I love to coupon, but the truth is there are about 127 other things on my "to do" list that have more priority. That definitely doesn't mean I don't do it. In fact just last week I saved $55 at the grocery store and spent $30.99. I owe that savings in large part to couponing. Whenever someone finds out that I like to use coupons I usually hear something along the lines of "I don't have time for that." To be honest, I don't either! That's why I've developed the lazy (or busy!) girl's guide to couponing.
Stop Clipping Coupons
I used to clip coupons. Every week I'd buy the Sunday paper and spend an hour or so clipping and filing coupons. This is a pretty mindless activity and can definitely be done while watching TV or a movie. But if you'd rather just skip it all together that's OK. Now what I do is pull the coupon inserts out of my Sunday paper, write the date in marker on the front and stash them in a shoebox marked "coupons" in my office. Keep reading to see how I actually put these coupon inserts to use.
Find Someone Else to Do the Work
There are thousands of coupon blogs on the web. Some of these focus on grocery stores. My favorite is SouthernSavers.com because blog owner Jenny does all the hard work for me! And she does it for free! Every week she lists the items that are on sale at my grocery store of choice, Publix. She then lists the coupons that match up with those sale items, according to the date the insert was in the Sunday paper. All I have to do is pull out my coupon insert with the correct date on it, find the right coupon and clip it out. She even links to printable coupons too. After about 20 minutes of reading through her weekly blog post I have my coupons ready to go. If Jenny doesn't research your grocery store, find a blogger that does!
Magnify Your Savings
I always try to combine a sale with a coupon in order to magnify my savings. I also shop at a grocery store that doubles coupons with a face value of up to $.50. This means a $.50 coupon is actually worth a dollar. Find a grocery store that will double coupons and your savings will add up even faster.
Always Carry a Coupon Case
I have a big purse-- and not just because I like lugging it around. I need it because I always have my coupon case with me. It's a plastic check file like this one from Staples.com. Even though I'm not clipping coupons I still come across coupons on a regular basis that need a home. When I have coupons with me I'm more likely to use them during impromptu shopping trips to stores like Walgreens or Target.
Purge During Car Trips
A frustrating thing about coupons is that they expire. And most stores don't let you use expired coupons. Rather than waste my precious time purging expired coupons when I could be doing something far more exciting I usually save this task for road trips. While my husband is driving I set aside a few minutes to clear out all of the out-of-date coupons from my file to keep it organized.
Preparation Saves Time
Back in my days as a coupon novice I used to clip and file all of my coupons, then walk slowly down the aisles and try to match my coupons with stuff that was on sale. A trip to the grocery store could take me two hours! But now I've learned that spending 20 minutes to research before my trip can pay off big time when I hit the checkout counter. It also means I'm spending less time couponing and if you're like me, you want to save as much time as possible.
These are my time and money saving coupon ideas--do you have any of your own? Please share, I'd love to read how you save time and money at the store!