Shortly after showing up here in Phoenix just over one year ago, I signed up for the Sunday newspaper. For $52, I got a year’s worth of Sunday ads. Not a bad deal, right?
At first, it was great. I couponed up a storm. I even got a binder and little plastic holders for the coupons. But it was taking me 1-2 hours a week just to cut, sort and file. Oh, and clear out expired coupons. That’s not a ton of time, but, as a natural-born procrastinator, it mattered more and more.
Then all the overtime hit, and I took a hiatus from coupons. It was the sane thing to do. (And yet I did it!) But getting back on the coupon wagon is a lot harder than it seems.
To be exact, I now have 5 weeks’ of coupons sitting on my desk: untouched and neglected. I was going to start filing them and using Coupon Mom to figure out which ones to use. But I needed to get a bin and some file folders and… Did I mention I’m a procrastinator? (Or did I put off telling you?)
The result is pretty obvious: As the pile grows larger, so too does my annoyance/guilt/stress level. And I have enough to worry about as it is. I certainly don’t need to be wasting energy on that crap.
So, new strategy: Dump the paper.
First of all, it’ll be good for our clutter levels. I’m always shocked by how much space a Sunday paper takes up, once I’ve rooted through it for ads and circulars. We also get the Wednesday paper for free, but the circulars come in our mailbox, too. That adds up to a lot of paper each week.
There’s also the environmental impact. I’m not hugely green — mainly due to constraints from fatigue. Okay, and some laziness thrown in, too. But I grew up recycling cans and papers. So to toss two papers a week into the trash is a ritual in guilt. I have looked around for newspaper drop boxes, but haven’t seen any. So there’s not much of an end in site for that waste, unless I cancel the paper.
The savings will be nice, too. The current deal of $1/week is set to expire soon, at which point the price will go back to $2.50. That’s an awful lot to pay for clutter, guilt and waste.
All this isn’t to say that I’m quitting coupons. I love savings — especially since the stores double coupons, or even round them up to $1.
Instead, I’m just altering my routine a bit. When I do use coupons, I usually end up buying some online anyway. That allows me to stock up on a particularly good deal. There are coupon clipping sites, of course, but I prefer buying coupons on eBay.
On the auction site, there’s no minimum purchase amount, plus you get 3% back from eBay purchases when I shop through Mr. Rebates. Sure, that’s probably no more than $5 a year, but every little bit helps.
But it’s not just saving money: You can make money using coupons.
Most of us know and love Coupons.com, and in the past I’ve encouraged you guys to print through MyPoints, which offers 10 points/redeemed coupon. Not a bad deal, for sure. But Inbox Dollars has upped the ante. It offers 10 cents per redeemed coupon.
So my plan is to start perusing the food circulars each week, make a list of good sales, then check on Coupon Mom or do eBay searches to see whether there are any corresponding coupons. I’ll be saving time and energy, plus cutting down on stress. That’s quite an incentive to call and cancel delivery.
I’d be interested to hear what your guys’ coupon regimens are. Do you have a full subscription or just Sundays? Do you buy coupons online?