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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. Alli

    I purchased 60.00 in in last year from 101inc.com.. I still have enough inc to last me through the next year.. I used the inc to print of preschool papers for my two children.. I homeschool them and it uses tons of paper plus the coupons I print. I did the two cases of paper for free deal through office depot and i know that will last me for years.

  2. heather stokes

    i just got my weekly advertister and for the first time it had to coupon inserts like you find in the newspaper!i was happy because i did not get a paper yesterday , so keep your eyes open for that since that is free!

    • Renee B

      Me too! I was pleasantly surprised. In the past I just threw them away!

  3. Kara

    I am college student as well so some of the information is combined.

    How much do you spend each week, month, and/or year getting organized and prepared to save?
    -I spend at least 4-5hrs/wk reading blogs and forums about deals and upcoming deals

    What are your expenses when it comes to saving (i.e. printer ink, paper, gas to drive to the store etc.)?
    -printer paper around $4 (I got some mistake flyers from my volunteer work (I asked permission) and printed on the other side (batch 1 lasted me about 4mos, I haven’t even touched batch 2 yet)
    -I spent about $40 in ink last year, all refills, but I run the XL cartridges so it cost me a bit more, but lasts me longer.
    – I spend about $60 in gas every month (love my little car), whether its doing my shopping or for school.
    – I do put Ds in daycare sometimes. It is a splurge, but I do leave room in the budget for daycare.
    How do you cut down on these expenses?
    -I only shop for items I know we will use. Eventually I will start doing the money making deals, but for right now just what we need.
    -I try to do 2 trips a week, usually on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Or I’ll it on Saturdays.
    -I don’t take Dh with me

  4. Cristie

    I bought an ink refill kit that you do yourself and I have refilled my ink cartridges all year and I still have ink to refill my cartridges a year later. They were about $20 for the black ink kit and $20 for the color ink kit. I have a pair of disposible gloves to keep the ink off of my hands and I use my newspaper to lay everything on so the ink doesn’t stain anything. I also use the back of most paper (junk mail) as long as its not personal information to print my coupons on. Great way to recycle and save money.

    • Christine

      I bought ink to refill my own cartridges and have LOVED it! I even got a good deal on the ink! That was the best thing I could have done to save money on “saving” money ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Denise

    I save money on ink by canceling the print after the coupon prints so it doesn’t print the slogan/ad from the company. I use my printed coupon scraps for shopping lists. I also get some inserts from family and friends who do not coupon (I know, they are crazy) so that I don’t have to buy as many papers.

    • Julie

      Denise- how do you cancel that slogan after the coupon? that always drive mes nuts, I didn’t realize I could cancel it!? Please share! thanks in advance!!

      • stephanie

        Hit the cancel button on your actual printer right after you see coupon print. Doesn’t work when coupon prints at the bottom of the page after the logo ๐Ÿ™

      • Marcee

        I do this too. YOu actually just puch the cancel button on your printer after you see your coupon has printed in full. That is what I do anyway. I hate to waste ink on that! HTH!!

        • Julie

          Thanks so much!! I didn’t even think of that!

          • katie

            me neither…. i am so glad i read this ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. stephanie

    I’m confused as to how people spend so much on couponing supplies. I use my store rewards. Problem solved. I don’t spend anything for my coupon supplies at all. I only pay tax for my products. The only thing we pay for “store” wise is food and we get that pretty cheap with the coupons. Not completely free, but some items are free and others are super duper cheap!

  7. Kelly

    I only purchase one newspaper but I have asked family and friends who don’t use them to save their inserts for me. In exchange, I give them some of the freebies I get. My neighbor will hand me her insert and I’ll hand her a body wash! She loves it because there was no effort on her part and I’m happy because I still get the insert and didn’t have to buy an extra paper. I usually end up with 4-5 of the same insert per week which is plenty for me. I never use a clipping service. I get as many as I have coupons for at home and that it is.

    • Emily

      Ooh, what a great idea! Now I’m thinking about neighbors who might do that for me…

    • Lisa

      I do that every week. I have three neighbors that I visit every week. I get the free coupons and my neighbors get someone to visit with (they are all older and don’t get out very often)

  8. Robin K.

    I too have begun to wonder if I am truly saving that much. My time is so important vs. the cash savings. I used to print a lot of coupons from the web-sites and then find I didn’t use them, so I really keep an eye on the coupons from the newspaper. One thing with the coupon sites that could improve is they typically only print 3 coupons per sheet of paper. Perhaps we have enough influence as a community of shoppers to make them add more coupons per sheet. Perhaps 6 or 8, it would be most cost effective.

