Get Real! How to Coupon Practically
By Jaime Carroll for Playdate magazine
There’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen us in the checkout line with our grocery sale ads in one hand and a fistful of coupons in the other.
With TLC’s new television show, Extreme Couponing, and with thousands of coupon blogs on the rise, the art of couponing is one of the hottest trends of the year.
It’s true you can save up to 90 percent on your groceries, but I promise you’ll be putting in a large amount of time trying to accomplish that savings. Since our lives are continually busy these days with work, school and children to care for, extreme couponing is not a realistic way to go for everyone.
However, there is a practical way to coupon, still saving 50 percent to 60 percent on your grocery bill — and spending just one to two hours per week doing it.
The key to maximizing coupons is to use them when an item goes on sale, then buy that item in bulk. You want to purchase items at their rock-bottom prices.
The first step — and one of the most important things you should do — is to create an inventory of items you frequently use in your household and start keeping track of the prices you pay for them. This is a slow process and one I’m still working on today, but it will show what your “stock up” prices actually are.
Next, you don’t need to print or clip every coupon. Only keep coupons you would actually use and only buy what you need. Just because you have a coupon, it doesn’t mean you need to use it. Instead of buying multiple newspapers, use a coupon-clipping service to get what you need or contact the manufacturer itself.
To save time, pick just a couple of stores to shop at and stick to them. That way you’re not running around town chasing down deals. Remember, there’s always another great deal around the corner. Be sure to plan your shopping trip ahead of time by creating a list or circling the items you want to purchase in the sales ad and have your coupons ready before you head out the door.
As a busy mom of three, it only takes me 45 minutes to clip and organize my coupons and about an hour to go through the ads and plan my shopping trip. But with such a large community of couponers here in Yakima, there are times when I don’t get the product I need.
This means I’ve had to find other frugal ways to save money, including homemade laundry detergent, fabric softener, diaper wipes and more! Frugal living can enable families to do more with less. It’s more than just coupon clipping; it’s a way a life.
To learn more tips and tricks on using coupons and saving money, visit me at frugalyakimamom.com!
Filed under Featured Stories, From the Mag