Do you coupon? What's your strongest reaction to the idea? Coupons bring strong feelings to the surface:
- Thrill: moving in for the kill. The wide-eyed wonder of watching your bottom line disappear, pennies at a time. Its you against the cash register.
- Dread: the overwhelming work of it all. The job is mundane, repetitive, and could make a sane woman loose her mind.
- Guilt: mostly when you pay full price. Once you're hooked, its hard to walk away from clipping your paper money.
- Relief: stretching a tight budget even further. Empowering to make your dollar work.
- Embarrassment: be honest, some folks judge. Plus, some don't want to shop next to your tedious pace, nor get in line behind you at the cash register (solution: shop on senior discount days; you're more their pace).
I confess, I do coupon. These are 5 feelings I experience every single cycle of clipping and shopping. Couponing is not my hobby. I have never tried "extreme couponing" In my little world, couponing is a necessity, and dare I say, a spiritual discipline. Frugality, simplicity, stewardship, and all that. On an average grocery trip, I "make" about $30/hour (including research, clipping, shopping, and putting groceries away). That's good enough for now.
Can you share any couponing secrets in the comments? I need a few new ideas. Planning gives me the peace of mind to be fully present for the task at hand, and not fully consumed. Planning is freedom of heart. A few secrets I've learned:
- Shop at your favorite store every time. You'll know the prices, where to find items, and you will learn the coupon policies.
- Follow Coupon Mom. Her book is sharp, her research spot on. Get on the weekly email alerts. Print the weekly database price sheets for your favorite store, and shop based on what is a good deal.
- Focus on a single product. Commit to clipping and watching sales on laundry products only, or maybe meat, dairy, or beauty products. Truthfully, I can't do it all. But, I can handle one area.
- Dual ink your grocery list (uh-oh, my anal side is showing....). Sometimes, a sale price is not the actual shelf price. Girl, don't buy it if its not on sale AND you have a coupon! Instead of sorting coupons in the aisle and deciding if it is a good price, I pull all coupons at home, based on Coupon Mom's weekly database. My grocery item is written black for a normal, non-coupon item, and blue for a coupon item with the sale price. Double check your research! If it ain't a good deal, or the manager adjusted the sale price, keep walking. Before stepping up to the cash register, sort your coupons one last time.