When most people think of people who coupon, they usually think: crazy, a waste of time, and why work so hard to save a dollar? And naturally, for the most part, they are right. What is it that makes people pursue couponing? Why do they do it? How does it even help? How much time do they really spend? All these questions have entered my mind before I got started. Then when I really started looking into it I couldn't believe how easy it really was. As far as the time? That is left completely up to me.
WHAT MAKES PEOPLE DO IT?
As most of us have seen, if not experienced, this bad economy is taking it's toll. For Stay-At-Home-Moms, its another way to make every hard earned dollar stretch just as much as using less than the recommended amount of laundry detergent can (I'm guilty here). Of course, we have Single Parents who really have to give their budget their all so every coupon used really helps. Then again, you have your Shop-A-Holics who enjoy shopping and get a rush from the deals they score (I once had a manager from Walgreens tell me he had a lady clearing their shelves when she found deals that gave her free products. This lady's hubby was a CEO of a bank and she had a high paying job herself.... ). What ever your reason, you're looking into couponing now, so let the adventure begin.
HOW DOES IT EVEN HELP?
This is a big question. It does help if you do it right. Yah, you can grab a coupon here and one there and save a few bucks. You might be proud of yourself at the time and decide later on it wasn't really that great. But the key to couponing is getting great deals. This means you save every coupon (even if you don't need that item at the time). Then you wait until it goes on sale or promotional offer and BOOM there's your great deal. If an item that is regularly priced for $5 goes on sale for $3 and you happened to have saved a coupon for $1.50 off... well, my friend, thats a great deal. In this case you saved 70% on that item. Sounds good doesn't it? Find these good deals and you can easily be on your way to great savings.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE? By Rachel
There are women out there that live and breath couponing. Their day consists of eyeing ad after ad with a binder in one hand and scissors in the other (I do recommend a binder. No clerk likes an unorganized couponer). These women can find great deals and get most things for little-to-no cost. If you have this much time to put into it; then more power to you. Of course, there are also women who read the ads, find the deals, cut their coupons and then make their list accordingly. They also find great deals, but they make couponing fit into their schedule. With kids, this is a good way to go. If you can put in an hour or two a week, you can still see the benefits. What's great about couponing is you can make it work for you!
If you walk away with anything from this, keep in mind, everything about couponing is your choice. You create the experience to be what you want it to be. Do you want to stretch your dollars? Make it a full time hobby? Or, get the rush from getting great deals? It all lies in your hands. The best start is to get a binder with picture page inserts for good organization, get reward cards, buy your Sunday paper, find great sites online, and follow blogs that lay out great deals (makes it less work for you. I am a huge fan of doing this). Now, take a deep breathe, close your eyes, and tell yourself "This is going to be great!" Enjoy the ride life gives you and the adventures you can create.