I wondered what your time investment is, very roughly, that you spend per week deal-hunting and clipping coupons. Could you comment in an upcoming post? It would be so interesting to hear your commentary. -Emily
Great question, Emily!
As I recently alluded to, I’ve streamlined things a great deal in the last six months. And to be completely honest, I feel like I’m not as organized as I once was about things. (Of course, this is true in just about every area of my life and I believe that it’s just the reality of having three young children. I had to give up on perfect or even close to perfect and settle for “good enough!”)
We’re not using as many coupons these days as we’re sticking more to whole foods and simple recipes, but I still clip a fairly large amount of coupons — especially for health and beauty products.
I don’t have a perfect system in place for this, but it usually works something like this:
Throughout the week, as hot printable coupons become available, I immediately print those I’m pretty certain I’ll use and stick them in my coupon box, unclipped. I also stick in any coupons which come in the mail (or the entire All You magazine when it comes!).
Putting all these coupons in my coupon box means that they are in a safe place, but I’m not having to stop everything and clip and file them numerous times throughout the week.
We usually go over to my family’s house on Sunday afternoons, so I lug my coupon box there and spend some of the time while visiting clipping and organizing the coupons which have piled up over the week. Since I often get multiple inserts, I stack them in like piles and then clip in bulk. This saves a lot of time clipping and filing.
While I’m filing, I go ahead and put coupons in the individual store envelopes I keep in my coupon box which I know will make for a good deal at a particular store. For instance, the $1/1 any Tide coupons from the P&G inserts don’t ever get filed; they just go straight into my Target coupon envelope because I know that Target always sells the travel packs of Tide for $1.04 and $0.04 per travel pack is the cheapest I’m going to find Tide.
I usually spend no more than 45 minutes on this, often less, but it happens while the conversation and family time is taking place so it’s not requiring any additional time, it’s just utilizing a weekly time slot when my brain is busy but my hands are free.
Other than that time, I also try to set aside 15 to 20 minutes each week to plan a simple menu, browse the weekly grocery sales fliers and devise my grocery shopping list and plan. If there are some really amazing deals at multiple stores, I’ll check my schedule to see if I can squeeze in an extra quick grocery trip. If the deals are pathetic, then I’ll either skip shopping, just go to Aldi or have Jesse pick up some basics on his way home from work.
All totaled, I average around 2 to 2.5 hours on grocery shopping, planning and coupon-clipping throughout the week. Occasionally, I’ll have extra time and energy and I’ll do a big stock-up trip or coupon shopping trip and then I might spend as much as 3 to 4 hours in a week’s time. And then there are weeks when I don’t even touch my coupon box or step foot in a store!
What about the rest of you? How much time do you spend deal-hunting and coupon-clipping?