Monday, August 23, 2010

Couponing - Weekly Schedule

A lot of people have asked me, "How much time do you spend couponing?" and "How do you do it?" People seem to want to know how I actually plan my trips and how much time it really takes me. I decided that I would do a post with my basic weekly schedule.

What Is My Weekly Schedule?

SUNDAY
Coupon at CVS (their deals start on Sundays - earlier I get there the better)
Coupon at Rite Aid (their deals start on Sundays - earlier I get there the better) (I only go to RA if there are a good amount of deals)
Coupon at Kroger (I only go to Kroger if there are a good amount of deals)
Buy Sunday paper(s) for the coupons (if there are $150 and up I get 2; if less, I get 1; on the 1st Sunday of the month, I buy 3-5 because they have a ton of coupons including P&G)
Clip and organize coupons (at the end of the month, I pull expired coupons)

MONDAY or TUESDAY
Plan my trip(s) to Harris Teeter on Southern Savers

WEDNESDAY
Coupon at Harris Teeter (their deals start on Wednesdays - earlier I get there the better)

FRIDAY OR SATURDAY
Plan my trip to CVS on Southern Savers
Plan my trip to Rite Aid on Southern Savers
Plan my trip to Kroger on Southern Savers

How Do I Plan My Trips?

I go to Southern Savers (http://southernsavers.com/) and click on the store I am looking for deals at (I generally shop at Harris Teeter and CVS, but I also do Rite Aid and Kroger if there are enough deals to warrant the drive).

They have a checklist maker and I just quickly click the deals I am interested in and print the list.

If there are printable coupons that I need for the deals (only if I absolutely want them/they are a great deal), I print and clip those.

I go through my binder and find the coupons I need for the deals.

I put it all together in the ziploc bag for that store.

I go to the store and get my deals.

How Long Does It Take?

I would say that clipping and organizing coupons, looking up the deals, printing the IP coupons, pulling the coupons, and organizing my baggies takes no more than 3 hours a week (if that even). I have gotten pretty efficient.

At first it seemed like it took me a lot of time since I was learning all the stores policies, looking for every deal, going to every store, and didn't quite know what I was doing.

Now I can clip the coupons I know I want (I don't clip them all anymore) in 15 minutes probably (more if I get multiple papers). Same with finding the deals. I only get the ones I need/want/are rock bottom deals, so I don't spend as much time on that part. I do all of this during downtime (like when I am watching TV at night).

I also zip into and out of the stores really quickly. I know the lay of the land at each store, go through my list, get my stuff, and check out. Unless there is a coupon problem, or I have to think on my feet, it takes just a few minutes to get my deals. I would say I shop faster now than I did before since I only go in and get what I want, I don't dilly-dally and look at all the deals. I can't imagine walking aimlessly around with my giant coupon binder doing the math in the store. That would be nuts for me (and very impractical since I usually take Luke with me). I would say I spend an hour or two (at the most) at the store each week (including getting my fresh stuff each week).

So I spend no more than a total of 5 hours (probably a huge overestimate) planning and shopping. I probably spent at least 1-2 hours before. The way I look at it is, I have cut my grocery budget from $600 or more to $450 or less and I get at least twice as much for that amount (including lean meats, fresh produce, milk, and bread each week). TOTALLY WORTH MY TIME! :)

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