Hank asked that I share a little about how my wife and I have saved over $4,000 since we started couponing two years ago. I was happy to do it and thought, what better format than a question and answer segment!
For most of you, this may be our first time meeting, so here’s a little info about me:
Tim writes at Faith and Finance and has recently released the eBook How To Coupon. He enjoys playing the saxophone, reading about finance, and watching movies with his wife. He’s giving away 500 free copies of our eBook How To Coupon, so make sure you head over to his blog soon!
How did you start couponing?
About two years ago we saw a show on TV that featured some extreme couponers. The idea was interesting, but I made all sorts of excuses why couponing was a waste of time. A few months later, my wife and I started to pay more attention to how much we were spending on toiletries like deodorant, shampoo, and makeup, and decided that we needed to make some cuts.
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Instead of trimming items out of our budget, we set a dollar amount of what we wanted to spend each month. My wife actually spearheaded the idea of couponing, so with her creativity, we were able to continue buying even more of the products we needed while staying within the budgeted amount each month.
Is it worth your time?
We get this question a lot, especially since my wife is in medical school and free time is a scarce commodity. We probably spend 2-3 hours a week clipping coupons and finding deals. My wife actually does most of the planning and finds the deals – I’m usually the helping hand when she’s cutting the coupons. For her, it’s a fun hobby and it gives her a break from studying. She enjoys shopping, so she loves the challenge to come home with three or four bags that cost her less than $10. On average, she’ll bring home $80 of products a week for $10-$15.
How do you find the deals?
She uses a few blogs to help keep the deals coming. Her favorites are The Krazy Coupon Lady and I Heart Wags. There are all sorts of coupon blogs that give the ‘insider’ knowledge on the upcoming deals, so you just need to subscribe via email and keep an eye out for products that you use.
How do you keep organized?
It’s really not that complicated. Each week, we purchase 2 – 4 newspapers (and yes, we consider the cost of the papers when calculating our coupon deals) and go through the inserts to clip out relevant coupons.
We put them into baseball card sleeves in a binder organized by category. When we get an email for a deal that we want (like a deal on shampoo), we’ll check to see if we have the coupons and add it to our list. We try not to make too many special trips to the store (primarily Walgreens), so having a quick reference list makes it easy to grab a few items while we’re already out.
What was your best deal?
I’m sure my wife would list out a few favorites like free makeup, nail polish, and toothbrushes. My favorite deals are when we can get razors for dirt cheap or free. I never used fancy razors because I was always so cheap. When we started couponing, we realized that you can get the $10 5-blade razors for $1-2 and sometimes cheaper than that. Razors alone have saved us hundreds of dollars, so I’d probably put that near the top of our list.