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How much do you SPEND to SAVE?

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Don’t you think that this is an interesting question? Based on the emails that I have received recently and in the past, I know that many of you ponder this question as well… how much do we all spend (both in dollar amounts and time) in order to save? Check out this email from reader, Liz…

How much per year or per week do couponers typically spend on supplies (newspapers, coupon clipping services, ink, paper, etc.)? I religiously tracked my expenses over 2010 and found that I spent $470 on newspapers, ink, paper, a binder, baseball card sleeves, etc. On a weekly basis, I was purchasing between 4-7 papers at a price of $1-$1.25 each and I print coupons from 4 different home based computers. Now granted, I saved nearly $10,000 in groceries and health/beauty; and the rebates that I submitted over 2010 nearly matched my spend on “couponing supplies” etc.. But I’d like to reduce the expenses wherever I can and just want to get an idea as to how much others “spend” to “save.”

So, that is where all of you come into play! How much do you spend each week, month, and/or year getting organized and prepared to save? What are your expenses when it comes to saving (i.e. printer ink, paper, gas to drive to the store etc.)? How do you cut down on these expenses? Any tips are greatly appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

Join The Discussion

Comments 396

  1. Jenny

    costco photo lab refills ink and it’s cheap! i got a color and b/w refill for $17.

  2. Vickie Jones

    We have a basic HP Laserjet printer, black and white only. WIth my husband a teacher, DS and I both in college, and church stuff we do, we might go through a $60 cartridge once every 12-14 months, I consider that awesome.

    I get my reams of paper when they are on sale or for rebate making them $1.00 each if not free.

    I do print on the back of stuff when I can.

    if I need color printing, I either ask my neihbor, or pay .40 a sheet to get it at Office Max/Depot. Frankly with the exception of my son’s science fair graphs last year I have not needed it, that cost us $2.00

    I try and set my trips up in a route, rarely will I go out for just one deal, I need to be out and about for other reasons and the stop needs to be on my way. I have missed a few things by doing this, but I’ve saved tons of time and money

  3. Rachel

    I am a single mom and a full time college student so i print my coupons off at the college for free! Last year was the first year that i really went into couponing, before that I used the coupons on items that were full priced.

    I also do my best to get what i need and not just print coupons because the item is on sale. I did that when i first started couponing and had a pile of stuff i never did use, so i donated the items, and realized that i could have save money if i calmed down that impulse to go out to the store every time there was a deal going on.

    • Megan Passey

      I do that too! I love it because if you want more than two of each coupon you can just move to the next computer!

  4. Shannon

    Im a college student and dont spend any money on newspapers. I buy generic ink on ebay or amazon around $8 with shipping and I’ve only had to refill the ink twice. I get RP insert weekly and other inserts from family members. Paper I buy with rebates or on sale, so I spend less than $20 a year. Rite Aid and Walgreens are both within walking distance!

    • grace

      love me some ink from ebay! my hp black cartridges are $15 now at walmart, i pay $5/each shipped on ebay!

      • heather stokes

        wow that is great will have to check that out

      • leslie

        so do you get them through ebay or walmart?

    • Cindy

      I can add my vote for ink found on eBay. I can get one of each colored cartridge for my HP printer, and a black ink refill for less than $15.00, shipped! Surely it will depend on the type of printer you have, but I’ve found no where cheaper for my printer. When you get to eBay just type in your specific make of printer and your options will pop up.

  5. Donna

    I asked my newspaper delivery guy if he could bring me his extra inserts each week. And he does! Some weeks it’s only 3 extra, and other weeks it’s been close to 10! I’d say it averages 5 or 6. I tip him $20 every 6 weeks (on top of my regular newspaper delivery tip.) He’s been doing it for close to a year now, so I guess he’s happy with the amount I give him. So – that turns out to about $3.33 a week for extra papers. In the DC area, a Sunday paper is $2 – so a pretty good deal I think!

    • Amber

      Never thought about that! How smart!

    • Anonymous

      I occasionally get the washington post double pack (2 papers in the white bag) for $3. Just an idea in case you need more 1 week.

  6. Leah

    I spend about $35 a month on papers and a clipping site for when I want 10-20 of a certain coupon and I save $800-$900 a month! But I have to say if i lived near a recycling center I would totally dumpster dive!! I started to coupon in March of last year and I kept ALL my receipts so I could see at the end of the year how much I saved. The total amount saved was $6,445.32!! Not bad for my first year!

    • Joleen

      I LOVE to dumpster dive for coupons! We live across from the school and they have 4 paper dumpsters. I go over there all the time and usually come home with several coupon inserts!!

  7. Sangeetha

    I buy only one Sunday paper. I might not have a big stock pile like most of the couponers…but I do have more than enough for me and my husband!

    • Mindy

      Sangeetha, you have the exact right attitude! You do what works for your family. I love it! That is the beauty of couponing, it can be anything you want/need it to be. Any savings is still a savings. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Suzanne Moore Fisher

      I think this is so wise. I appreciated Collins New Year post of not just buying to buy. I used to purchase tons, and saved tons. Now I purchase only the best deals and am discriminating about which deal i will actually use.

  8. SummerHardey

    Collin, Keep your eyes peeled for a great newspaper subscription offer. I was buying my local (LA Times) for $1.50 an issue at 7/11 every week, then around Christmas time I saw an insert that was offering an anual subscription for just $10/ just .20 a week! So I called and signed up for 2 copies per week. If you don’t ever see an offer, call the newspaper and ask if they have any specials. This will save you a GOOD amount of $$$$!!!

