In the last week, I have had numerous people cross my path who have given up on couponing. Their main reason was life became busy and time was not plentiful. Couponing doesn’t have to rule your time. You see, the time I allot myself to spend on coupons is one hour a week. This is all the time I have without neglecting other duties. And yes, I can still save all kinds of money in this little amount of time.
My key to success is organization. I faithfully purchase the Sunday paper every week even if I am not planning a shopping trip. This assures me that I will have the coupon when the sale rolls around. And I always purchase at least two papers, so I can work on that stockpile. The sale cycle is every six to eight weeks on most products, and the life of the coupon is nine weeks in general – a little more on medicines. This assures me of a well-stocked cabinet until the item goes on sale again.
Next, I cut only the coupons for the items I know I like or that I would like to try if it comes up really cheap. Don’t discard the others. They often make for some moneymakers, and even if you don’t need the item, who doesn’t need the money? These can be donated to a local charity.
Just an idea, but a great way to involve children is scissor practice and the matching game with the coupons. Oh, and if you find a missing barcode or expiration date, remind them they just cut up 50 cents and “how much is your allowance again?” I promise they will only do this once.
I then organize my coupons by categories in a visual binder where I can easily access them in a hurry. What about those Internet coupons? Once you have registered on their sites, they will alert you by email when new coupons have arrived, so don’t waste your time checking these daily. I check for new Internet coupons once every two weeks, sometimes only when I am making my list, unless I have received an email alerting me to new coupons.
After I have my coupons neatly in my binders, which I keep one for food items and one for non-food, I check out the sales in the weekly ads or online at a favorite coupon site. I do my matches, pulling the coupons for the items I will purchase and I write down on a shopping template the purchase I will be making.
Once written down, the coupon is placed in an expandable pouch with the store labeled on the tabs, I purchase only the items in my pouch, and I am out of there. No spontaneous buying. That’s a major key to saving big bucks. My trips to the store are shortened, my spending is decreased, no wondering “do I have a coupon in here for that somewhere.” I love it. Now I am off to the soccer fields for another practice.
Do you want more tips on pulling it all together? Schedule a class at your church or business.
Ann Haney is a mother to six entrepreneurial-minded children, ordained minister, CEO of Aaron Publishing, founder of Ann Haney Ministries and Living In Abundance, nationwide motivational speaker, coupon specialist, empowerment coach and bestselling author of 20 published products, including her books. Contact Ann at [email protected] to schedule a speaking engagement, individual coaching or view her website for more information at annhaney.com.