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I have heard every excuse in the book on why people don’t use coupons. Believe me, you couldn’t throw out a new one… The most common excuse though is that they just don’t have time. Maybe they used to coupon and then a new baby came and they gave up, or they work two jobs and they just never even tried.
Want to know a secret? I do all my “couponing” in 45 or less every week. That’s it. Never more. I know that because I set a timer, every week. As I sit down to make my weekly shopping list on Southern Savers I set the timer on my phone. From start to finish 45 minutes is all I give it.
Why 45 minutes? Because any longer than that and I grow frustrated and my patience is gone. My kids know we were headed to the store and just want to get it over with, and I am also ready to be done.
There are days that I am not quite done gathering coupons in 45 minutes, that doesn’t matter though. When the timer rings we are done. It’s more important to me that we make this a lifestyle choice that isn’t stressful or overwhelming. The more stressful it gets the more likely you are to walk away and never save a dime.
So how do you do this…
Set your timer, then head to Southern Savers and pick the store you want to shop at. Select what you want to buy and make your shopping list.
Time Saver: Make sure you are logged in to your account. This allows the system to remember what newspaper you get. Now your shopping list will only show the coupons that were in your paper! No wild goose chases for coupons you don’t have!!
Once your list is made, pull out your coupons and cut any that are in newspaper inserts (or look in your organizer and find them if you cut already). Cutting newspapers will take time if you get a ton of inserts, so for the sake of time don’t go crazy. Most families will save plenty with just two sets of inserts each week. Keep in mind how you organize your coupons affects time too. Go with an accordion system for 0 minutes spent on organization.
Print any coupons you want to use that are mentioned on the list. When you are first starting with couponing printing can be a huge consumer of your time. You’ll need logins and accounts on many manufacturer sites. For the sake of time you can skip those offers for a few weeks and just focus on the printables from direct sites (like the ones on Southern Savers) that don’t require accounts.
Time Saver: Enlist the kids to help! I usually print all my coupons first and have them cutting those out while I work on insert coupons.
Another Time Saver: Use the same login and password for all manufacturer sites. For security please don’t make this one that you use for the bank…but having the same one will cut down on the much dreaded login issues.
After you cut everything out, lets organize it. Go through and put coupons for the same product together. Then count how many coupons you have (or how many products you need to buy to use them). Write that number off to the side on your shopping list.
Ex: You have 3 coupons for $1/2 Kellogg’s Cereals. If you want to use all 3 coupons you need to buy 6 boxes. Write a 6 on the side of your shopping list.
Now put all your coupons in a Ziploc bag. Yep, I know it’s high tech. You are done. You don’t need the coupons in the store at all, just follow your shopping list and buy the number of each item you wrote to the side. At the end of your trip pull over before checking out and go through the coupons one time to pull out any you ended up not using.
Because you aren’t going through the coupons in the store, you’ll find that you can shop at normal speeds. You’re a normal person with a shopping list in the store!
Keep in mind that setting a timer in the beginning may mean that you miss out on a number of coupons, but week by week you’ll find that you are getting faster and faster. Eventually you’ll have yourself so trained that you can beat the clock without even rushing!
Are you thinking 45 minutes is still too much time? You can set your timer for less but that is going to be tricky. I’ve been at this for 12 years and 45 minutes is still my norm… However, before you get too grumpy think about how much money that 45 minutes will save you! An average grocery trip for us sees over a $100 savings. To put that into an hourly salary, that’s like making $133 an hour.
Maybe I should rename this “How to make $133 an hour”…
Do you have any other time saving tips for getting ready to go to the store?