    • Amber

      I couldn’t agree more. I get the Chicago Tribune delivered for a quarter/week (Sunday only). It’s $1 for the Sunday paper at most places here and now they aren’t including the coupons.

      • ella

        Where did you find the special for $.25 for the Chicago Tribune?? The best I found was $.99 for the sunday paper.

        • Judy S.

          I read on 25 cents Sunday only for the Chicago Tribune. The code is X133 when you call 1-800-TRIBUNE.

    • Anonymous

      Sooooooo agree. Just signed up for the washington post for 0.77/issue delievered for 26 weeks. Then I’ll just cancel b/c it will go up to the normal rate after that.

  9. James

    Shhh, its a secret, I use my printer at work and then print again at home. Hey no Christmas bonus, no work. I also am lucky that I have Shoprite on my way to work and Rite Aid/Walgreens/CVS within 2 blocks of my home to walk to.

    • Natalie

      I sure hope my employees aren’t doing this.

      • Amber

        Do you give them a Christmas bonus? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Anonymous

        Your kids probably aren’t doing that Natalie…

      • Jessica

        I would say most employees do this type of thing. I had a talk with a co-worker for printing hundreds of fliers for his side business on our work copier. I didn’t agree with that.

    • Lisa

      I print coupons at work, too. But it’s only the REALLY good ones, for example, the Pull Ups coupon. I have twins in Pull Ups and another in diapers. It really helps out, esp since pull ups Qs are so rare. I did get permission, though, even though I am one of the managers ๐Ÿ™‚

      • fairydust

        I would like to be able to print at work (not to an abusive level but just a few extra of the REALLY good coupons that come up sometimes), but we’re not allowed access to download anything, so I can’t install the little coupon-printing programs that are required for most of the coupon sites. The only coupons I can get to print here at work are smartsource, because we have Java on our computers. All the Bricks and and Target coupons are off limits ๐Ÿ™ But that’s probably just as well – LOL!

  10. Ashley M

    Including absolutely everything…. around $700 to $750…. wow that’s a LOT per year to save money!!

  11. Julie

    I’ve started printing coupons on draft mode. It saves on ink. Also, I stock up on paper during the back to school sales when it is free or close to it.

    • Kathy

      I do the same thing! Printing on draft mode and printing on the back of paper that only have one coupon printed on it saves a lot of money and ink! We have a Kodak printer and the ink for Kodak printers is so much cheaper then other printers and it last a lot longer too!

  12. cassie

    I honestly do not track it. Never thought to. I know I buy 6 papers every week at 1$ each. I think I am going to make a spreadsheet tonight and start keeping track of everything so I can see exactly what I save.

    The big thing for me is to not buy things I don’t need. In the beginning, I would go after all the free deals, whether I truly needed it or not. Now I am gaining some perspective and unless I truly need it, then I don’t buy it. Of course, there are some exceptions where it is a really really big moneymaker AND it is an item that is in need to be donated.

  13. Melanie

    I need to keep track of my TIME more than my money. Do I really need to check this site 4 times a day???? – NO – but I do! I don’t run out to the store to get the latest deal since gas here is $3.19. If Rite Aid is out of stock, they write a rain check for the sale price – the UP so sometimes that’s better than being stuck with more UP’s you have to use or sometimes a better coupon could come along while you still have the rain check.

    • Amber


    • Megan K

      Oh I wish I only checked this site 4 times a day! Seriously, this is terrible, but I am on here constantly! I ed an intervention!

      • MommySpendsLess

        Me too! And I find myself reading all the comments… not just the “does the deal really work the way it should” first 6 comments…sometimes all of them…word for word. I think it’s because I haven’t had a chance to go to the library lately.

  14. Diane

    We get two different papers as one of them no longer has Red Plum, this way we get at least one copy.
    My MIL gives me her coupons when she’s done, but sometimes it can be months until I get them from her.
    I don’t go after every deal anymore. It wasn’t bad when I was at home, but now that I’m back to work I don’t have the time.
    I also took into account my stockpiles and made a list of items that I don’t currently need. I figured why keep getting them when I know there will be more deals when my stockpiles get low again.

  15. Xenia

    Thanx for posting this, Collin.

    I have to admit when I started using coupons, I was after each great deal, no matter if I needed the stuff or not :D. Not anymore ๐Ÿ™‚

    IMPO there are both pros (75% off our monthly expenses? yeah, I ll take it :D, I also have LOOOOTS of fun doing it) and cons (requires lots of time, and I did GAIN wait ๐Ÿ™ due to all the great deals on boxed food). However, when I start comparing them, i think you cant argue it IS worth it even with the ‘extra’ exp. it generates.

    Here is how I deal with these:
    1. First of all, I drive a Hybrid, so I barely feel the increase in gas
    2. I stock up on office paper whenever it is free at office supplies stores
    3. I get stuff i know I wont use ONLY when it’s a MM or I need to roll my ECB/RR (talk 2 local wags or cvs manager, they usually allow you to use the expired ones anyways)
    4. Try to get a refill kits for yr inkjet printer (I bought from amazon for $30 in june and its still gonna last me several months). It is PIA, and Q is not that great, but who cares if u use it for coupons?
    5. I always get 2 papers (or 4 in case i know there are awesome coupons that week). Have you noticed that the sales often run for 2 items? so whats the point of getting 3 papers? ๐Ÿ™‚
    6. I am still trying to figure out how to save on stamps for rebates lol. And my concern for now is how to quit smoking and reduce our monthly exp of $300 (my hubby and I both smoke – ouch), so I’ld worry about this issue rather than how much more I spend on gas or paper ๐Ÿ™‚

