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“But I’m too busy to clip coupons!”

Ever felt like clipping coupons was for people who were sitting around twiddling their thumbs with nothing better to do? Well, here’s some good news: clipping coupons can even be done by very busy folks.

In fact, my friend, JessieLeigh, over at Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles, is doing an excellent series to dispel the myth that you don’t have time to clip coupons. She has some fabulous suggestions, including:

::Ideas for clipping coupons while in the car–no, not while you drive!

::Ideas for clipping coupons while at work–she includes ideas for both stay-at-home moms/women and work-outside-home moms/women. And if you’re a guy who’s a coupon clipper, I’m sure some of these suggestions could work for you, too.

::Ideas for including young children in your coupon-clipping–I need to try out more of these suggestions!

There, now you have no excuse! Go multi-task and get those coupons clipped!

When do you clip coupons? Tell us in the comments.

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  • Barb says:

    I dont clip coupons. At least in the traditional sense. I save my inserts by date and type in file folders (all the redplum in one file for one week for example). Then once a week when I look to see the items on sale, I pull those specific coupons. This is usually done on Saturday afternoon, which is a church and dinner only time at my house (in terms of labor). Obviously that means that I only buy loss leaders and produce. Now I do scan the coupons before I file them to see if there is an unusualy coupon like for cuties or milk or something.

    • Erin says:

      @Barb, I find it’s generally easier if I don’t clip. I flip through the inserts and cut a handful of coupons for products I buy, think I’ll buy, or know that I can use for freebies, then I file them. I use the coupon matchups online to get my list together, then I clip or print whatever I need. It’s a snap. Takes just as long as if I was just putting together a grocery list on my own.

  • Alyssa says:

    Just got the advice on Twitter to not “clip” but to save my inserts in order for faster locating of the coupons when I match up deals. I have to say this approach will save me some time.

  • Marie says:

    My 3 year old is surprisingly good at cutting out coupons. I just have to let go of my perfectionism and be ok with the crooked edges. 🙂

  • Wifeeonline says:

    I clip in the car while my husband drives. (Typically IP q’s) I have a lapdesk and a portable photo cutter. I also take time to cut the ones I know I’ll use out on Sunday and file them. If I don’t then I get behind. I haven’t made the jump to a binder yet but my file box works great for now.

  • Diana says:

    I clip coupons, Sunday nights while watching programs. I am sitting anyway, might as well do something!

  • Christie says:

    I have a friend who puts her preschoolers to work clipping the coupons (scissor practice). The elementary kids get the job of sorting by type, etc…

  • Mandy says:

    I work from home and will often clip coupons during conference calls. If all I need to do is listen (not take notes), it’s an easy way to keep my hands busy. I will also clip during breakfast since my DD usually takes longer to eat than I do.

  • susan says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I have a friend that says this every time I see her (despite my sharing all of the money our family is saving and me saying how quickly it can be done). I will share this with her and hope that she will use this information.

  • Claire says:

    My 4 year old loves to help me cut coupons, and she does a good job too. She also loves Elmo’s World, so we get all my coupons cut out and organized during the hour of Sesame Street.
    Yesterday my 4 year old had a friend over playing and they wanted to play with play-dough. So we all sat at the kitchen table and they played with play dough while I cut coupons.
    My 4 year old and 2 year old also love to play in the clippings, that sounds funny. But they like to make piles and then mess them up. I don’t really mind because it’s all getting recycled anyway, and they help me clean it up.
    I have been tempted to switch to the non-clipping method as the others have mentioned, but I just can’t bring myself to do it because I can’t tell you how many great deals I have gotten from say a clearance cart at a store when I had my coupons with me that I had cut out. There’s a lot of deals out there that are unplanned. 🙂

  • tamika le gare says:

    i clip whenever, where ever i have the time. my daughters help sometimes, i have 9, 6, and 4 year olds. the oldest two clip, the youngest tears up the scraps and throws them away. don’t have much time to devote to coupons, but i do try to scan the ads and match up as much as possible. my mom helps out, she works for publix, she can tell me the deals they have and she usually has good coupons ready, too!

  • Lori says:

    I clip in the car – and I thought I was the only one!!! I have a 15 minute wait each day when I pick the kids up from school. Since I get six papers, I put like pages together before getting in the car and staple thru each coupon (just not thru bar code or expiration). Then clipping in the car is a snap. I’m usually done in 1-2 days of waiting. Then the rest of the week is spent planning shopping trips, removing expired coupons from my stash, planning meals for the following week or clipping coupons from magazines.

