Couponing~Savings or Insanity?

Hi everyone!
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As part of my “Menu Planning” series, I told you that I would also talk about how to save money when planning your meals. Coupons are one way to do this.
Did this title freak you out? Did you instantly think, “Oh good grief! No not coupons!” or did you think “Coupons! Woohoo! Give ‘em to me!”
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If you are not obsessed with coupons, which it can easily become an obsession, you can just as easily be in the other extreme, a fear of jumping into the coupon craze.
Well, I have been both! I have done the whole “Extreme Couponing” and the opposite end of not even wanting to touch a coupon.
So, let me give you my personal take on couponing.
Coupons = money (if used correctly)
At the same time…..
Time = Money (if your time is limited)
4 categories of couponing:
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  1. Extreme Couponer -
  • You LOVE it!
  • You have the extra time to really go at it (which means your family, your friends, your job, your home, your sanity does NOT suffer!)
  • Your income demands it
  • You help others with your bounty
2.   Moderate Couponer -
  • You want to try to save some money
  • You figure out an acceptable “time vs money” ratio
  • It doesn’t interfere with your life to any extreme
  • You created an workable coupon routine
  • You help others with your bounty
3.   Occasional Couponer -
  • If you happen to see a coupon for something you plan to get, you use it.
  • Once in awhile you check for a coupon for a particular product
    Anti-Couponer -
  • Not even going to touch couponing
That is my list of the type of couponers there are out there. Like I said, I have been all 4. Where am I now? Moderate Couponer.
I was an Extreme Couponer but, burnt myself out and dropped down to Occasional Couponer for about the last 9 months.
Since “Organize” is my keyword for 2012, I decided that I needed to save some money but the only way I can do that is if I am organized.
I know I have a very busy life so, extreme couponing is out. I cannot and chose not to dedicate that much time to couponing.
Since I have been using January to set up routines and schedules, I have been working in couponing as part of my schedule.
Keeping in mind that this will get tweaked over time and as things change, this is how I have scheduled couponing into my routines. And I will be honest with you, once in awhile I crave the whole “extreme couponing” and will probably do it from time to time. Time doesn’t permit me to do this often. But, there is a huge “high” when you do it successfully and it is also a great way to be able to help out the local food pantry that Troy and I volunteer at.
I have decided to use $8.00 an hour as my time spent goal. What that means is that for every hour I spend dealing with coupons, I need to save $8.00 using coupons.
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Sundays – 2.5 hours
  • Buy the Sunday paper
  • Quickly go through the coupon inserts
  • Then go through the sales papers
  • Make my menu plan for next (I try to stay one week ahead in order to save money) week based on what I have on hand, what is on sale that week and what coupons I can use for those meals
Tuesdays – 1 hour
  • Check online coupon sites for extra coupons to use
  • Clip and print out coupons
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Thursday – 1 hour
  • Grocery shop for next week
Friday or Saturday – 1.5 hours
  • Check out my coupon/best deals blogs to see what to look for in the next week. This is one of my BEST resources! There are a ton of bloggers out there that compile the best savings using sales ads and coupons for the upcoming week. They save you a ton of time because they do all the work!
So, there you have it. I have scheduled 6 hours a week to saving money via coupons and sale ads. Granted this is set in stone but, for me I do not want to go over a total of 10 hours a week in this area. so, it may fluctuate between 6-10 hours in any given week.
Just a couple of tips:
I cut coupons at night while watching TV
I often take my coupons to be cut with me when I know I will be sitting and waiting somewhere
I don’t precut coupons until I need them
I use a black marker and write on the top of the coupon circulars that date.
I keep my coupons, menu plan, sales ads, scissors and plain envelopes all in a tote bag.
I generally grab this tote bag just like I do my purse and take it with me when I head out. That way I always have my coupons with me in case I stop somewhere and see something and think, “Well, crud! I have a good coupon for that!” I now can just run out and get them if I want to.
I am working on compiling some good resources for coupons, blogs and couponing deals. I will eventually post them on my top toolbar.
What category do you fall into?
Don’t forget I have a giveaway for a $25.00 Sam’s Club gift card! What better way to save money than to have a free gc!
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Look at the top of my sidebar and click to enter!

