I had a really good couponing trip on Monday. I have always wanted to do a coupon beauty shot. Above is mine - 4 boxes of cereal, 1 can of almonds, 6 apples, and a gallon of milk all for $3.62 from Albertsons aka Albies. Sometimes I fall off the coupon wagon. I guess I should say I fall off the coupon wagon, often. Clipping coupons and seeking out deals is work. I have a love/hate relationship with couponing. I love to save but I don't want to work to hard for my savings. I think I finally came up with the 10 commandments of Couponing Sanely.
1. No Deal is worth losing sleep over. I don't do complicated coupon deals. The more complicated it is the more stressful it is to me. If this is your cup of tea, go for it. I need my deals to be pretty straight forward.
2. Time is money. I am a big believer in balance in my personal life. I am not going to spend all day seeking out deals or clipping coupons. I spend roughly 1 hour a week clipping coupons and seeking out deals.
3. Meal planning saves you money. It will save you more than couponing in the long run. It saves you when you are not eating out. I rather invest more time in meal planning and cooking ahead than clipping coupons. I think over the long term this pays off more than couponing. I shop sales and plan my meals around those sales.
4. Make sure your coupon organization system works for you. I actually clip out coupons. I file them in a certain order. This system works for me. I was a file clerk in a very previous life. My friend is a simple file the insert. It works for her. Have a system and use it. The more organization you have the less time you have to spend on couponing.
5. Don't buy foods/products you won't use. No coupon is a great deal if you aren't going to use the product.
6. Use coupons ethically!!!! You would think this would be common sense. Don't be a shelf clearer. Don't forge coupons etc.
7. Don't go it Alone. I use coupon websites that help me pinpoint the deals. I also have several girlfriends that share deals and pass the info on.
8. Make sure you get the paper with the most inserts. My local paper barely gets any coupon inserts. I am lucky that my Mother-In- Law gets a paper that gets the most inserts and she saves them for me. I regularly buy Seattle Times to get more inserts.
9. Be Flexible. Deals sometimes don't work out. Try new products.
10. Don't compare yourself to other couponers. I am never going to be an extreme couponer. That is too much effort. Any savings is better than no savings at all in my book.
My bottom line is to feed my family cheap nutritious food with minimal stress and fuss.