When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, paper coupons are still king of the cash register. Research shows that 70% of coupons redeemed by Americans are from the pages that fall out of the newspaper.
Even in an age where smartphones are more ubiquitous than ever, clipped coupons are being used eight times more than digital coupons.
But is the tedious and meticulous process of cutting coupons really worth it? It seems like you either have to spend all of your waking hours finding how to save 75 cents off your favorite brand of toothpaste or sacrifice your entire paycheck at the supermarket.
How can you make couponing work without sacrificing too much of your time?
If you love to read the news every day, then it’s absolutely worth giving coupons a try. The newspaper arrives right on your doorstep, saving you the time of having to go out in search of savings.
Think of the coupon section as another part of your daily news routine. Newspapers offer access to stories without as much of the clutter that comes your way when visiting various sites online.
And instead of popup advertisements that you have to frustratingly click away, manufacturers advertise their products with an added savings bonus, all tucked away in one neat section of the paper.
After you’ve read the news stories, flip to the coupon section and start keeping track of your time. Clip coupons that apply to you; focus on items that you normally buy anyway. If you find a significant deal, like perhaps $2 off your laundry detergent of choice, clip away! Remember, some stores will double manufacturer coupons at checkout.
Factor all the time you’ve spent clipping, sorting, and driving to multiple markets. Then divide the money you’ve saved by the hours spent. Let’s say you’ve saved $45 couponing and shopping, and it took you three hours altogether. That means you’ve “earned” $15 an hour for your time!
When it comes to using coupons, you don’t have to go to one extreme or the other. The morning paper is a great source for both news and grocery savings. Simply take some extra time after reading the news to check on deals that are relevant to you.
Remember to focus on items that you normally buy anyway, and there’s no need to get carried away and become an “extreme couponer” in order to save big money.