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3 Tips to Cure “Coupon Time Creep”

coupon time creep

Guest post from Kelly of Kelly Cox At Home:

Coupons can be a blessing and a curse. While they can save you money, they take up your time too.

Several years ago, my husband and I were trying to live on 1 income and looking for ways to save money. We learned how to coupon and literally cut our grocery budget in half. I was ecstatic, but quickly realized that I had a dilemma. Couponing began to creep in on my time in the evening and on weekends.

My goal was to continue to save money, but I didn’t want to coupon like it was my job! Family time is so precious and I wanted to free up my schedule and spend less time with coupons.

If you wish to do the same, I’ve got 3 tips to help you cure what I call “Coupon Time Creep.”

1. Realize that you can’t do it all.

We are all busy with home life, family, friends, work, church and so much more. I encourage you to give yourself grace and accept that sometimes you’ll just have to miss a deal or two. Oh well!

We can’t do (or coupon) everything, but we can set boundaries and priorities to help us save money and still enjoy spending time on what really matters.

I wanted to continue saving money but I had to limit my coupon time, which brings me to my next point.

2. Set a timer

When I first began to coupon, I would look up from my clipping, printing coupon frenzy and realize that I’d lost an hour of time. Oh my! I meant to start dinner, write an email and call a friend. Coupon Time Creep strikes again…

My solution to this (much too frequent) scenario was to set a timer. In other words, I’d give myself 20 minutes to devote to couponing and then stop. Whatever I had completed coupon wise during that timeframe would just have to do. In fact, I found that I stayed more focused because I had a looming deadline, and I wanted my time to be productive!

3. Limit yourself to one website and one store.

Couponers will sometimes visit multiple websites to compare coupon matchup lists and scour the internet for every sale or deal to be found. They will also often travel to several stores in the name of the deal. (I’m describing my former self here.)

I encourage you to save yourself time by considering one coupon website and one store. I’ve applied this concept to my couponing and now save both time and money! In fact, I’ve saved myself hours of searching and driving around because I picked just one.

If you coupon in order to save your household money, I encourage you to watch for the occasional Coupon Time Creep!

Your family, friends and household are so much more important than chasing after ever deal and coupon.

Remember you can’t do it ALL, set a specific amount of time aside, and pick one store and website to focus on.

You’ll be blessed to find you still save money and manage to preserve your time as well!

Kelly is a Christ follower, blessed wife, mom-to-be and a lover of all things home. She blogs over at Kelly Cox At Home about her journey at home and passion for debt-free living. She hopes to encourage others in that goal, while sharing tips on how to manage and enjoy all things that make up HOME!

photo source

Gretchen’s $58 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan

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Aldi

2 dozen Eggs – $1.59 each

1 pkg Hamburger Buns – $0.85

1 loaf Bread – $1.39

1 Cauliflower – $1.99

1 pkg Frozen Blueberries – $2.49

1 pkg Baby Carrots – $0.69

1 pkg Snack Crackers – $1.49

1 pkg Mini Marshmallows – $0.79

1 lb Butter – $2.99

2 Cucumbers – $0.49 each

1 pint Grape Tomatoes – $0.99

2 Avocados – $0.39 each

1 pkg Dried Cranberries – $1.29

1 pkg Sliced Almonds – $2.99

1 pkg Sweet Corn – $2.69

2 Grapefruit – $0.69 each, used $0.25/1 Checkout 51 rebate – $0.57 each after rebate

1 Frozen Orange Juice – $1.19

1 Honey – $4.99

Total after rebate: $32.89

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Dillons

1 V8 Fusion Energy Drink – $1, used Free e-coupon (no longer available) – Free after coupon

1 Kroger Peanut Butter – $1.69

3 Larabar – $1 each, used $0.75/3 SavingStar.com rebate – $0.75 each after rebate

1 Kroger Cottage Cheese – $2

3 Chobani Yogurt – Marked down to $0.59 each

1 Simple Truth Almond Milk – $2.50, used $0.50/1 e-coupon – $2 after coupon

1 gallon Dillons Milk – $1.99

1 Kroger Applesauce – $2.19

1 Kroger Unbleached Flour – $1.79

1 Green Bell Pepper – $0.99

2.16 lbs Bananas – $1.27, used $0.25/1 Ibotta rebate AND $0.30/1 MobiSave rebate – $0.72 after rebate

1 Romaine Lettuce – $0.99

1 Mission Tortillas – $1, used $0.55/1 printable (no longer available) – $0.45 after coupon

1 bag Apples – Marked down to $0.99, used $0.30/1 MobiSave rebate – $0.69 after rebate

Mega Sale Items: 

