series)
2.  Locate the date on the spine on all of your coupon inserts.  The 2 main inserts from your Sunday papers are the Smart Source and Proctor and Gamble.  Another available insert is the Red Plum that comes in your mail. Write the date from the spine on the front of each insert with a big sharpie pen.  This is the date that it was published or the date it came in the Sunday paper.  (note, you'll get the Red Plum in the mail on Tuesday, but the date on the spine is the upcoming Sunday date. That Sunday date goes on your Red Plum.)

Dated Inserts ready to be filed in my file box

3.  File the inserts away whole in a file box in some hanging file folders. Don't cut out any of your coupons. I keep them organized by the date on the spine with my newer inserts in front and my older ones in the back. I hold onto the inserts for 5 months, then recycle them.
4.  Use UDD and GrocerySmarts.com to plan and print out your shopping trip.
5.   Locate the coupons you'll use for that shopping trip in your file box by the insert and date.  For example if the item has an available coupon from the SS 4/5, this means you can find that coupon in the Smart Source insert that was in the April 5th Sunday paper.
6.  Cut out your coupons from your inserts and print out any of the online coupons you'll need.  Stick those coupons and your shopping list in a clear sheet protector, envelope or pencil pouch and head to the store!

My Coupon organizer and planned out Shopping trip.

It takes 5-10 minutes to organize your coupons.  It may take you 20-30 minutes to plan out your shopping trip and you're headed out the door.  Paying yourself $100/hour is worth it!

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking, "but what about those manager mark downs or other unadvertised deals at the store, if I don't have all my coupons, I'll miss out on that extra savings".  (I get this a lot at my classes!)  Is the extra time you would have spent cutting out all your coupons and organizing them in a binder, worth the extra $.50 you may have saved? To me, it's not.  I used to have a binder when I first started couponing, that's what I thought you had to do.  It took me hours and hours to stay organized.  I had to go through the binder every month and pull out the expired coupons. When I shopped it took me 3 hours because I was obsessed with finding deals.  I later learned that couponing WAS controlling my life.  I was buying things just because I had a coupon for it, and that wasn't saving me money.

Some of you may be using the binder method and that's fine!  If it works for you, do it!  Just know that you don't have to.  If you get burned out you can always fall back on this simpler method and still see great savings.

If you need to find a specific newspaper coupon in your file box you can access the Alphabetical Coupon Index from the Grocery Smarts List drop down menu above.  This index is a database of every single newspaper coupon, that hasn't expired, listed alphabetically!  We will tell you where to find any available coupon!  How cool it that!  I use these tool a lot!

Access the Newspaper Coupon Database from the Grocery Smart drop down menu



So, there you have it!  Couponing is worth the time!  I go more into detail about this topic in my classes.  My classes focus on "Extremely Practical Couponing for Extemely Practical Moms".  If you'd like to host a class for you and your family and friends, coworkers, church group or other organization you can fill out this form and I'll get in contact with you. Go here to see if an upcoming coupon class, that's open to the public, is being offered in your area.  You can read more about my Free classes over here.

Stay in control, keep calm, and coupon on!



Coming up next we'll talk about why it's important to have multiple Sunday newspapers and address that issue - "There are never coupons for items I buy".





1 comments:

Ray Heilesen said...

Thank you. This is so necessary to be encouraged and it's only as time consuming as you allow it to be. The "work" has really already been done. Get your Sunday newspapers coming right to your door and start spending way less at the grocery store. So little effort.

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