    my 2 cents

    • kathleen

      Just some hints for the stop smoking. My husband was a 2 pack a day and I was a pack every 3 days up until a year and a half ago. My husband has tried chantix (spelling?) and just about anything you can think of to quite over the last 7 years. what finally worked was using the patch (he and I both feel the name brand works better than generic, but they may just be us) for over two months, along with using commit losengers (we like cherry, not mint and do not like the gum) to suck on a little here and there when the urge to smoke comes on, or the routine of sticking something in your mouth is getting to you. 1 losenger will last about 30 minutes, so to suck on it for 10 minutes and place in a baggy and so on till it’s gone, helped through the little moments. after 2 months my husband continued to use the losengers for another month here and there as needed. Just doing the patch or losengers didn’t work, but doing both did. He used the 4mg of both the first 3 weeks, then 4mg patch and 2mg losengers for 1 week, then 2 mg patches and 2 mg losengers for another month. Don’t know if that helps.

    • Couponing4myTacoma

      I’ll say this. About 12-13 years ago Michigan increased the tax on smokes here by about 60-70 cents a pack. After the new prices, I (a high schooler at the time…) added up how much my parents were spending in smokes for the year – a pack a day each – and showed them a number. $4500-$5000 in after tax money. $4500 in free and clear money.

      Literally, they quit a week later cold turkey. AND they make good money but still couldn’t imagine paying that much out of something so bad for you. LOL

  16. Cassie

    I was a teacher before becoming a stay at home mom and I kept tons of recycle paper from quizzes and such. I print coupons on the backs of that old paper so that I never have to use ‘good’ paper on coupons. Its pretty funny when I get to the checkout only to notice that I printed on the back of an anatomy quiz and there are body parts on the other side of my coupon! Also, I trim the paper so that I don’t print any ads that just eat up my ink. And I’m going to invest in a laser printer when I get enough rewards money from recycling ink cartridges. There are so many rewards programs that help me save. MyCokeRewards has helped a lot with Snapfish expenses. There were also good gift cards on there before Christmas that I gave as gifts. My whole family saves their coke points for me (sadly soda is a family-wide addiction!) and most of them send me their coupons so I never buy a paper anymore. We moved to a new town and the newspaper is expensive so when I need a certain coupon in multiples I just use a clipping service. Much better to pay a few cents for a coupon than to have to buy a whole paper.

    • Josie

      I am a teacher, as well. I go in the room where the aides so the copying and look in the trash for copies printed on only one side. I don’t ever print coupons at work, but when I print at home, I try to estimate when the coupon has printed, and then I cancel the printing so I don’t have to print out the ads. Sometimes this doesn’t work, such as when the ad prints first. I also make the coupons smaller (around 80%) by going up to “File” and adjusting the size of the printing.

      • Megan Passey

        I print my coupons using the draft method. Do you think if I reduce the size of the coupon and use draft printing that the coupon might beep?

  17. Cassidy

    I love Smiths digital coupons that you can load on your fresh values cards.

  18. Hilda

    We have curbside recycling where I live so sometimes I take an early morning walk on recycling day and I pick up extra coupons that way. I don’t stop and dig too much, I look for a bin where the newspapers look clean and orderly, sometimes they’re completely intact with the coupons untouched! Since I’m only buying for 2 people, there would have to be several really high-value coupons in the paper for me to justify buying an extra one.

    • Cindy

      I do the same thing!

    • fairydust

      That’s a really good idea – I may consider trying that when the weather improves a bit. Thanks!

  19. Romi

    Hi everyone! I haven’t read all the comments so my apologies if someone has suggested this already. There is a website called that sells refurbished ink for quite inexpensive. I have a EPSON workforce 600 all in one printer and its quite expensive on ink but through simplyink, they are almost 75% cheaper. I also recycle my paper. I am a student and throughout the year, I submit many papers and projects. At the end of the semester, I just take the papers and reuse for my coupons. That helps alot. I also plan on going to the corner stores around my neighborhood and to my neighbors to ask them for coupon inserts if they don’t need it. We are lucky enough to get inserts in the mail for free and I am certain that more than half the neighborhood throws them away so this will help me score 5-10 inserts for free! I also subscribe to our Sunday which costs me about 39 bucks a year which includes the option to have the inserts from the prior week for free! I hope this helps anyone!

  20. Erika C.

    I’m not sure exactly how much I spend, but I get my Sunday papers delivered for .30 each. As far as ink goes, we homeschool and print lots on a regular basis. I order discounted ink from 123 inkjets using Ebates and set our defaults all to use the lowest quality, so it even prints coupons that way. After reading about how high gas prices are expected to climb this year, I’ve started really making sure that a deal is worth a trip out and combining shopping trips with necessary errands. I’m also getting back to the basics of planning my meals more carefully and making more from scratch.

  21. zina

    DH does not complain!! How can he if he sees our savings account getting bigger and bigger with every paycheck! I think we are getting to spend less that 30% of our income (He works and I go to school) even with school expenses. I save way more than I spend when it comes to coupons. I don’t buy papers anymore. However, whenever there is a great deal I buy the coupons off ebay or some coupon clipping site (The cheapest). When it comes to paper, I still have more than 15 reams from a deal I did about a year ago at office max. I got the paper for free after rewards and used my rewards t buy gift cards. When it comes to ink, I buy compatible ones. They usually cost around 4.5 each including shipping and work great.

