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Many people say couponing is not worth the money you save because it takes so much time. Using coupons can take a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to. The amount of time it takes is really up to you.
Limit Deal Finding Time
Your time is valuable, don’t spend it all on the internet. There are a ton of frugal websites, and you do not need to go to every one of them. Just pick three or four of your favorites and check those regularly. Beyond those three or four sites you probably will not find any new deals – the deals just get repeated. If you spend 4 hours looking for every possible deal, you may find something like free mustard, but you have to evaluate whether it was really worth the time you put into it just to find that extra free mustard.
A way to make looking at your favorite sites easier is to read them through a feed reader such as a Google reader. I use Google reader and love it. It makes it so easy to quickly look and see what is new in the blogging world. Just so you know, you’ll still need to visit these sites from time to time since you can’t comment or enjoy any of the advanced features (like printable shopping lists) in a feed reader. Want to follow Southern Savers in a reader? Get started here.
Don’t spend a ton of time driving all over town. Remember you only really need to shop at one grocery store and one drug store. Things will go on sale at every store at some point, so you do not need to go to six stores to find what you need. This will save time getting ready to go shopping as well as when doing the actual shopping. There might be a crazy deal at another store, go for it if you have the time, but don’t run yourself ragged for one deal.
Remember, the coupon organization method you pick can greatly determine how long it takes you to get ready for shopping. For many useful tips on all of the different methods of coupon organization go here.
Get Ready Before You Go Shopping
If you have everything ready to go when you hit the stores you will spend a lot less time doing the shopping. Having your coupons cut and put together saves you from walking aimlessly around the store hunting for products and fumbling through your coupons.
Print your shopping list and your printable coupons, then pull/clip your coupons. As you get everything ready, save yourself a few extra minutes in the store by writing on your shopping list how many of an item you plan to buy. For example: I’ve got (2) coupons that are $1/2 Kraft Cheese, put on our shopping list next to the cheese that you want to buy 4.
Did you know that you can add additional items to your shopping list on Southern Savers?? After selecting your items, click create list. At the bottom of each category on your shopping list you’ll see the box above. Just type what you need in the blank, then click the + and your item will be added. This will be very helpful in remembering to grab another good deal or anything else you need.
Decreasing Time At The Store
Now that my list is ready and even tells me how many I want to buy, I don’t need my coupons until the very end of my trip. I’m just a normal person in the store with a normal shopping list.
While shopping it is also important to remember that you do not need to buy the store out. The good deal WILL come around again in six weeks, so you only need to buy enough for that time period. For example, you do not need to buy fifteen bottles of glass cleaner. Six weeks from now, glass cleaner will be the same great price. If you bought 15 last time, you’ll still have 14 left. I’m not saying the person buying 15 bottles is doing something wrong. Just ask yourself if you really need 15 bottles and evaluate how much time you are using in the process of buying that many at one time. You have to load it all up, unload it to pay, then put it all away when you get home. (Not to mention cutting, organizing, and gathering all those coupons!)
In the end if you can gather your coupons and shop in an hour or two tops, then your amount saved makes for a pretty nice hourly salary. But if you are taking a lot longer than that, then your amount saved really starts to not look so thrilling broken down by the hours.