Two months ago a friend of mine introduced me to the world of hard-core couponing. I always keep an eye out for coupons, and I’ve used sites like SmartSource.com and Coupons.com frequently for the last few years. However, this new world of buying the newspaper, watching ads, clipping coupons like crazy, and strategically rolling drugstore reward benefits has been eye-opening to say the least.
For all the effort that goes into it, I will say that couponing has definitely saved me a lot of money. I rarely shop at Walmart or Target anymore for basic household goods. Instead, I buy extra of what I need when it’s on sale (doubled with coupons and rewards) so that I never have to pay full price for something when we run out of it. Most of the time, my receipts show that I’ve saved at least twice as much as I’ve spent. It’s a bit tougher with groceries, but Kroger offers great coupon doubling much of the time, and Publix usually offers some sweet B1G1 deals. In all, I’d say I’ve cut my spending by about $40 a week for groceries, household products, toiletries/personal care, and pet products.
The flip side of the couponing world is that it can be like a steam train the runs right over you if you miscalculate or are out of the game for a couple of weeks. We’ve been gone a lot and our schedules have been nuts, so my couponing routine has likewise been out of whack. Yesterday, I finally got back into the groove and realized I had let several great deals pass me by AND allowed a huge stack of coupons to expire. Massive couponing #fail.
I am kicking myself this week, but the only thing to do is get back on track. Unfortunately, there weren’t many coupons in my Sunday paper, but I was able to print a few from Coupons.com. Worst case, if I need to, I know that I can buy coupons online. I’ve learned a few lessons, too. First and foremost: arrange your coupons by category and then by expiration date. Then, set aside ten minutes to check it once a week. I always have ten minutes on a Sunday afternoon, but it’s easy to skip over if it’s not built into the weekend routine. So, I’m blocking that time out on my calendar right now. Better luck next week.