  22. Mindy

    I don’t keep track of the cost of ink because I figure we would need to buy it whether I was printing coupons or not. We probably go through one cartridge every 3-4 months and at $15 each, that isn’t too bad. I was able to snag some recycled paper from a friend who got it from work when they switched types of printers. But again, we would use it anyway, so I don’t count it as an expense even if I purchase it. I was able to get a two year subscription to the Seattle times Sunday only for $48. Normally they are $2 each, so this was huge for us. I get all of the neighbors and my MIL’s neighbors to save me inserts so I do end up with a lot of copies and only pay for one.

  23. Brittany

    i live in Hawaii, (military) so its hard to save in such a high priced area. ink is pretty expensive so we try to stock up when it is on sale, and also i print on the back of recycled paper. (older prints no longer needed at home.) naturally, i shop mainly at our commissary and px (both within 10 min walk) and they i regularly keep up on what they have on sale along with what coupons i have available. now, since were are out here, we dont always get the same coupons as you mainlanders, as well as deals. for instance, black friday there were alot of deals out there at target and i was sooo excited, even made DH go with me just to find out that what we were after was indeed not on sale. so for me, at the moment, i try hard to follow examples of all of you ladies on here and also trying to discover a few tricks on my own, but right now its all trial and error because of the price difference ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ but the way i look at it, i am doing my best for our family, and i do save between 20-40% on our grocery bill every payday ๐Ÿ˜€ so all is not in vain!! thanks sooooo much Collin for all your hard work and many ideas! i would surely be lost without you! and thanks to all the other readers for i use some of your ideas as well ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

  24. Nikki

    I would like to tell the new couponers that you are not going to see a huge savings right away so do not get discouraged! I started about a year ago and each week I would ask myself is this really worth it? And how do those people have huge stockpiles?! The answer is NOT buying everything at once! Wait for the sales, and buy only what you have coupons for. If that is only two tubes of toothpaste this sale, it’s ok! They will print the coupon again, and the sale will happen again! I am finally to the point where I have a stockpile of heath and beauty products as well as most pantry staples. If you do not have 90 boxes of cereal in your closet, you are not a bad couponer! I also feel that most people spend more because an item is cheap. I got caught up in that at the start, and wound up with things in my closet that I will NEVER use. Yes, I have donated those items, but in the long run if I had not have bought those 13 bottles of mouthwash beacuse they were .99, I would have 13.00 more dollars in the bank! If you are trying to save money the couponing IS they way to go, but always be selective an buy ONLY what you need. Printing off 100 coupons each week and only using 25 is a waste of money, time, ink, and paper!

    • Anonymous

      Well, said sister.

  25. Lindy

    I am interested in hearing more about the Kodak printer. Our printer died before we left the country for 9 months so we will be needing a new one in May. We have had several printers over the years and it’s frustrating to me because it seems like they die after less than 2 years and inevitably they die right after I have replaced the ink!! I would love to have one that would 1. LAST longer than 2 years and 2. have “inexpensive” refills that I don’t have to jump through hoops to get a good deal (Sam’s Club would be great).

    Since we didn’t have a printer before we left, I would just save the links to coupons in a file in my email labeled “to print”. The next time I went to the library I would print them out for free. Our library allows like 70 copies a week for free (anything above that you have to pay for). We have 5 people/library cards in our family so theoretically we could get 350 pages a week. We would NEVER do that!! Although my husband hosted a charity benefit concert and he was able to print off all the color copies he needed for free using our library cards (we get 10 free color copies a week per card). By printing at the library, I don’t feel like I am going out of my way, we are there once a week anyway. I don’t abuse the privledge either. Most things that need to be printed can wait till the next library trip.

    Before we left we were getting the Sunday only paper delivered. They called to see if we were interested and usually the “deal” is to get the paper everyday for the price of Sunday. But they offered us 1 year for $12. Our local paper costs $1.50 so this was a screaming deal. I will only have my paper delivered if it saves me money over buying it myself. You may want to call your local newspaper service and ask about a deal. Or put your name on their calling list and wait for the right offer.

    • Lynne

      Both my Mom and I got a Kodak printer when they first came out and hers quit working right away, they replaced it and she was never happy with it and replaced it. I used mine for just over a year and then it quit printing the black ink. I’m pretty computer savvy so I don’t think it was user error. I have been using the new lexmark that takes cheap ink and I have been really pleased at how long the cart. lasts and quality.

    • Kathy

      I’m a college student studying photography and I live at home. We have a Kodak printer and LOVE it! We usually buy our ink at Sam’s Club. Although we just read about Office Depot’s recycling program and might start shopping there if the price is better. When we first got the printer I had a huge photography portfolio due for 2 different photo classes. I printed over 75 8×10 photos on the highest quality using a lot of ink, and we still had well over 1/2 of each ink cartridge left. (and my mom is a school teacher and printed a lot of stuff for school before I printed the photos) If i had to use our old HP printer I would have gone through at elast 2 cartridges of color ink to print that. I highly recommend looking into buying one. =)

    • De

      Don’t buy a kodak printer! I am on my 3rd free replacement printer from kodak. It is not worth the time and trouble on the phone with customer service, and wondering if a coupon will or will not print. So I bought a epson 600, I have never had any problems with it.

    • Bee

      I hate my Kodak printer. I used the world’s cheapest Canon printer for years and got a little put out by the ink costs and bought the Kodak. It is nowhere near the quality of the cheap and unassuming little Canon.