    All my planning tasks are done in the car so they’re out of the way!

    • Shelly says:

      @Lori, i had to ask….you get six papers?? which ones do you get? i am new to the coupon world and i am trying to find more ways to get coupons. our sunday paper only has the smartsource insert 🙁 i get a bunch on line of course but im looking for more options. thanks so much for your time 🙂

      • Lori says:

        I’m from San Antonio area so I get the San Antonio paper. Usually the Sunday papers from the largest surrounding city will have the best coupon selection! Hope that helps =) I also occasionally buy extras of the good coupons on ebay – usually u can get 20 for $1-$2 shipped so if it makes something free I am happy to pay for them!

    • Laura Jane says:

      I have the same situation where I live. The RedPlum and P&G come direct mail, so they aren’t in the paper – any paper in this area. All the paper has is the SmartSource insert. It does make it less worth it to buy multiple copies of the paper. I usually get 1-2 depending on what coupons are in the SmartSource. If I need multiples from the other inserts, my only choice is to use an on-line coupon clipping service.

  • Kathy says:

    My husband and I travel a lot for his ministry job (retreats, events, conferences). I almost always clip coupons while traveling. We talk, listen to sermons and I am just cutting along. My husband’s only request is that I have a plastic bag to put my cut up inserts in. The other thing I do is cut coupons during movie nights. I cut and watch, it helps me feel productive too. I do take times off of cutting coupons in both situations for a breather but for the most part it is what works best for us.

  • Katie says:

    Its not so much the clipping that prevents me from using coupons much, but the keeping on top of which ones to use when. Having to pull the expired ones, having to decide when and where I’ll be using them, etc. That is what takes the time and energy I don’t have.

    • Ann B says:

      @Katie, I usually don’t find the good deals and matchups on my own. I check websites like Crystal’s MSM site here for matchups. After some time, I got the hang of it and have a better idea of what products are likely to go on sale. I still couldn’t do it without resources to help me with the coupon match ups.
      If you want to get the hang of it, maybe just start with finding matchups at one store that you frequent or CVS. I hope I was helpful. Just don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by it.

    • Dee says:


      Hey, I know how you feel. I have two under the age of three, plus I’m finishing up grad school. Work is busy for my husband around certain times of year (end of December through February, we get a breather until May, then another few months, then another breather, etc etc…), so I don’t always have a lot of backup at home. I’ve also got my son’s library classes, story hour, and possibly preschool (we homeschool for preschool right now since he’s only 2) this upcoming fall. Add to that, I’m the housekeeper by proxy for some relatives who do not have kids but travel for work all the time, and I’m super busy. One thing I’ve started doing is this:

      If you use a coupon “box” with tabs, go through one to three tabs a day until you have gone through them all in a month. I do one tab a day – seriously, it takes me about 2-3 minutes tops, and by the end of the month, my coupon box is cleaned out.

      And read the article down below – an “hourly” rate of $86 an hour to use coupons is enough for me!

  • marney says:

    While watching TV – I clip, file and weed out the expired coupons. Leftover paper and circulars then go right into the recycle bin. I’d rather not have whole coupon inserts piling up like clutter.

  • Allison says:

    I’m a stay-at-home mom, which does give me time! And someone’s comment on FB said “How much is your time worth?” Mine is worth a lot! I just throw them all in a stack as I print them, and then about once a week I clip them all and clean out my coupon box. I clip everything I might possibly use-there’s no way I could stay organized trying to clip from inserts while I shop with my kids! To save time when I am clipping IPs, I flip the page over and print on both sides for bricks coupons, then I can fold it in half and the two coupons line up (also saves paper). I can also cut 2-3 sheets of pages because they all line up as well.

  • vicki says:

    I clip all my coupons if I dont I forget about them. I have the binder system which I like because if Im in the store and see a deal my coupons are with me. I also clip while watching tv or riding.

  • karen says:

    when my kids start whining about being bored, i hand them the coupons to start clipping. they actually like it, lucky me!! 🙂

  • Em. says:

    I cannot get my head around the “No Clip and File” method. I really really really like having all my coupons with me when I shop, because I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten an amazing clearance deal or price drop with coupons because I happened to have them with me. We’re 25 miles from the nearest store, so I can’t even imagine not having every possible thing I need with me.

    As for clipping, I really like to get them done on Sundays. This doesn’t happen every week, though. When I do clip, I stack like pages and clip them as one to save on repetition.

