Couponing can easily become an obsession! 😉 How long do you guys spend in a typical week clipping coupons, sorting, organizing etc. ?
I think at first I spent a lot of time trying to figure out where to find the coupons, and my organizational system for them was a big mess! I started using envelopes, then a cheap binder – when I switched to the binder I have now it all became pretty easy. I labelled the sections into what works for me, and now when I get coupons it’s a quick tear or clip, I put them in the front folder. When I have time I sit down for a few minutes and put them in the right sections – done. It’s all about finding the system that works for you.
Same thing as when you’re at the store – people always say they get confused, overwhelmed, lose their coupons (or marbles 😉 ) etc.
I find for me I just shop normally, when there’s a coupon I’m going to use I move it from the section it’s in to my front pocket and that’s my checkout area for coupons. When I get to the checkout they’re all right there – instead of trying to preplan what you think you’d use that day – and worst of all if you only bring what you think you’ll use and you find some crazy clearance and know you have coupons at home! I know that happened to me at the start. I find using coupons only adds a few minutes to my shop and I always end up saving at least 20$ in coupons. When you’re starting, start small, and find a system that works for you. Figure out which cashiers to go to (we all have our personal picks and no-no’s – I have 1 cashier that I would leave the store if he was the only one working) and work at your own pace. No point overdoing it, getting overwhelmed and making mistakes. It all gets easier with practice – I can’t imagine not using coupons anymore.
It doesn’t have to be crazy like you see on tv – you don’t need to be rolling around in a dumpster, driving around taking newspapers, stalking people for their coupons, buying 100 papers a week! 🙂 There are great sites online for coupons, there’s coupon inserts in the flyers a few times a month, in magazines, tons of boxes of stuff you already buy (cereal, granola bars etc.) have coupons printed right inside. The coupon chains are a way to get a huge variety of coupons too – I’m always surprised at what’s in there.
I think the thing to remember is that no matter what, you saved some $$$ using coupons. Find what works for you and go with it, and adapt it to your situation. You don’t have to be “extreme” to be a couponer – and seriously people, stop using that term! 😉 My #1 pet peeve of questions I’m asked at the store, are you extreme? Does that happen to anyone else?
What system works for you guys? And what didn’t work? Any tips for those just starting out, or feeling overwhelmed?
I used to spend more time when you could stack at London Drugs, it was worth the time to get everything practically free. But I only went there once every few months, I live further away and it wasn’t worth my while to drive there unless I could get quite a few things I needed.
Now that hardly any coupons can be stacked, I still use my little mini binder but I don’t have to bother putting them in stacks any more, so it’s much easier, and I usually just take the coupons with me for the things I’m planning to buy.
I do spend time going through the flyers every week though; Walmart will price match to another flyer so if there are really great prices somewhere else then I’ll make a list and take my flyers and coupons to walmart so I only have to go to one store.
I have to remember to leave my coupon binder in the car though – I’ve been caught a few times seeing things on clearance that I could have used coupons on.
Even without stacking, it’s still worth a little bit of time to organize and plan, I often save at least a few dollars sometimes as much as $10 on a grocery trip, if you add that up over a year it’s worth the time!
I find that looking for coupons take a lot if time. I’ll go once a week on my lunch hour to look around at Safeway and Shoppers for tear pads. I check blogs daily for new coupons available and have signed up for a coupon of magazine subscriptions. I find now that I have a good assortment in coupons it’s easier to shop each week. Agreed that keeping the binder in the car had saved me a couple of times when I’ve found clearance deals.
i agree with dawn, i spend less time now that i dont go to london drugs its a little too far for me to go…
i always look out for coupons… while shopping …. so really it doesnt take long at all…. and i always carry my small binder with me and save a few bucks….organizing seems to have gotten easier now
I purchased a home & office expanding file, to keep my coupons in, from Superstore for a $1.04. It has 13 pockets, tab markers included and is 10″ by 6″. It fits perfectly in my purse so I try to have it with me at all times. I’m not sure if they have them in stock right now because I bought it a while back on clearance. I despise when I forget to use a coupon.
I don’t usually go to the store just to look for coupons but I decided too a couple evenings back at the Southdale Safeway. I had a lootful of different coupons/ recipes (I only take a couple of each coupon, if I’ll use them) and when I was between the doors leaving a mall walker stopped me! He thought I was stealing and I just showed him my purse and said they were coupons, etc. It kinda ticked me off. I had purchased 2 things while I was there. Anyhow, I don’t know if I’ll go just to scope out coupons again, maybe I’ll just hold them all in my hand so I don’t get accused of stealing!
I’ve been stopped a few times at the store – I usually keep track of my total, and write down the price of my full price items – they’ve thought i work for the competition and was marking down prices….not sure they’d make it so obvious and bring a huge binder! Have never been stopped for coupons though – that’s a weird one.
I have a binder arranged somewhat alphabetically but I’m thinking of switching to a section system – baby, pharmacy, cereal, snacks, bevvies, dairy….and see how that works. Am hoping to do this in January after all of the december expiry coupons are flushed out(there seems to be an awful lot of them!). I think that taking part in coupon trains/swap meets are a no brainer – even if you don’t get much for yourself you can unload a whole bunch that folks would be grateful to have. I collect coupon for friends and they likewise pick up coupons that they think I would use too – finding a coupon buddy(ies) is so helpful.
A coupon/shopping buddy is great! I love being able to combine and swap, and have help at the store figuring stuff out when there’s a great deal!
I need to start using my coupons more frequently. But lately, the things I needed didn’t have a coupon.
Off topic: I just cashed in for another $5 Amazon.ca GC at Superpoints. I haven’t been spinning as much I should have but still got the second one in (a month?). They seem to have gotten a little more generous with the points. I am going to have to make sure I spin every day.
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i use a system similar to your’s Nadine. I always take a walk through the grocery stores for coupons – sometimes you just hit the jackpot. I always try to share and i have had some great coupon buddies!!
i have a great time saving money!