      I truly wish I had made a better effort to get less expensive ink for the Canon, which I will do now and perhaps give the Kodak to my kids. It’s loud, it’s bad at picking paper and realigns itself all the time. Yes, the cartridges are less expensive per replacement, but I used to eke three or four more months worth of printing out of a Canon cartridge that said it was empty. When these are empty, they don’t allow that. They stop printing when the sensor says stop printing. I don’t feel I am saving money. Would love to chuck it.

      • Kathy

        Well I still LOVE my printer! maybe it depends on what printer you buy because we have the 3 in one that is a printer, copier, scanner. So it def wasn’t the cheapest printer by Kodak.

  26. Angela

    I had always thought I was really thrifty until I REALLY learned how to use coupons. For me, I live in the country, which I do not regret, but it takes about twenty minutes to get to the nearest stores that I like to save at. It has always been a must to have gifts on hand as I don’t like to run in to pick up just one thing. I do get my copy paper when it is free as Office Depot or Office Max and get enough to last the year. I also bought ink when Office Max was giving away i-tunes gift cards (great gifts for my sons’ teen friends) with purchase. Newspapers in our area are sketchy with not great inserts and you can purchase it and it will have NO coupons inside, so in the past few weeks I have ordered my q’s online. About the same price and I know that I am getting them! Having many items to share and give to those in need has been worth MORE than any amount of time it takes me to do it!

    • Megan Passey

      Where do you all you girls get your coupons online? Are there coupon clipping services that are better than others?

      • jill

        I’ve used with great success. I always use the cheapest shipping possible and always get them in time for the week’s deals.

        • Cathrin

          Thanks for the heads-up on I’ve used other coupon clipping services — but their websites run slower and are not near as organized — and they have a minimum purchase order (yuck!). I love that you can select directly from the inserts that would have been in Sunday’s papers. I don’t purchase any newspapers. Just once glance at the site and I was already clipping coupons. I was able to go back through the past few weeks of inserts, and just select the coupons I know I’ll use. I saved way more than I would have buying papers every week!

  27. Amanda

    I would say I spend around $250 a year to save. I buy one double Sunday paper each week that there are inserts and print coupons from two home based computers both to the same wireless laser printer. My laser printer is over a year old and I have never had to change the cartridge. They are worth buying. Even if its $80 to replace the ink if I only do it once every 18 months its totally worth it. I also recycle a lot of paper to print coupons and always watch for when staples or office depot has a free after rebate deal. Doing this I spend little to nothing on paper. I just started this year keeping track of how much I am saving. So far this month $251.05 or 65% so I would say it is money well spent ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Paula

    At the detail level, here are ways I reduce “cost” of couponing:

    Our local newspaper has “couponer deal” which is a minimum of four Sunday newspapers with equivilant number of coupon sections delivered for 50 cents per paper. For $2 a week for me, $2.50 for niece who receives 5 Sunday papers, we have lots of savings on things we use. We also swap coupons when possible. Check with your local paper to determine if they have a similar option…you might be surprised.

    Although I too recycle paper, two things come into play. First, print coupons for products you will actually use. If you don’t use the coupon, donate it or leave it on the shelf with the product as some other consumer may be delighted to save a little. I’ve even given coupons to people who are debating whether or not to purchase something. All have been happy to save a little although not certain if they use the coupon or not. Second, purchasing paper using Staples or Office Max Reward Cards reduces paper cost to very little. Granted you have out of pocket expense but the savings are worth it.

    In addition, check with your Wal-Mart for coupons they accept. Due to Hip2save previous actions, Wal-Mart is much better regarding coupon purchases. Wal-Marts in my area match any printed add price for same items and accepts all local stores coupons including doublers up to $1.00. This reduces time and wear and tear on your car as the number of locations needing to visit is reduced.

    Plan your route to minimize backtracking and out of the way locations. Think about driving costs prior to heading to that remote location for the savings. If savings is less than gas needed to get to and from the location, you’ve not saved. This helps environment as well as auto.

    Lastly, if your stockpile has more than one or two years supply of an item, quit purchasing that item. Many food items and cleaning supplies expire within two years. Paper goods may not expire but do you really need 40 years worth of TP?

    The above is not new although worth repeating as the cost of couponing discussion goes on.

  29. Laura

    My husband keeps pressing me on “is this an item that we need”? We have a very small budget for everything. He continually asks me if all the things we print on our computer are worthwhile. We purchased a box of paper at Office Depot, we spend about .7 cents a sheet, plus got 50% back in rewards. I also purchased a printer that has individual cartridges so I only buy the one that is empty. I also can purchase them where I work so I get a good deal on that too. When I print, if it is one of the Bricks coupons, I make sure I am at my printer so I can hit the cancel button before the ad fully prints. Not only does that allow me to use the bottom half ot the paper, but I also saved all the ink from printing the ads. I figure coupons use very small amounts of ink, the ad that prints below uses much more ink. I print coupons that I really think I will use. On top of that, I look for sales for most products I purchase. I like to stock up when something is on sale so hopefully by the time I need it again it’s on sale again. Generally that works out, we purchase very few things at regular price. I recently started purchasing the Sunday paper. It’s $1.25/week. I also get coupons from my mom that she doesn’t want. A while ago I got an expanding folder at Target to keep my coupons in and it keeps then easily organized so when I shop if I happen to find something on sale that I wasn’t planning on purchasing I can easily see if I have a coupon. My husband is always amazed at hpw much we save at Target. It is frequently over our purchase price.

  30. Annie

    In my town the gas stations throw out there left over newspapers so I have worked out with a few of them if I do there count and take them to may car myself (DH or DD help) they let me have them free. There are times that I may only have 10 a week but it seems in the winter I get 75-100. So my total is just gas and for printables I print them at the office.

