Clip It Or Skip: Is Couponing Really Worth The Time?

Woman holding Coupons

Remember being fascinated by the hundreds of coupons used and thousands of dollars saved on TLC's Extreme Couponing? That show did a great job highlighting super savvy shoppers; but in today's world where time is money, is couponing really worth it? The answer is yes, if you do it the right way.

Extreme couponing to the extent of those featured on TLC's show is indeed a waste of time for most people.

There is both a monetary loss and opportunity cost of time when it comes to couponing to that degree. Finding coupons online is costly when you consider the price of the paper and ink used to print them. And if you plan to shop at multiple stores for the best deals, you have to factor in how much you spend in fuel. Extreme couponing is also not worth it if you're losing sleep and precious time with your family. All in all, if couponing is costing you more than you're actually saving then skip it, don't clip it.

However, there is a right way to coupon that won't pull your hair out.

In reality, couponing should take you less than one hour per week and no more than 10 hours per month. Research reliable coupon sites such as The Krazy Coupon Lady or Coupon Mom; these sites give you all of the best weekly deals at different stores. You can also sign up for free store membership cards that will give you great discounts on items and fuel, as well as a plethora of coupons in the mail (i.e. Kroger Plus Cards or Meijer's mPerks).

When shopping, make sure to take coupons with you when you buy items you will actually use.

For example, there's no reason to save a few bucks on hundreds of boxes of medicine when you might not have the storage for it. Those items will probably expire, leading you to eventually throw your hard-earned money away.

Let's break it down

In one week, if you spend less than one hour couponing and visit one brick and mortar store for your items, you can save $25 on your bill. If you invest 10 hours per month on coupon sites and hit two brick and mortar stores with deals per week, you can reduce your household budget of $200 per month.

So our recommendation would be to clip it, but only if it's done the right way.

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