  • Kelly says:

    I’m a full time working Mom and I clip and sort on my lunch hour. I have a bag in which I carry all of my stuff in and dedicate one lunch hour a week to getting them all in order and planning my shopping trips! I also get some done when I am on conference calls and webmeetings. I just shut my office door and put the phone on mute!

  • I’ve become a little more loose about clipping them right away & usually don’t get to it until Thursday (unless I hear of a coupon needed earlier) while I watch Grey’s Anatomy. I usually can’t sit still while I watch tv so adding a coupon clipping session seems to help 🙂

    Also, I used to clip all of the coupons, but now I find it easier to just clip the ones I know I will use/will use if I can get it free or nearly free & file those in my coupon binder. Anything left unclipped gets filed by date in my filing cabinet. MUCH less stressful that way.

  • Kaye says:

    I think more people might re-think whether or not they have time with more articles like this one:

    Wow…talk about seriously being worth your time!

    • Dee says:


      Kaye – I saw that article when it was first published, and emailed it to my husband at work, asking him to read it. He’s always complaining about how I “have to have a coupon for EVERYTHING…”

      He still makes fun of me for my coupon obsession, but when he realized exactly how much I was saving us/ earning for us by doing this, he’s lightened up quite a bit. And my obsessive deal hunting enables us to go on vacations every year – vacations we might otherwise not be able to do on the income we make. People think that with what we make, we’re “broke”, but really, we’re not, and the joke’s on them! 🙂

  • Lauren says:

    I am working 2 jobs right now. Sunday is my only day off. I clip coupons whenever I have the time. I clip them on my lunch break, while I’m watching tv, etc. I catalog my inserts in a binder, so I can cut only the ones I need when I need them. There are SO many resources online, where WONDERFUL people do all the hard work for me. It IS worth my time, becasue year to date, I have saved 70% on EVERYTHING (Clothing, Home Decor, Grocery and Drugstore items) that I’ve purchased. I would like to be at 75%, but saving $2,000 in 3 months ain’t too shabby! This is POSSIBLE for everyone! If you’re new to it, give it some time, it will definitely be worth your trouble.

  • Julie says:

    I also clip coupons while I watch TV. It gives me an excuse to watch trashy shows like The Real Housewives. Once a month, (also while watching TV), I go through my coupon file and pitch the ones that have expired. I have tried just saving the inserts and writing the dates on them for matching with sales, but it ended up being more of a pain for me to search through them for the coupons I needed.

  • Kim says:

    A couple of nights a week I will put in a movie or DVD of a television series and just cut away. It helps the cutting task to be significantly less tedious!

  • Thrifty Wifey says:

    I have always clipped my coupons, I tried saving the inserts and clipping as I needed but it was no help when I ran into a great clearance item! So now I clip them typically on early Monday mornings at my office when it’s slow or at home that night. I buy 4 papers and just sort and stack them so I can cut 4 pages at a time, it’s much easier that way!

  • Steph says:

    I’ve had to clip IPs in the store and the cashiers love it when the person in front of me has unclipped coupons and I whip out my scissors and say “here, use mine”!

  • Jennifer says:

    I clip them while sitting in the living room when my daughter is playing. I can still talk with her while clipping, and it’s done before I know it! But I have to stay on top of it, or they pile up quickly!

  • I wanted to say thanks for linking to her blog- I saw that her baby girl was born at 24 weeks gestation. My only sister was born at 23 weeks 4 days gestation. I was 3 years old at that time (the same age my daughter is now). Although my sister is deaf, blind and has profound mental retardation, she has been a HUGE influence on my life and I tell my daughter about her Aunt and how everybody is different.

  • Stacie D. says:

    I live far away from family, and usually call home and talk to my parents every Sunday night. While we chat, I clip away!

  • My girls help me some and I always try and make use of riding in the car time, but sometimes I just stay up late and watch a movie while I clip and file!

  • jan says:

    I don’t clip- I keep my coupon inserts in a folder by date- much easier to find specific coupons- I now find I use at least 50% internet printable coupons now over newpaper inserts. I keep a few envelopes in an old baby wipe container with general categories like food, baby, pet, health, etc. Once a week while I am watching TV, I clip coupons for that week’s shopping after I have made my list.

  • Marnie says:

    I do mine Monday nights while the boys are at their Boy Scout meeting. I sit with the other parents and clip away. Makes the time go WAY faster! If there is no scout meeting in a particular week, then I just do it while watching the news or something.