  31. Janine

    I get 3 copies of the paper. I pay $45 a year for them. My biggest expense in coupon shopping is sales tax. Oklahoma sales tax is 8.3-8.5 to 9%. So, at least one third of my out of pocket expense each year is sales tax. It makes me really look at what I buy. If I don’t need it, I wont buy it–unless it is a money maker. I have to think really carefully about buying something “free” because free can end up costing me quite a bit! I shop once or twice a week. All of my stores are within 2 miles of one another. I make a big loop and come on home. I never go out to hit only one store as I am out in the country. Overall, my goal is to get enough things on hand so that if we ever were unemployed, we would not suffer for food and household goods. But I gotta admit, saving is also really fun!!

    • Anonymous

      I’m just wondering why 3 copies? Why not stick to an even number seeing that most sales come in even munbers or are on one item. Is there something I’m not getting, please share.

      • Susan

        I can’t speak for Janine, but I buy 3 because that is the maximum number my “main” grocery store will allow me to double or triple…the 4th+ coupon in that shopping trip will be at face value. Three seems to be a good number for me, too. If there is something that has the potential to be super duper good, I will pick up an extra paper or two…never more than six because I have to pay $2 each for the papers. If there is an awesome sale, and I’m willing to make multiple trips to the store, I will use a coupon clipping service or Ebay. In Oklahoma, she pays sales tax on the subtotaled, pre-coupon price, so she pays full sales tax and some items may not be worth it. She’s probably like the rest of us and she tweaks it when necessary.

  32. Abigail

    I do spend a TON of time (not anything near the authors of these amazing blogs) doing couponing. The cost of paper/ink/4 Sunday papers is about 20.00 a month. As for time, I have found that I need to keep myself in check or else I spend too many hours in front of the computer, getting all my coupons organized, and horrid hours shopping (luggin around 3 kids really slows me down). When I’m being an organized couponer, I have Sunday afternoon to clip and organize coupons. Then shop two-three days a week. Monday is my Rite Aid day. And Wednesday is my big Walmart pricematching with coupons day. And Saturday sometimes is my quick run to the store to buy milk/bread/eggs day. But I still struggle. Like this past week I felt like I was addicted to the computer, looking for all these sales, and then I get that “must go and buy it NOW” selfish feeling and often slack on being a mother/wife/woman…and those are important things, more important than snatching up every good deal. So I’m still undecided about whether the cost of time and money outweighs the amount of money saved. But I do know that I wouldn’t be able to attempt couponing w/out Collin’s site or THANKS!!!

  33. Lynne

    WARNING: I AM ON MY SOAPBOX…I have carefully read these comments and am concerned about the number of people who do this with company time and equipment. Does your company have a policy regarding personal use? Many do to keep virsus/malware to a minimum, you might want to read your handbook. It seems like a big risk to me to lose your job to save a few bucks. By using the ink, you are kind of stealing from your employer. Just as ink is expensive for you at home, it is expensive for your employer. By doing it on the “clock”, you are stealing time from your employer. It really doesn’t matter that others do it, it matters to you own integrity that you know you do the right thing. How do you draw the line what is acceptable? You wouldn’t go into Staples and steal an ink cartridge but you are willing to steal an ink cartridge over time from your company. I work in retail loss prevention and we have fired people for this type of activity. You might want to think about it going forward.

    • Natalie

      Thanks for this Lynne.

    • lalalalal

      A few people addressed this in their comments, that yes, their employers don’t mind.

      I print at mine, but I work at a public library. The general public is granted five free copies a day, so why would that not be the same for an employee? My boss knows I do it and doesn’t mind.

      As for cost …. I suppose, if you are going crazy with printing pages and pages of coupons. But if, like some have said, you’re just getting the “hot” ones I’m guessing the cost is fairly nominal, as many employers have inkjets with cartridges that may cost a buttload but have the capacity to print 1,000s of pages.

    • Tresa

      I’m a stay at home mom, but was also surprised at the # of ppl that print at work. I too see it as stealing unless you’ve been given permission.

    • mustanghope08

      I agree Lynne.

      • Anonymous

        I agree. My husbands work allows them to print, they have a computer room for the employees to use when on break but they don’t allow you to print anything with a picture and he’s never been able to print a coupon at work because of this. But I don’t think every company has the resources to block that so I’d be sure to get permission because it is not worth losing your job to save a few bucks.

    • Carla

      Just like anything else, at my company it is only addressed when it’s “abuse”. Printing one or two coupons a week is not abuse. There is nothing explicit in my employee code of conduct about this.

  34. Cheryl W.

    Recycle Ink catridges for points to use toward new ink. Use store coupons for dollars off ink. Get paper when rebates are for free paper. I too have paid off all CREDIT CARD DEBT. I am able to pay tuition for my son’s college (in-state) and now plan to have my home paid off in 4 years or less with alot of THANKS to this site for making me aware of how to get A LOT of products I purchase for FREE OR NEAR free prices. We should be saying we SAVE TO SPEND. For big purchases my credit card is linked to ToyRUs for gift card for Christmas shopping but be discipline and pay bill in full when it comes and my Bank Card for everyday buys also have reward points to use for gift card for Birthday, Christmas, Cash rewards etc.

