Using coupons can be time consuming and sometimes even frustrating. However, you don’t have to be “extreme” in order to save money. I have been couponing for the last two years and have saved my family thousands of dollars on the basic, everyday things we buy by following a few simple steps. I don’t carry a binder with me or spend hours in front of the computer either. Listed below are the steps I have found useful to help keep your sanity and still save money.
Follow a blog: Blogs are great because they do all the work for you. There are many great blogs out there and by finding one that is somewhat local to your area, you will find the best weekly deals at stores where you actually shop. I live in the Pacific Northwest and personally love Frugal Living NW. It would literally take you hours on your own to go through store ads and coupons trying to match up the best deals. The blog you follow will typically list each store, the best deals, items that you should stock up on (or are free) and where to find the coupon you need.
Have your paper delivered: If you plan on purchasing a Sunday paper for coupon inserts, I would strongly urge you to have it delivered. It is usually the same price (if not cheaper) to have it waiting on your doorstep Sunday morning than to run around town trying to find one. I have gone out to get one paper at 10am to find that they are already sold out. Frustrating! At that point, I’m either wasting gas to go find another location or just saying forget it when really, it could have been as easy as opening the front door!
Don’t clip and print everything: Don’t get me wrong, printing coupons is great! However, when you print coupons you are not going to use it is just a waste of ink and paper. I suggest only printing what you know you will use and from a site you can get rewards from, like Swagbucks. As well, clipping every coupon you find can actually cause you to spend more money than you normally would. If you or your family will not use an item, let the coupon go! Saving money on something you don’t need is not actually saving money. Plus, its hard and time consuming to keep them all organized!
Only shop a couple of stores: Trying to get every deal at eight different stores will drive you crazy! Not to mention, they all have different coupon policies which can get confusing. Pick a few of your favorite stores and stick to them! I have two grocery stores and two drug stores that I shop at on a regular basis and am able to get plenty of good deals on items we need and use. As a bonus, I’m not wasting gas driving all over town.
Get organized before you leave: I like to use an envelope system. Since I really only use coupons at a few stores, I keep an envelope labeled with each store name in my purse. I make my lists and separate them by store putting the coupons I will be using that day in the corresponding envelope. Nothing is more frustrating than being in a store and forgetting what you were there for or not being able to find the coupon!
Saving money doesn’t have to be hard. These simple steps will help you save time so that you can focus on other, more important things in life!