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Can You Coupon With No Time?
There is no denying that using coupons can be an amazing way to save money on everyday essentials. The problem is that most people don’t have the time to dedicate to being an extreme couponer, so they don’t use coupons at all. This is a huge mistake! Using coupons can be so easy, and the payoff is really quite incredible. Today, I want to share how to easily coupon in little time!
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Time Is Money
Couponing is a really great way to save money on the basics, but it can be a lot of work. How much time you spend on planning your couponing trip is going to be directly related to whether or not couponing is actually worth the effort it takes!
If you ask me, the less time the better. You don’t want to be saving $3 an hour. At that point, couponing just wouldn’t be worth your time unless you love doing it. There are ways to make a bigger impact!
When I first decided to start couponing, it was gaining popularity at warp speed. There were so many deals to be had! I took this new skill set seriously and started devoting hours and hours so that I would never miss out on a deal. I officially became an extreme couponer, and it was a bit scary. Being an extreme couponer can be very time-consuming and can quickly consume your life. Although I really enjoyed scoring great deals, it became a stressor for my family.
I remember one night, we had gone on a family outing and run into some friends. The chatting was lasting longer than I had anticipated, so I started getting anxious. Tonight was my last chance to hit the store before the sales ended. If I didn’t make it, I was going to lose at least six hours of planning. From scouring flyers to cutting the coupons, adding everything together, organizing the list, and anticipating my budget. There was a lot of time and energy invested in this trip. Instead of enjoying our visit, I was worried about not reaching the store before closing. That was the point that I realized I had an addiction and stopped couponing altogether.
Even though I had cut myself, off, after a year or two, I thought that maybe I could be an occasional couponer and still reap the benefits when I went shopping for house supplies. I was spending five times the amount on things like toilet paper and laundry detergent than I had before. It seemed silly to not utilize this skill that I had put so much energy into learning. I set a few rules for myself.
Easy Couponing Rules:
1. No Extra Shopping Trips
This is the first official rule that you need to follow. Do not make special trips to the grocery store solely for couponing. If you allow yourself to start thinking about couponing every day, you are either going to burn out or get addicted. The most that I would recommend going is once a week. If you normally shop every other week, then only coupon every other week. It’s okay if you don’t catch every good toilet paper sale.
Basically, the only time you should be thinking about couponing is if you are getting ready to go shopping. Take 15 minutes to browse store specific deals. Use printable coupons from coupons.com, digital coupons with store loyalty cards, and consider following a website that is dedicated to sharing deals from your area! I personally follow the Krazy Coupon Lady, and it makes shopping a breeze.
Also, don’t forget to look at Ibotta and Checkout 51 rebates to maximize your savings. Remember to keep your receipts after shopping!
Side note: If you find yourself making an emergency run for something because you have run out, DO check the deals first. I’m just saying.
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2. Only Buy Items Your Family Will Use
Extreme couponers have a tendency to buy everything that they can get their hands on for a great price. There are a few reasons that some people do this, but for the most part, there is no point in buying cat food if you don’t have a cat. To keep things simple, stick with items that you would want to buy even if there was no coupon.
For my family, this means that I mostly buy things like medicine, toilet paper, toothbrushes, and laundry detergent. Then, create a stockpile with those items so that when you run out, you can simply shop your closet.
3. Make It Worth Your Time
The cost difference or quality between the discounted item and bargain brand should be big enough to justify the time you spend couponing for the item. This means that I pretty much avoid using coupons for ingredients I will need for my meal plan that week. If I see a great deal on snacks or a fruit and veggie rebate, I will grab it. For the most part, I can find the items I need for my meal plan from a generic brand at a similar price point, so I stick to my grocery shopping tips to save time.
That being said, Walmart often has great deals on food, so I do use coupons to build my grocery stockpile. I just don’t put too much energy into try to find a coupon for a can of enchilada sauce if I need it for dinner tomorrow. Make sense?
4. Choose One or Two Stores To Coupon and Stick To Them
This is probably my biggest time saver and best tip. Most extreme couponers go to multiple stores in a day in order to stock up on every deal at the best price. This is really the time that you need to put your blinders on and ignore everything but the store that you are already planning to visit.
I personally check into the deals at my local Walgreens and Walmart and let everything else go. I chose these stores because they are conveniently located right next to each other, they are simple to coupon at, and I can use the Krazy Coupon Lady’s app to create my shopping list with barely any extra effort. Kroger affiliates like Smith’s and Fred Meyers are also great places to shop for deals!
This is all about fitting couponing into your everyday life rather than letting it be another overwhelming task to avoid.
Couponing With Minimal Effort
By implementing a few boundaries for myself, I have managed to save money with coupons on the basics without overwhelming myself or my family. You can also save money, create a stockpile, and live frugally by implementing casual couponing into your normal grocery shopping routine.
Other Great Ways To Save Money Easily:
Frugal Shopping Tips That Will Help You Score The Best Deal
15 Practical Ways to Stop Overspending on Groceries
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