  35. Laura C

    Now that I’ve been doing this for several years and am all set up, I have really gotten my costs down. In 2010, I think about $275 is directly attributable to coupon expenditure – that’s about $75 for ink/toner (efficient printers set to the most efficient settings) and I usually buy six 50cent newspapers that carry all the inserts for an after tax total of $3.15 a week. Occasionally I will skip a week of buying papers, and occasionally I will spend more on papers if the local cheap one is sold out or I need the bigger city paper for particular higher value coupons. I find extra inserts at the newspaper recycling center. I very rarely will purchase coupons from eBay for items my family really uses a lot, that was less than $20 in 2010.

  36. Julie

    Alright ladies some of you may be jealous! My husband loves to come with me and coupon. He loves seeing how much I am saving for our family. He gets a kick out of being called a transaction at Walgreens. I have only been couponing for nine months now but have found alot of ways to save on paper, ink, & the newspaper. First, the paper I get for free with the rebates at Staples, Ink I get when they have a sale and use my reward money. I get four newspapers for free from family and friends. I give them a bag full of freebies every couple of months to say thankyou. I order coupons on e-bay when I see an excellent sale and an opportunity to stock-pile (I only order coupons if I can get everything for free or close to free for each item including the cost of the coupons). Mommyspendsless has a good question on storage. How much space do you use to stockpile? I have seven regular sized tubs that is organized according to the items. This last year we have payed everything off except the mortgage. We have cash to pay for everything we need lately. Is couponing worth it? DUH!!!

    • Morganne

      That is awesome that your husband is on board too:-) Mine likes to go and get in the fun, and sometimes even makes fun of me saying “yeah, she’s gonna rob you…but with coupons!”.lol. Most of the time they just laugh, unless they aren’t coupon friendly then they look mad! Haha

  37. Joy

    Don’t know if it is this way other places or not but we have a convenience store in town where you get a free paper when you fill up with gas so I always get my gas on Sundays!

    • Anonymous

      Do you know the name of the gas station????

      • Alicia

        They do that at Kum and Go gas stations!


    I do not buy my coupons unless I order them from a coupon clipping service for a super great deal! My husband works where there are extra newspapers and he got permission to take the coupons out before they are tossed out! ๐Ÿ™‚ This saves me the cost of buying multiple newspapers on every Sunday! I also refill my ink myself which only costs me about $5-$10/year vs buying ink cartridges $25-$35 two or three times each year! (I order my ink from the same Seller off Ebay.) I also do not buy expensive printers since they only last me about 2 years since I print SO much! lol The last printer I ordered was about $35 and it came with the cartridges, that is an EXCELLENT deal! I also live 2 streets away from WAGS and only 5 min away from CVS and Kroger .. that helps with gas!

  39. Tim

    Cutting down on expenses, how I do it.

    – If there is a huge page printing under neath a coupon just simply press cancel printer job after the coupon printed off.
    – After that turn the page around and use the same page to print of another coupon (on the other side of the paper).
    – If there is only one insert in the newspaper I usually order them through eBay. Usually I pay $3 for 5 inserts. Thats $7 cheaper than what I would pay for the inserts when buying the newspapers.

    Sometimes I buy expense stuff that I don’t really need (at a very discounted price like the Prilosec deal at CVS from last week). I then sell it online for eBay making profit on it. If I don’t want to go through the hassle of selling items I’ll just donate them or give them away (about 95% of my freebies that I don’t need are donated).

  40. Angela

    I’m rather new to couponing, so I’m not sure how much I have spent in supplies. I rarely buy a paper. If there is a deal I really want, I just buy those coupons on ebay.

    I guess what is killing me, is buying other things while in the store. Example. I went to Target last night to purchase batteries (using the energizer coupon) and ended up spending $100 on clearance toys. Some of them I put away for Birthday Parties, but other items the kids begged for now.

    Sometimes I have to tell myself, to stay out of the store, so I don’t spend any money… deal or not.

    • Darcie

      i agree! I know that for me not going to the store as often is what can really help save $$.

      • Megan Passey

        I agree as well. I just read America’s Cheapest Family and they had a lot of tips to save money other than couponing. The one I’ve been trying to do is only going shopping once a month. So far it’s only been a week and half but it’s been working out.

  41. Julie

    I subscribed to a large paper for only 50 cents per week and it goes to my grandma so she can read it. She saves me those coupons as well as hers and my mom saves me hers. So I get 3 sets for 50 cents per week.

    I only print coupons for items I really need and items that I will buy that week so that I don’t go crazy just because there is a HOT coupon.

    I do buy money making items if the profit is significantly more than the tax and I know I can roll the rewards into something else on sale that week that I NEED or that my mom or grandma needs because they are my coupon suppliers:) I make regular donations to the mission.

    Also, I have bought coupons on ebay when it meant free iams cat food and free duracell batteries. When I did that I paid about 10 cents per coupon and I went and used them right away to buy two items that I really needed. If it is an item that my family needs and I can stock up on 20 for $2, I will buy the coupons from a clipping service because it is cheaper than buying lots of papers.

    I love all the savings!

  42. Julie

    I get extra newspaper inserts from gas stations. If you just ask them really late at night, most of them will just give you the inserts from their extra papers. If you go to several gas stations you can get a lot. You have to ask really nicely though ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband knows the local gas station employees and now they even save the coupon inserts for us, and he picks them up on Monday. Most gas stations either throw them out, or the newspaper people come pick them back up, but apparently they don’t have to pick up the whole paper.

  43. Michelle

    I teach at a high school, and it is crazy to see how many papers get printed or copied (mainly by students) and then left behind. The librarian saves any that are one-sided only so that I can use them to print my coupons. I never pay for paper!

