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Monday, October 18, 2010

Frugal 101: How Much Time Does Couponing Take?

The #1 complaint I hear about couponing is that it takes too much time. I agree that it takes time. You don't expect the savings to just fall in your lap do ya? However, I have some tips to help you streamline your couponing process.

I recommend the 60-minute method.

During this time, you are going to work on your shopping list for the week. When that timer goes off, you are done! Finished. Finito. You may not have accomplished everything on your to-do list but you will be way better off at the end of that hour than you were at the beginning. Most importantly, you didn't spend so much time that you feel like it wasn't worth the trouble. I used to do my shopping prep during Sunday afternoon nap time so that I would have the added benefit of not being interrupted.

Here's what you do.
Items needed: Time, notepad, pen, computer/printer, coupons, scissors.
  • Set the timer for 60 minutes.
  • Check the store advertisements and plan your meals around meats and produce on sale. (10 minutes)
  • Check your fridge/pantry and meal planning recipes for other items you need. (5 minutes)
  • Check the store flyers for additional sale items. (10 minutes)
  • Check a Coupon Database for coupons that match up to the above items. (15 minutes)
  • Print/Clip and organize coupons. (20 minutes)
That's it! You now have a meal plan for the week, coupons are clipped and ready to go, plus you have your trusty list.

After your shopping trip, I want you to look at the bottom of your receipt and see how much you saved for an hour's worth of work. I'm willing to bet that it's more (a lot more) than minimum wage. I often joke that couponing is the best-paying, part-time job I've ever had.

Practice makes perfect. The more you do this from week to week the faster and more efficient you will become.

How long do you spend preparing for a shopping trip?

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3 comments:

Robert and Hannah said...

THANK YOU!!! I'm going to try this system next week. I always spend waaaaaaay too much time on my grocery list because I never know where to start, and then I get distracted and end up going in circles. Next week I'm pulling up this post and busting out the oven timer!

Robert and Hannah said...

ps do you do this for each store, or is this for every store you're gonna hit for the whole week?

Staci said...

Hannah, I would start this process with just one store but I personally do this (sometimes an abbreviated version) for all my grocery stores combined. I don't include drug stores in this since the items I pick up there are usually random or health/beauty. It typically takes me less than 10 minutes to both of those combined. Hope that helps! You can do it. Stay focused grasshopper. :)