Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When Couponing Gets Exhausting

Right now, I am fortunate. I happen to be a teacher, so I have extra time on my hands for researching deals and planning out shopping trips. After school starts, my "extra time" becomes null and void. When school starts, I will be rolling out of the bed between 4:45 and 5:00 AM, will pack lunches, Austin's breakfast and head out the door by 6:30 AM, with the purpose of dropping Austin off at school by 7:00, so I can make it to work by 7:25 AM. I get off at 3:30, will make the treck home and hope that I can be home between 4:00 and 4:30 PM. Homework, dinner, dishes, baths, and bedtime leave little time for much of anything. Does that mean that my savings will go out the window? Absolutely NOT! Why? Well, I am absolutely committed to making an efficient system so that my savings can continue in spite of my lack of personal time.

I will share with you how I do it--how I manage to get it all together and head to the grocery store and save some serious dough. But before I do, remember that my system isn't the one that will work for everyone. You need to come up with your own. You can head on over to my post, Couponing 101, if you need more information about organization systems for coupons. So this is how I make it all work during the school year...
Sunday: We always stop at 7-11 on the way to church. I pick up the newspapers, and my husband has his giant soda. After we get home from church (I usually have lunch in the crock pot), we eat lunch and most of the time we all take a nap. When I wake up, I clip my coupons. I talk about my stacking, stapling and cutting method in my Couponing 101 post. I try to file them. I am being very honest here. Sometimes I do NOT have time to file them. It gets put off to another night.
Monday-Thursday: I get the coupons filed, and search out the sales I want. I am fortunate that I know where to get all of the information regarding the stores I want, and I put it all on my blog. The coupon matchups on my blog are just as much for me as they are for you. In fact, I have my blog as an icon on my iPhone so I can access it in the store in case I forgot about a sale I posted. I usually make a list by store. I will write down the item, what it's on sale for and what the coupon will save me. I also write the final price. I actually add up the final prices on my list to make sure I'm staying within my budget.
When I shop: Many times I shop on the way home from work. I go to work prepared with my coupons and list and stop on the way home. I usually only shop every 2 weeks. Die hard couponers will tell you that my method is bad and I should budget myself so I can do it once a week at all my stores. They are right... I could be doing it every week, and I may even save more. But I'm being honest here--that's not easy. So I do everything I can to maximize my savings every 2 weeks. I often challenge myself to stay within a budget I set for myself, and I strive to stockpile as much as I can.

I encourage all of my readers (and I don't have many yet!) to do everything YOU can to save money. Don't beat yourself up because someone on the forum at Hot Coupon World got all of her groceries this week for $2.79 and she bought so much her husband had to rent a UHaul to get it all home. Did you save money? Then celebrate your savings. Set small goals and do what you can to reach them. If you are reading this and you are absolutely strapped right now, for whatever are probably overwhelmed with whatever your situation is. That's okay. Don't stress yourself that you have to become an avid couponer like never before right now. Tell yourself you CAN do it and do everything you can to save money. Happy Savings!

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