Developing a coupon routine has really made a huge difference in how successful I have been with coupon-ing. Coupon clipping and bargin hunting can take a lot of time and effort but over the past year I have tweaked and perfected my coupon routine.
My coupon routine starts on Saturday. Saturday is when my two favorite coupon sites, the Krazy Coupon Lady and Southern Savers release their match-ups for Target, CVS, and Walgreens. First I look at the stockpile items offered for the week and print/find the coupons to match. Then I look at the ads in a more general sense to help plan my menu and to decide which store has the best price on the items that I need for the week (ex: we’re out of Cling wrap and while it is not a rock-bottom price at Walgreens it is on sale for a fairly decent price).
I then place 5 scraps of paper in front of me and make my 4 lists: Target, CVS, Walgreens, Grocery. I put those lists along with the coupons I will need in a corresponding envelope for that store. The last scrap of paper is for notes on which coupons to grab from the next day’s paper before I start out.
When I first started coupon-ing I went to the closet stores whenever it was convenient for me during my week. This didn’t work very well because if I got to the store on Wednesday all of the items I was looking for were sold out. I decided not only to change the day and time when I started coupon-ing but also the location.
We live very close to a state university. I found out that by shopping near the university most of the sale items were in stock. I imagine this is because college students are not out at Walgreens at 12:05 am on a Saturday night trying to score deals. I found a Walgreens and a CVS that were not open 24 hours. This new route also allowed for me to make a circle of stores instead of going in all different directions. And this new route was only 3 minutes further than my “convenient” route.
I start at Walgreens at 7:30 am. I am usually the first person in the store that day. There is usually a young man as the only cashier who is my buddy. We chat and sometimes he’ll go grab some of the items I check out with for himself! I also grab my 2nd paper at Walgreens (our newspaper will only deliver one copy to our home). After Walgreens I head to Target, then CVS, and then I finally finish my coupon morning at Aldi’s.
Aldi’s is grocery store chain that offers a “no frills” grocery shopping experience that allows the company to offer groceries for a very low price. You need to bring your own bags, bag your own groceries, and rent a shopping cart for a quarter. There are also not as many choices as a traditional grocery store and they do not offer services such as a bakery, deli, or pharmacy. Aldi’s does not accept coupons but I find that their prices are lower than other grocery store chains so I try to get most of my non-stockpile items here.
I take my grocery list to Aldi’s and cross off as many items as possible. Then I head home to show the family all of my loot and brag about my savings! Whatever items I did not get today that I really need for the week I will grab later at Publix, the grocery store closest to my home.
Later in the day on Sunday I discard all of my expired coupons from my coupon binder and clip and place the new coupons from that day’s paper.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I keep my eyes open for fellow couponers posting deals on coupon sites for Target and Walgreens. Also on Wednesday I make a list for stockpile deals that will be at Publix (Publix starts their deals on Thursdays). On Thursday before I have to pick up L from my mother-in-laws I go to Publix and to Target (if there have been enough new deals) to pick up stockpiling items and whatever items we discovered that we need since my Sunday trip (mainly milk and produce).
I’ll admit that it at first it wasn’t easy to give up such a big chunk of my weekend time but now I’m so glad I did and have made it part of my weekly routine. If L is up by 7:30 on Sundays I take her and IbDad with me but it’s kind of nice when she is not. My shopping usually takes less than 2 hours but it’s alone time none the less! I crank my car stereo up loud, take my time in the stores, and sometimes stop for a Starbucks.
Try changing up your routine when coupon-ing gets boring or becomes a dreaded chore. It may be just the change you need!