  • This may be anathema to my coupon-clipping counterparts, but I clip when Harris Teeter triples or super-doubles. Other than that, my inserts sit in tact waiting. I also sort my coupons by amount rather than what they’re for (with “baby” and “stuff we use often” pulled out separately). The less prepackaged stuff I buy, the fewer coupons are available, so I basically only use them for “special” things that we get free with triples or super doubles. It’s just not worth the time and effort to me otherwise (especially since I have two littles who LOVE to knock over (and eat!) stacks of coupons).

    But that reminds me….HT is tripling starting today! Need to get back to clipping and sorting!

  • Elena says:

    Clip or not to clip. I have been lagging it but I usually obtain 10-15 newspaper inserts each week. I head over to a nearby 7-11 around 11:30pm Sundays and kindly asked once if I could have the coupons. He said it was okay as long as I didn’t mess up the papers and could come back every week. So, I’m stuck with 20-30 inserts each week. I’ve tried tackling them starting Monday when the kids are napping and at bedtime. Then I stopped it was too many. So I tried the file-n-clip way when I need things but I always miss a good clearence sale. I bought the binder, card inserts but I haven’t gotten around to it. The coupon box wasn’t big enough for all my coupons. Btw if anyone is interested in cat coupons (we don’t own a cat) I wouldn’t mind sending you them for free. I hate to see them go to waste.

    • Allison says:

      @Elena, That’s nice you can find someone who still has papers available Sunday night! I now have my own subscription, plus I get my parents’ and grandpa’s inserts, and those combined with IPs is plenty for me! I have many month’s worth of household/hygiene products stockpiled, so I’m not going to get more unless it’s free or nearly free-no room otherwise! It’s not saving money if I’m spending money I don’t have to!

  • I tried the no clip system, but I kept missing deals that I would stumble upon. Anyway, I clip in the evenings while my family is gathered watching football, fishing, etc… I like using the binder method as well, because I can see all my coupons! As long as you don’t get too far behind, it’s pretty easy to stay current. I heard on the radio that $3 billion in coupons were redeemed last year….lots of clipping!!

  • I clip on Sunday afternoons after church with a cup of coffee. I read the paper afterwards. I actually enjoy it – it totally relaxes me!

  • Jennifer says:

    I clip while in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.

  • Janet says:

    I have to say I’m one of the non-clippers. I file them in file folders labeled by date and insert name. I do have to give up on the clearance finds, but I was going to quit couponing getting 4-6 papers and trying to get them all clipped. With 5 children to homeschool and a part-time job, I don’t have spare time. I use a data base like to look up a coupon for a specific item and the bloggers that match the coupons to the sales always tell you which insert by date. Clipping only what I use has kept my sanity.

  • Stefani says:

    I use to not bother with clipping coupons until this year. I am now addicted to using coupons and finding good deals! I have saved my family over $400 this year just using coupons.

  • Kim says:

    I date and file my inserts and clip those as needed, however, I do try to keep the internet printables clipped. Thats not obvious right now as I have a pretty healthy stack here beside me. I have clipped while waiting for my vehicle to be repaired, not something I wish to do very often though. I am seriously thinking of asking my mother-in-law who lives in senior housing if she would like to clip for me, she would probably enlist the help of the other residents and be done in no time. ( after all she comes to my basement and shops for free) sounds like a fair trade to me.

  • Lisa says:

    Reading what everyone else has written makes me want to try a hybrid system. Clip one or two of each insert to catch markdowns and file the rest for planned shopping trips. I’ll try it for a while and decide. I may go back to just planned trips because I’ve come to realize that there is always another deal around the corner and I don’t need to catch them all. For me its become a “Let go and let God”.

  • Teddi says:

    I don’t generally clip coupons, but I wouldn’t say it’s for lack of time. If I found a coupon for something I want, I would clip it. Honestly, most coupons I find are not for things I would ordinarily buy or even be interested in trying. So giving me 50 cents off something I don’t want isn’t a deal to me. I live in Canada and it seems like we don’t get near the great coupons you can find in the US. I have found free premium OJ coupons on my cereal boxes and even though I don’t usually buy premium OJ, I clip them… that’s something I don’t buy b/c it’s too expensive, not because I don’t like it!