10 comments :

  1. I am a moderate couponer (couponing in Canada is much less lucrative than USA) but used to be more extreme. Now I have gotten my grocery (food and nonfood) budget to the lowest ever per month by a combination of scratch cooking, stockpiling when at absolute lowest price, use what I have mentality rather than running to the store, bulk buying meat when on sale in large packages and repackaging them to smaller ones, watching wasted food (ie freezing right away rather than considering leaving to use as leftover), making less grocery trips to the store to avoid extra unnecessary purchases, and a small use of coupons - only for items I must already buy unless 100% free. This takes less time, and ultimately works better for me. We never have double couponing in Canada so I might answer differently if living in the USA. Good post!

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  3. I'm an #4 (anti-couponer) We cook using whole bulk foods that come in large sacks .. not easily found in the general market. It takes lots of time to prepare my meals. I just don't have any desire to use coupons .. especially ones for ready made goods.

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  4. I guess I am a moderate couponer, you have to really look for any that are not for already prepared or boxed food, which I never use. Whatever the savings from them I put that money into a jar to use at the end of the year for Christmas shopping...it is amazing how fast it adds up, especially when they are doubled, if you do it every week.

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  5. I think right now I fall into the occasional couponer. I tried to coupon more but so many of the coupons are for items I just don't use. I look at savings vs time spent vs quality of products. Most of the time it does not work for me. I do use coupons for items I buy and I do look at blogs that have good deals listed. I will see what ideas and resources you find! Always willing to try again. Hugs, Linda

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  6. I also want to add that taking the coupons with you all the time is important. I have tried to do this more and it really helps me to use them when I run across a good deal on an unplanned stop somewhere!

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  7. I am just the occasional couponer. We shop at Sav-a-lot for meats and I have never gotten a meat coupon. We mostly buy no-brand. I do use Kohl's coupons, Hobby Lobby, Joann's coupons. BOGO coupons at McDonalds, Burger King, and Dairy Queen. I use Free purchase coupons. My grocery bill is very small. I work full time, ebay full time, and just don't have time for couponing. My mother in law sends us coupons she doesn't use that she knows we use. I have never saved enough to justify driving to a place that doubles coupons and buying the Sunday paper. $2.50 for the paper and $5.00 - $10.00 for gas I just didn't see the savings. And it takes alot of time. I will use them if I have them for something I know I will be buying. Today I am using are half off restaurant coupon. I think I only spend about $30. to $40 a week on food. Most of the coupons I use I have found on the internet.

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  8. I used to be an extreme couponer. But have given it up for restaurant coupons only. If we can get a meal out, BOGOF, I'm a happy camper.

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  9. I'm a moderate couponer too althought I may have leaned to the extreme couponer on occassion if you you believe my daughter. She doesn't mind most things I stock up on unless it isn't her favorite then it is a waste in her mind.

    I've never really figured out how much time I spend couponing but I would guess less than you. The easiest thing for me is to follow a few coupon blogs and check their daily recap emails for deals I might like. I love that others seek and post the deals so that saves me tons of time.

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  10. I am a moderate couponer. I find the time spent clipping coupons and creating a shopping list is well worth it. I almost always save 50 to 52% of my grocery bill. My favorite store also has a gas incentive, for every $50 you spend, you save 10 cents per gallon of gasoline. The last time I filled up I saved 60 cents per gallon. I never buy anything that I wouldn't normally buy or use. When something goes on sale that I use I will stockpile. No coupon for items, then I purchase these at Aldi Foods. Love that store!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your ideas. If you ask a question, I will answer it here in a comment back to you. Please check back! Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day! Diann :)