Lazy Mom’s guide to couponing

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Since the buzz over the extreme couponing show has started, and since my post last week about the show, I’ve gotten quite a few e-mails about how I actually prepare my shopping trips, handle my coupons, work on my grocery budget, etc. Well, I’d like to get down to the nitty-gritty for everyone.

I’m Lazy. Period.
I think the real reason most American shoppers are leery about starting coupon use is that we are a “gimmie now for nothing” society. We accept a great discount as long as we don’t have to jump through hoops for it, and by “hoops” I mean, actually doing any work at all. I have to say, I am one of those Americans. The only difference is, I HAVE to learn to make coupons work for me due to our budget. But, I’m still lazy. Because of this, I’ve found ways to get the best deals with little effort and without filling up my house with an insane stockpile.

I pick and choose my coupon sources
I do buy papers every Sunday for the coupons. I also print coupons offline and order coupons from clipping sites like Coupons and things by Dede. The reason I do these things has nothing to do with wanting to be diligent and go out of my way to get the best coupons for the week. I do these things because they are already part of my weekly routines. Since we go to my parents’ house every Sunday, we pass right by the convenience store that sells my favorite papers. Since I blog online daily, I can print coupons that I’ll need simultaneously. Since I put together weekly deals for my local grocery store, I can shoot over to a clipper site and order extras of a good coupon once I discover a deal I’ll want to do in abundance. I would never run all around town looking in recycling bins or on coffee shop tables for extra coupon inserts. I’m just lazy like that. Each couponer has their level they are willing to reach in order to save. One day I may get to the point where I’ll want to go the extra mile, but probably not. It’s the idea of using your time wisely; if you go overboard, you’ll get burned out, especially when it comes to using coupons.

4 papers is just enough for me
The big rule in couponing is that it’s all in the numbers. The more coupons you have, the more savings you’ll have. That’s all well and good, and very true. Buying 9 or 12 papers is an awesome way to up your ante, but you have to remember that you will have to organize, maintain and hopefully use most of those coupons. I’ve tried buying 8 papers, and even 6, but I’ve found that 4 is the right number for me. I buy the 1.25 local paper, and only use 5.00 a week for my inserts. Those are all nice simple numbers, and they’ve made my frugal life just as simple. During the big coupon holidays, like the first coupon inserts of the year, I will double it up to 8, but I also prep myself mentally for those times. There’s no way I could handle all of that work every week, so I don’t. (I will be video blogging how I keep my coupons organized soon. Stay tuned!)

I’ve become store-picky
The more stores you shop at for deals, the more you have to work to get those deals, keep track of expiring store rewards, coupons, etc. When I first started out, I ran to EVERY store in my area for deals. All the drugstores, all the grocery stores and even a few stores that were actually out of my way but had some great deals. These exhausted me and I had to take a long couponing break. Luckily, we had a great stockpile to last us while I took my break and our budget didn’t suffer. Once I got back into the groove, I became super selective with who I gave my shopping time to. I only frequent one of the 3 main drugstore chains in my area now, and out of the 4 grocery stores, I have my main store and another secondary store that tends to have great “cherry picker” deals. I may go back to visiting more stores, but like I said the laziness overcomes and right now, I don’t have time for all of that. I also like keeping my sanity.

Now how about you all? Do you have a “gung-ho” outlook towards coupon shopping, or do you make it as simple(and lazy) as possible? New couponers: do you have any questions about couponing that you’d like addressed? Veteran couponers: have any tips to share to help newbies not get overwhelmed?

If you liked this post, check out: OutSaving the Joneses

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

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  1. 4.14.11
    Sheri said:

    HA HA glad to see I am not the only lazy couponer 😀

  2. 4.14.11
    Alex M said:

    It is much easier for us because there are just us two adults. We go through a lot less toothpaste, shampoo, etc. So I found that I created a sufficient stockpile pretty quickly. I do think it is going to get harder to find deals if the extreme couponing covered in the media persists.

    I am enjoying the current coupon/deal hiatus I am on, but it is soooo hard not to do it!

  3. 4.14.11
    JennysMom said:

    Well, here’s a tip I use that works the best for me since I’m into natural/organic (and the Sunday paper doesn’t have many in that category): I call the manufacturer’s directly. You can usually find a 1-800# on the product.

    The best news is that by calling the comment line, and being enthusiastic, they not only usually send you coupons with higher values but no exp. dates. That way you can save them and only use them when the price hits rock-bottom.

    Also, get to know the store manager and dept. managers. I can’t count how many favors they’ve done for me over the last four years of “grocery hounding”.

  4. 4.14.11

    I am still learning, when it comes to coupons, but this is what I do. I started going to walgreens and cvs about two years ago and using their extra buck/register reward system to get free or very cheap items. I then found i heart cvs and switched most to cvs and will print out online coupons that match up with the sale. I would watch sales in the grocery store but was not couponing. A few weeks ago I decided to see if I could cut down my grocery bill with coupons. I found two blogs that did matchups in my area (one for each store) and started with printable coupons, I also looked up the rules for each store. Even with just that I saved another 10% off my bill. By watching sales I save about 20%. Together, even as a beginner I am really saving money.

  5. 4.14.11
    Marisa said:

    Thanks for posting this. I was wondering how you did it all 🙂 I’m fairly new to all of this but I’ve never seen double couponing in WA state. And groceries here are expensive for sure.

    Our Sunday paper is even more pricey ($2.00)

  6. 4.16.11
    shamonp said:

    Thanx for posting this Amiyrah. It makes me feel better as a begginner. I’m a self professed lazy bug. When I first saw your blog, I was like, oh boy another Atype. I mean Wife, mom, military woman, come on how do you have time for all of this. I doing good to just drive my son(14) to school in the morning, take care of my toddler daughter, & keep the home from overflowing with junk.
    Also a military (recently retired) family.