I talk about couponing a lot and I get asked about couponing even more than I talk about it. I haven't been a couponer very long, maybe 3 1/2 years, but I have learned a lot in that time and I am constantly updating my process.
This year I started using the Southern Savers savings tracker that Jenny has at the top of her blog. It doesn't require any personal information, you just enter your receipt and coupon totals after you are done shopping.
I have also started using Ibotta and Checkout 51 apps (I downloaded them straight to my cell phone). These apps give you money back for items you have purchased (I have received money for milk, eggs, pledge, bananas, etc.).
When I get home from my shopping trip, I put everything away, and then I scan items for the apps and type in my receipts for the savings tracker. It takes about 10 minutes to do all three.
So... going back to what I was originally talking about- people asking me about couponing. Some of the most common questions I get are:
How much do you really save?
Is it really worth it?
How long does it take you to coupon?
How do you know how much you are saving?
Do you use all of your coupons?
I will do my best to answer these:
How much do I really save?/ How do you know how much you are saving?
Since I am using the southern savers tracker this year, I know exactly how much I am spending and saving since January 1st of this year:
At Harris Teeter; I have spent $844.10 and I have saved $862.45 or 51%
At CVS; I have spent $98 and I have saved $194. 43 or 66%
AT BJs; I have spent $228.09 and I have saved $53.71 or 19%
At Toys R Us; I have spent $2.99 and I have saved $86.38 or 97%
That savings adds up to $1196.97 on groceries, household items, and baby supplies.
So to answer the question "is it worth it?" I reply with my own question, who doesn't want an extra $1200 in their pocket? :)
All of these items are things we have to use or need anyway- diapers, formula, milk, mac n cheese, yogurt, granola bars, green beans, toilet paper, cereal, tooth paste, etc, etc. I think having an extra $1200 is worth the time it takes to coupon and shop.
Which leads me to another question How long does it take to coupon?
The answer varies depending on the week. We get the Sunday paper only for 79 cents and the coupons come on Saturday. I take about 30-40 minutes to cut the coupons I think I will use and then sort them into my binder.
Throughout the week when I have extra time, I will also go to coupons.com and check for new coupons and print them. I will cut them and sort them into my binder when I have free time. The searching, printing, sorting, and cutting of those takes about 20-30 minutes.
So we are about 1 hour for the week.
On Saturday, after I cut the coupons, I make my grocery list and match up what we need/want with the sales that start Sunday. This takes about 20-30 minutes depending on how much we need. So overall, the coupon and shopping list process takes me about 60-90 minutes each week. You can check Southern Savers for faster ways of doing this, this is just my process.
And the last question, do you use all of your coupons?
No. I don't. I don't even come close to using all of them and I don't know what percentage of cut coupons I use. But, I cut coupons only for things we might use and I try to only buy what we need or what we can use or donate. For example, we don't have any pets, so I don't ever cut cat or dog food coupons.
I hope this helps answer some of your questions and maybe convince you to start couponing. :)
It's super easy and you can save so much money!