  44. lau

    I no longer buy paper for print coupons. I just strictly rely on on-line coupons. I also reuse paper that I receive thru the mail to print many of my coupons ( I just flip it over and use the blank side) and lastly I bring my printer cartridges to Walgreens and get them re-filled for a little over $5 bucks (they had a special going on for some time. After that special ran out (they went back to $12 bucks) I used the 50% coupon on the packaging that they return your cartridge in. So those are just some of the ways I save on saving!

  45. Amy

    Everything in moderation, right?

    I don’t love shopping and I also value my time, so I greatly simplified my life when I made the decision to shop sales/coupons at only 3 stores that are convenient to me. I miss a lot of sales, but inevitably, that same sale will eventually show up at one of the stores I do make time for. I don’t even hit every store every week. If the list doesn’t have at least 4 or 5 items on it, it gets skipped, unless it’s something we are in desparate need of. (Wow, pardon my grammar here…..two improper sentenses in a row? English teachers are ready to flog me.)

    I use my breaktimes at work to print coupons on recycled paper. It’s a fancy laserjet printer, so I’m guessing in a year I probably consume about 10 cents of ink. Surely I make up for that in unpaid overtime somewhere. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I also simplified to only checking 2 money-saving websites (this is one of them!). I do check in daily, so it’s just a few minutes each day. Saving money is important to me, but when it all breaks down, we just don’t use that much STUFF. I stockpile what’s reasonable for our family of 4.

    We get a Sunday paper, but not for the inserts. If I pull one 50 cent coupon out of our measly inserts once a week, well, that’s a lucky Sunday. I get All You, which I think cost me $12 for the year. I might make that back. Coupons in there have been getting progressively worse in the last couple of years.

    In the end, finding deals is something I enjoy and I’ll always end up money ahead, even when I factor in time.

  46. FrugalDarling

    I know I spend entirely too much on gas. I’ve meant to limit my shopping trips down to 2 a week, but I can’t seem to do it. There’s always a new deal, or I want to roll my register rewards one more time before the end of the sale, or some other excuse. Definitely something to work on in the New Year! Thankfully, I get my inserts for free. And I only print coupons when it means I’ll get the item for FREE or nearly free!

  47. jenny

    #1: Ink: Free. I use Swagbucks to buy ink refills from Amazon with the free shipping option. If you’ve never refilled your ink cartridges yourself, try it. I’ve done it for years.

    #2: Paper: Free. Staples had tons of free paper deals over the summer and lots of paper comes through our house and I just use the back.

    #3: Driving: Pennies. My grocery store, Wags, RA, and Cvs are on the same block two miles from the house and I have a Prius.

    #4: Newspapers: Free for now. We never renewed our initial Sunday subscription but it keeps being delivered. It’s been about two months so far. We come across extra inserts here and there but mostly I use internet coupons or (for a really good deal like the recent Gerber babyfood catalina) I’ll get them from eBay using Buy it Now.

    #5: Time: 3 hours total per week which includes checking blogs and printing coupons daily, driving, weekly grocery shopping, drugstores, and stocking the basement. Be focused and efficient and it doesn’t take long. The time I devote has significantly changed since I started couponing. Now I have a plan before I go! I’ve learned to only go to the grocery store once and drugstores once and it’s usually the day after the sale starts so all the “extras” have a chance to trickle in. Also, I check my receipts before I leave because if I don’t catch a mistake while I’m still there it’s my fault and I have to eat that loss. I use a file folder instead of a binder and it saves me hours and hours. I hated clipping and filing. That was really boring. ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. lisa

    Hi. I am looking for a deal on genuine HP ink for an officejet 6500 wireless printer. It takes officejet 920 ink. I usually buy the xl cartridge. I am VERY LEARY on buying refurbished or generic inks. We use to have a Kodak printer. After using carrot ink’s brand ink, I received an error on the printer. I called Kodak and apparently using generic ink and not Kodak brand ink recks the printer. I needed to get the head replaced, which was almost as much as the printer cost us. Then we ended up getting the HP. I don’t want the same thing to happen to me again. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  49. Chris

    I have cut back my costs by asking my neighbors for their YES papers, if the yes papers don’t have coupons, I then use rewards from the drug stores to buy them, no cost oop. I have also switched to a laser printer, I purchased it over a year ago used for $50 from a Craigslist ad and the lower toner light just came on about a month ago and it’s still printing fine. I will buy a new toner when needed from using $5 gift cards I have saved up from SwagBucks and other places such as I print coupons as I go normally(unless it is a HOT coupon that I know I will use), which means sometimes I miss a deal but hey remember, it’s no biggie.

  50. Lauren

    I spend $7 a month on newspaper delivery (so $84 a year) and I think I spent $40 on ink last year. I get copy paper when it’s $1. I think I maybe used $2 worth last year. I do occasionally get coupons from the coupon clippers, I might have spent $20 on that last year. I do buy All You occasionally from Walmart, and the .99 RIB from CVS, so I would say I spend about $150 a year on saving. I tracked my savings last year from January to July. (Went on a diet in July and took a break for the rest of the year from couponing and started shopping primarily at Aldi.) In those 7 months, I spent $1,306.82 and saved $3,421.70 or 73.03% on everything I bought in a store from toothpaste to clothes to home decor. So the $150 investment really paid off! I do print some coupons at work, because I work in a small firm and my employer encourages us to let the firm pay for whatever we’d like to print out (including coupon and personal photos) and postage, etc. He even brings in his coupon inserts and shares with the employees. We got new computers this year and the computer guy gave us the strangest looks when we told him be sure to transfer our coupon printers! I would say that it’s wise not to do ANYTHING at work that you wouldn’t want your employer to know about.

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