Couponing Dilemma! ACKK!

My very last post was about how I save more than I spend on groceries.  Seems sort of weird to follow that up with a post about my couponing dilemma – but, this is my real life and maybe others are going through the same challenges.

I avoiding couponing for a long time because of the time I assumed was involved in getting everything done.  But, we came to a point in our lives that I really had no choice but to start looking a little harder for deals and steals.

Once I got going, it felt like the time versus the savings was well worth it.  In fact, on that last article about saving on groceries, I noted that I paid myself $25 per hour in grocery savings!  Not bad!

But, I’m sort of hitting a wall in the process and wondered what all you other frugal shoppers are doing.

Right now, I have a really easy coupon system going.  I don’t clip every coupon and I don’t file them by grocery category which saves me literally hours!  I put the whole coupon insert into a folder and organize my folders by week.  So, I have all the coupon inserts that I received on June 6th in one folder (2 RedPlum, 2 SmartSource, 2 P&G) and so on.

When all those awesome blogging ladies get the sales matched up to the coupons for the week, I pull out my coupons and only clip the ones that I need.  They’ve done all the work and I get the deals!  Seems like a perfect world, no?

No!  Unfortunately, I end up wasting tons of time searching for coupons that I don’t have for sales that aren’t in my area.  Since sales and coupons are put out on a regional basis, I don’t get some coupons that shoppers in Texas get and I get some that they don’t get.  In fact, it even varies by the paper I buy in my own area!  Not to mention that by the time I get my coupons (I get my paper at a discount on Tuesday) and my emails from the frugal bloggers together, lots of the products have already flown off the shelves.

So, I thought maybe I would start to do the matchups for my area and post them here on the blog for others in my area to take advantage of as well.  Oh but the TIME involved!!!!! I’d have a ton of work to catch up on and then a lot of work each week to make that happen.

Here are my choices:

#1.  Stick with the current system.

  • Pros – not an overwhelming amount of prep time involved, still save money on groceries
  • Cons – wasting some time in research, not getting all the deals because products are gone, might be missing some deals specific to my area

#2.  Move into a new system.

  • Pros – take advantage of coupons and deals in my area, get to be of service to my readers that are in my area, possibly save more money
  • Cons – lots of time involved

What would you do?

6 thoughts on “Couponing Dilemma! ACKK!

  1. Well, sounds like you ought to simplify things a bit. What I do is look at the sale ad on meats & produce and plan my menu around what’s on sale that week. (if there isn’t a good sale, I use ground turkey or something inexpensive) Then I try to buy other things (toiletries, paper products, etc..) when they are on sale throughout the month and match up my coupons with those things, for a good deal. I don’t try to spend a lot of time looking for that ‘great deal’ if I have to go out of my way and don’t really need it anyways. I pretty much buy the same things each month, and so I wait for it to go on sale and buy it then. Hope that makes sense. 🙂

    1. That makes perfect sense, Rebecca!! I think I am trying too hard to find an awesome deal, even if it’s not something I *need* right now or will even use in the future. I’m keeping it the same for right now because I just don’t have that extra time – maybe once my kids are grown and I need something to do!! 🙂 Thanks so much for your input!

  2. I’ve run into the same problem. I do cut mine and file them so when I go to match what I need, i just look to see if I have it and if not, I just move on.

    I’ve tried doing the match up thing a few times, but like you said.. it’s VERY time consuming and the affiliate money doesn’t make up for the time unless you have A LOT of readers..

    Good luck.. keep us posted as to how you work this out

    1. Thanks for chiming in Mikki! My exact question was whether the income I would make would pay for the time spent. I’d love to provide a service but I still have to serve my husband and kids!! 🙂 I’ve sent some emails to the coupon insert companies and other blogging moms that do that matching to see if I can figure out the worth of it all!

  3. I don’t cut and file my coupons. Instead, I use the same system you do (I let others do the work).
    BUT, I put about two weeks of random computer time and effort into reading blogs and couponing websites carefully and finding three that were specifically for my local stores and from my local area. This means that some of my across-the-country favorites had to be dropped, but that I can find 99% of what they’re talking about in a flash!
    Also, I subscribe to THREE different Sunday newspapers. At first, I was shocked to find that the SS and RP inserts in one of our local papers was different than the others! Now, it makes sense why I was having so much trouble locating coupons that didn’t seem to be there…I’m on the “line” where one coupon packet ends and another begins (does that make sense?).
    Take some time to search out blogs in your area. You’ll be so happy you did.
    Also, consider joining a local CSA. Organic produce, locally grown, and no more combing the ads for amazing produce deals!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by Rebecca!

      You have a great idea there – checking the bloggers to see where they are posting from and subscribing to those in my own “back yard”! How were you able to find out where they are from? I do know where one of the bloggers I subscribe to is from only by reading her posts for so long – she has mentioned it maybe once or twice. If there is an easy way to determine that, you are totally right – doing that would save me so much time!

      I didn’t know right away what a CSA was – but I looked it up and found some “Community Supported Agriculture” farms very near my home!! AND, found what might be a better farmers market than the one I’ve been visiting!! Thanks so much for the info!!

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