Paycheck Chronicles

Overcoming The Obstacles To Couponing

Chances are, food is the second or third largest expense in your budget.  (It might even be number one, if you have particularly low housing costs.)  One of the ways to save money on food is to use coupons.  When people say that they need to save money on food, but they don't coupon, I have some questions.  Usually, their answers fall into one of a few groups.

I Don't Buy The Things That Coupons Are For

I am sure there are some people who don't buy anything that has a coupon.  For most people, however, I suspect they just aren't looking at the coupons available.  While many coupons are for the newest processed foods, you can find coupons for just about anything.  Toiletries and cleaning supplies are an area where you can save a lot of money.  I estimate I save about 50% on our toiletry purchases when I make the time to coupon.

I Forget To Bring The Coupons To The Store

I don't have an easy answer for this one.  Figure out your obstacle.  Is it mental or physical?   For me, my coupons live in a designated tote bag.  Sometimes it lives in the car, and sometimes it sits near the back door so I can grab it in a moment.

I Don't Have Time

Couponing can take as much time as you want.  When I'm swamped for time, I use coupon matching websites to tell me exactly what I want to buy at each store each week.  When I'm a little less rushed, I'll spend more time matching coupons and prices.

If you really can't add more than a few minutes to your schedule, try to identify five or ten things that you buy consistently, and keep your eyes out for coupons for those items only.  That's not overwhelming and even $5 a week adds up.  For me, that would be shampoo and conditioner, razors, cat litter, trash bags, Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, and pasta sauce.

I Don't Know Where To Get Coupons

Coupons are available a variety of different ways.  The two biggest are through the Sunday paper inserts and via the internet.

If you don't get the paper, consider whether a subscription would be worth the money.  Ask your neighbors for their coupon inserts.  Check your local library or community center for coupon swapping boxes.  As your local convenience store if you can come in on Monday mornings and get the inserts before the new papers are delivered (this may or may not be permitted, depending on where you live.)

The internet is an amazing source of coupons.  Once you get into the hang of it, they are pretty easy to find, too.

Couponing is different for everyone, but you can save some serious money with a little bit of effort.  When I try at all, I can usually save at least 10% on my shopping bill.  No sense paying more if you don't have to!



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