  • Jen says:

    I love, love, love to coupon shop. I find it borderline addictive and I get a mental high from the savings. But, I work full time as a teacher and also have a leadership position at my school – add that to a husband and 4 year old daughter, and life gets challenging. My lunch is generally scarfed between meeting with students, using the restroom, and trying to get the next block’s lesson in order. After getting really good at coupon shopping last summer (thanks, Crystal, for all the pointers!), I tried to keep it going into the fall. But, between that and all of the other things I was trying to get done, my sanity started to fall apart. At first, I found it physically painful to shop in the “old” way of paying full price for some things. But, I found that with the other tricks I’d learned – like buying sale produce/meat and menu-planning, I could still keep my grocery price at a reasonable level. And, much of my summer stockpile has lasted me through the school year which has helped to cut costs. Yes, I could save more money if I were to also coupon shop year round, but with other things competing for my multi-tasking energy and with the need to preserve at least half an hour of decompressing time a day, I let it go during the school year.
    But now that it’s spring I’ve started to save and collect circulars. I plan to hit it hard this summer and develop another good stockpile to last through next school year. I’m excited to get back to it!

  • kelley says:

    I clip on Sunday, before the house is awake. Then what I don’t use, I put in a pile to send to service men/women overseas who can use them in the commissary. If any of you want this connection, let me know…sure beats wasting them and only costs me a couple of dollars a month to mail….my contribution to their service!

  • Ann says:

    I clip coupons on Sunday afternoon after church. That is my time to get all my deals ready for that week and then I shop on Monday or Tuesday.

  • adrian says:

    My sister says she never has time to coupon. Well all I have to say is you go to the bathroom don’t you. Quit reading your book and cut. Next time file them she never has an answer to that.

  • Lisa says:

    I clip on Sunday nights while the whole family is watching Food Network!

    I organize them alphabetically in rows on the coffee table (because I store them alphabetically) then when I put in the new… I try to take out the expired coupons!

    With all of the money I save / earn at the store… it is worth a few minutes of my time on Sunday night!

  • Coupon codes says:

    Every monday, I send my mom a package with all the coupons I get on Sunday. She ends up using them and buying lots of supplies like tooth brushes, shampoo, etc at places like Rite Aid, Walgreens, etc for free. Then I get those as a gift during the holidays. Works for me!

  • We started couponing over a year ago and went from spending $120 a week to $60! It is worth all of the hard effort and work…that adds up!

  • erin w says:

    my husband and i have a paper route, and we used to just recycle all the leftover inserts at the end of the night until i got wise about a year ago and started couponing.

    because the newspaper doesn’t count exactly how many papers they give their carriers, sometimes i have 30 inserts. sometimes i have 2. so i stack all like pages, staple near the coupon, and clip all my coupons out. then when i print out a list of deals at a particular store there is no going through a file cabinet looking for coupons first. for me, when i filed inserts it took me longer to look up each coupon on my list than it takes to clip them all. but that’s just me. i don’t clip things i know i won’t use, like cat food, but everything else gets cut out.

    i just bought stuff to make a binder, because my coupon box is huge and i’m growing out of it. i’m excited! my husband thinks i’m a big geek, but he sure appreciates how the grocery bill has gone down, and how much more we have for our money.

  • Tina says:

    Sunday mornings. I sit down with my paper, coffee cup, scissors and envelopes. When I am done reading the paper, I will clip the coupons. Often my guy will chat with me while I do it, and he sometimes gets in on it.

  • Katie Kerr says:

    I am confused where everyone gets these coupons. I get flyers in the mail but they are for sales that the grocery stores are having. I do not get any extra coupons for food in the mail. Where does everyone get them???

    • JessieLeigh says:

      @Katie Kerr,

      Hi Katie,

      There are lots of places to find coupons, but the two most common are the Sunday paper (there are coupon inserts in there almost every weekend except holidays) and printable coupons from the internet. Hope that helps!

  • Minda says:

    I either clip at home while watching tv with the hubby or I bring my inserts to work with me and clip during my lunch break!

  • legendswife says:

    I clip/print coupons. I’m having a giveaway for some lucky winner to score some free coupons…head on over:)\

  • Gloria says:

    I’m a busy mom of two young children and I work a full-time job in addition to running my blog. I keep my coupons in my car and clip at red lights, when I’m sitting in a drive-thru, or sitting in a doctor’s office. I make the most of every spare moment.

  • I clip coupons when my husband and I catch up on our favorite TV shows (typically Thursday or Friday evenings). He even helps me! 🙂

  • savin4morefamily says:

    My hubby and I are able to carpool on Mondays, so I’m learning to clip and sort while he drives; there’s simply not enough time at home. But my preschooler is about to need some scissor-training – and is eager to join in on coupons – so I should have a helper-in-training soon!

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