One of the biggest comments I get from people when talking about couponing is their lack of time. We are a busy society and when you are running from here to there and trying to keep your finances in check, couponing can fall to the wayside…or completely off your radar. I wrote this post about how I coupon a couple years ago (you know when I had one kid and apparently more time). Most of that information is still great, and when I have time I follow it completely. However, my life is a hot mess lately and my time is limited. If I get a chance to look at the coupon circulars from the newspaper each week, that is pretty much a miracle.
So I thought I would update you all on how to coupon when your time is limited. I will let you know this takes about 1.5 hours total (instead of the 3-5 it would take each month), but you do need to do a couple things.
1. Go online and sign up for your local Sunday newspaper. I almost never read it, I just go through and the ads very quickly every Sunday and pull the SmartSource (SS), Red Plum (RP) and Proctor and Gamble (P&G). Sometimes I glance through them, but most of the time I put them in an organized pile in my kitchen office area. Max 3 minutes 4-5x a month.
2. Download your store apps (connect your store cards) and sign up for their emails. We are a smartphone society…use it to your advantage! Whenever I am bored, I quickly scroll through my coupons on my King Soopers app and add them or I jump on Targets Cartwheel and load them that way. It is pretty awesome and I do not know about all of you, but when I am unwinding at the end of the day, I lay in bed and do this. It takes all of like 5 minutes. I am a HUGE fan of my apps because when I am in the store and forget to bring paper coupons, I can use the app to scan the UPC and many time a coupon pops right up and I can use it right then! Beware though! If you have a paper coupon for a larger value then the digital one on your app, the store will honor the digital one first and typically NOT the paper one. Also I have found that when stores double coupons, they will NOT double the digital coupons, only the paper ones (King Soopers is this way).
|1. Apps! 2. Bar code scanner/in app search bar. 3. Mobile Card|
3. I do one BIG shopping trip a month where I have made it my goal to only spend $275-300 each trip then I will do a couple very small ones (like for milk and produce) once a week (spending less then $20.00 is my goal with these). When I prepare for the big trip, I usually come home from work, grab my circulars and go through page by page. Here is the trick. I have NO interest in buying items I will never use. I only coupon for items that I continuously use. Occasionally if something looks particularly delicious, I will clip the coupon, but usually I only am clipping coupons for what I use. I only clip coupons once a month so I make sure that I know what I am getting low on and look for those coupons. I tend to save the most money with toiletries as well. (This usually takes about an hour with kids trying to get my attention, the hubby asking 500 questions and me trying to play on FB and Twitter…I am sure it could be less if you get more time to yourself).
4. If you are a big shopper of Target, they tend to have some fantastic coupons on their website, but you MUST go online. What I love is that you can combine their store coupon with a manufactures coupon and then use your cartwheel as well. Any store that I have shopped at always lets you use both a store coupon from them and a manufacturer coupon on a single item.
5. I try not to buy items that are not on sale and I always check the clearance sections of stores. When an item is on sale I will typically stock up (buy 2-3 and pray I have coupons for that), if it is not on sale, I hold onto the coupon and bring it next time. You can check your stores ads prior to going so you do not have to haul a bunch of coupons you do not plan on using, but come on…like I have time to do that 🙂
6. I also coupon for restaurants and entertainment. Those $10.00 entertainment books are actually a great deal so if a kid asks you to purchase one, jump on it!
Couponing is trial and error at first and you have to just jump in. Stores are making it easy for you to save money, it may not be huge, but savings is savings. Try a few of these and let me know how it goes!