2 Birds Eye Frozen Veggies – $1.49 each, used 2 $1.50/1 coupon from the 1/10 SmartSource insert – Free after coupons

1 Truvia Sweetener – $2.80, used $1.50/1 e-coupon – $1.30 after coupon

1 Eddy’s Vanilla Ice Cream – $3.49

2 Chex Mix – $0.99 each, used $0.60/2 printable – $0.69 each after coupon

Total after coupons and rebates: $25.69

Total for all groceries: $58.58

Menu Plan for This Week

Breakfasts

Cereal x 2

Eggs and Spinach x 4

Fruit Smoothies, Toast

Lunches

Tossed Salad with toppings x 3

Cheese Quesadillas, Carrot Sticks, Grapes

Tuna Salad and Crackers, Veggies

Pizza Quesadillas, Sliced Apples, Carrot Sticks

Leftovers

Dinners

Hamburgers, Corn on the Cob, Homemade French Fries

Chicken with Birds Eye Protein Frozen Veggies, Biscuits, Steamed Broccoli

Dinner with friends (I’m bringing dessert)

Spaghetti, Tossed Salad, Homemade Bread

Blueberry Pancakes, Eggs, Grapefruit

Chicken Noodle Casserole, Tossed Salad, Brussel Sprouts

Leftovers

The 10-10-10 Analysis and How It’s Changing My Life

The 10-10-10 Analysis

Do you have a difficult time making wise decisions, especially when the answer is expected within a really quick time frame? I recently discovered the 10-10-10 analysis for making wise decisions that Alli Worthington talks about in her book Breaking Busy, and I love it.

In her book, Alli talks about how important decision making is in our lives. First, she quotes Andy Stanley with this really challenging thought:

“Direction — not intentions, hopes, dreams, prayers, beliefs, intellect, or education — determines destination. I know it’s tempting to believe that our good intentions, aspirations, and dreams somehow have the ability to do an end run around the decisions we make on a daily basis. However, you and I will win or lose in life by the paths we choose.”

From there, Alli follows with her thoughts on how decision making affects our future:

“Like it or not, every single decision we make takes us down the road close to the destination that is our future. What we think, believe, hope for, study, or dream about doesn’t affect the outcome of our future. The decisions we make and the actions we take DO.”

Direction determines destination. I want to challenge you to consider what choices you are making daily that are affecting where you’re going. What things are you doing or not doing that are helping or hurting your direction and your ability to get where you want to go? The little decisions that we make throughout the day make an impact on our direction in life.

We have to start breaking busy before the busy breaks us. Breaking Busy book

So what is this 10-10-10 analysis that Alli talks about in Breaking Busy? Sometimes, we aren’t given a very long time to think about and process information before making a decision. This is where Alli relies on Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 decision-making process. It’s simple:

Ask yourself how you will feel about your decision after 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years.

Everything you do has impact. So when you’re struggling to make a decision, to know what direction you should take, or what your answer should be, ask yourself these questions.

That really, really challenged me. I thought it was a fantastic way to approach decision making. Sometimes we don’t have enough time to decide, but before we say yes, we can stop to ask ourselves how we would feel within those time intervals to help us decide what to do.

Sometimes we make a decision because it feels good right now, in this moment. But will it feel good or right in 10 months or years? It might be a hard and awkward no in those first 10 minutes that will save you so much misery, heartache, and stress over the next 10 months or years.

Why we need to start Breaking Busy

Inspired by the 10-10-10 analysis and as part of my Year of Rest, I’ve been challenging myself to not only ask myself, “How am I going to feel about this commitment in 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now?”, but then I’m going on and asking myself the following four questions before I say “yes” to any extra commitment:

  1. Is this extra commitment in line with my priorities and goals for this year?
  2. Am I absolutely, positively, and totally excited about doing this/making this commitment?
  3. Do I have the time, capacity, and energy to do this and maintain a restful pace of life?
  4. Is my husband fully on board with me saying “yes” to this opportunity?

Here’s what I’m discovering: once I’ve gone through the 10-10-10 analysis and asked myself these four questions, I am hardly saying “yes” to any extra commitments. And it feels amazing!

By doing so, I’m able to really, really give my best to those few things I’m saying yes to. I’m able to focus on them, pour into them, and give my all to them instead of giving my leftovers or what little tiny capacity I could muster up because I was stretched so thin and exhausted by all the demands of the other things I’ve committed to.

And not only that, but by only saying “yes” to a few things, it’s allowing me to be so much more fully present and have margin and breathing room for what’s most important:

  • To be able to really listen to my child or pay attention as they go through all of the steps of how their latest LEGO Puzzle Box works.
  • To stop and just snuggle with my husband, flirt with my husband, or have a 15-second kiss (or more!). To have an impromptu phone call with a friend who is struggling.
  • To stop what I’m doing and give counsel to a friend who is wrestling with an issue.
  • To write a note of encouragement to someone who could use some cheering up.
  • To take time express gratitude in a meaningful way…

If it doesn't add to your life it doesn't belong in your life

We only get one shot at life. I’ve spent enough time chasing and rushing and hustling. This year, instead of living life at breakneck speed, I’m focusing on breaking busy. And let me tell you, after one month of living like this and experiencing the benefits, I’m thinking of turning my Year of Rest into a Life of Rest!