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?