Who doesn’t love coupons, especially the really good ones that save you a ton of money… or better yet the ones that get you freebies. But where you draw the line at how much your time is worth? This is something I often struggle with myself. Hopefully today’s guest post will shed some insight.
DO I PRINT & CLIP OR NOT?
I don’t know about you, but I get access to hundreds of printable coupons every day. I use to print almost all of them. Then I found out I was tossing more coupons than I used.
The debate in my mind is if you don’t print now who is to say it will be available to print later when the deal comes up? When it comes to printing it is a personal time management choice. How much time do you really have to print twice, pull them off the printer, cut, and file? Not to mention if you have problems printing, like I do most of the time.
First, let’s step back and take a look at what you are trying to accomplish. We have three general strategies in the FrugalFairhope household about grocery shopping:
1) We only buy what we need or will use.
2) We only buy what we can give away for a good cause.
3) We only buy what we can get for absolutely free (no RRs or ECBs).
By using these strategies it helps me avoid the shopper’s fever and buying too much. Just because dog food is on sale for $0.10, do I really need to stock up on dog food when we don’t have a dog? Yes, I could give it to the Humane Society, but wouldn’t my time and money be better spent by volunteering to walk a dog a couple times a month, donating used towels, sheets, or blankets, or even writing them a check for a donation? Could I also send that coupon to the military families overseas?
In fact, our animal shelters in Fairhope would prefer to have money or volunteer work in lien of food. I think they try to keep all the animals on the same diet? As you know mixing brands of food could be upsetting to a dog or cat’s stomach. I know this example is a little extreme, but think about it. We have all done it, bought something we didn’t use.
I am committed to our family using everything we buy for the stockpile or on sale. Throwing away a grocery stockpile item is not only wasteful, but that item that cost time, money, and storage room was not a successful deal. It was not a bargain, and we avoid this at all costs.
Another debate that I have is the last strategy. Do I waste my precious time printing or clipping a coupon that I may never need as a freebie?
For printed coupons, I only print items that fit in the first strategy. I take the risk and hope that the coupon will be around when I need it. If not, it was not meant to be. Such is life.
Still following the first two guidelines, I do however save most if not all the Sunday coupons. How do I organize them? I don’t clip it, I save the page and store it in my Only in Case of Free (OCF) file, or if I have to clip the coupon (already have the page cut into pieces), I place it in a small index box that I keep with my other coupons. These OCF coupons are filed by company name (for example Glade goes under “G”, Suave lotion would be filed under “S”). We wouldn’t have a use for scented products or lotions in our house but if it was a true freebie, we can sell it on eBay or give it away in a gift bag at Christmas.
To learn more about how we do things in Fairhope, check out my site at www.FrugalFairhope.com.