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!”
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:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Not even going to touch couponing
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.
Sundays – 2.5 hours
Tuesdays – 1 hour
- 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
- Check online coupon sites for extra coupons to use
- Clip and print out coupons
Thursday – 1 hour
Friday or Saturday – 1.5 hours
- Grocery shop for next week
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.
- 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!
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!
Look at the top of my sidebar and click to enter!