    • angela

      agreed. how do we go about petitioning the coupon printing spots to put more on a page? rite aid’s video coupons print six on a page and they are a great size.

      • Jennifer Phelps

        What are rite aid video coupons?

  9. Caryn

    I have a book that I write down all the things that my family buys the most the “regular price” and then once I see the sales I know what is the best deal for us then I look up coupons I can use then if its really good I stock up on them!! I just went to Target and bout 32 items for $10.60 my total was 78.90!!! The CSA was shocked at my coupons and the guy behind me said to me ” I wish my wife could do that haha” I started laughing and said she could! Anyways!! I bought Similac that was 21.09 just on its own which I got for free thanks to Similac Gold Membership and Christmas candles all for free with coupons and Swiss hot chocolate both for free with coupons and sooo much more!! Oh the floss only cost me 4 cents each the shout wipes cost me nothing I bought 6! I did the b1g1f Special K and the light bulbs!!! I and everyone else was shocked!!

    • T

      How do you get to be a Similac Gold Member?

    • Sarah B

      What is the Similac Gold Membership? I buy formula constantly and this would be great if i could join too! Thanks!

      • shana

        It was a program that people were randomly selected for out of the Similac Moms program. I was a lucky chosen one! Which is great since around here there’s no price matching since we only have option A or B to shop at! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Caryn

        Well, I actually got something in the mail and it told me to go to similac.com/gold and put in the number they gave me and then you put in your zip code and your last name and then it takes you to the next screen. Are ya’ll signed up for stuff on similac.com? If you aren’t they send you coupons every month or so that are up to $5 off!! It’s really good thing to be involved with!! Also, if you are a member of the similac.com you could try using the number that’s on your letter that comes in… Let me know if that helps! I hope it does! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Rebecca

    I look for free copy paper in the fall and u must have a LASER LASER LASER and get the refillable ink instead of buying new cart. I have an old inexpensive Minolta QMS and this laser printer has been w/me for 10 yrs and has never had a problem. I have printed thousands of newsletters on it — it’s a workhorse. I never buy ink because I just shake in a little toner from a bottle when needed. I bought a cheap coupon book on amazon that I love and got some permanent markers from big lots “coffee colors” for 2.00. Otherwise I haven’t spent anything on couponing!

    • lindsey

      so you actually refill your laser toner? Please tell me how, esp. since I just paid $70 at Office Depot for a new HP toner!!

  11. irene

    I havenn’t read all the comments yet, but I plan to tonite when kiddies goe to bed. I am hoping that some have comment on the amount Saved using coupons. Seems most people use the full price as their base to caculate their savings. I don’t really think that is an accurate comparison since most people save by only buying on sale without even touching a coupon…Just wondering where others stand on this.

    • Bee

      I see your point and agree with it. For instance, I got cans of Hormel Chili (the premium kind) at a Kroger Mega event when they were on sale and with a coupon. I ended up paying .04 per can I believe. Anyway, the regular price was $3.29. Well, maybe that IS regular retail, but it’s irrelevant since I would NEVER, EVER pay $3.29 for a can of chili!!! The most I would pay is $1.25 so I saved $1.21. I am still EXTREMELY pleased with that savings as .04 to me is like free, but I would never consider my savings from regular retail as that is fantasy pricing.

    • Melissa

      I can’t put my finger on the number right now but I do have what I saved using coupons since I started this fun in September. What I can tell you is before coupons, Kroger would list my savings percentage and it would typically be 10-20%. Now that I am an experienced c-pner, my savings (including produce and milk) is 40-45 percent almost every week… that does not include any of the freebies I regularly get at CVS and Rite Aid so I know this way of shopping has paid off… With a family of 5, I have cut my grocery bill from about $125 per week to about $75. I am a SAHM that recently quit my part time job so I look at this as my new job…

      • Jennifer

        I agree! I do not count the amount saved as being off the regular price since I would never have paid regular price anyhow. I count the amount saved by couponing as the difference between the sale price and the actual amount paid after coupons and rewards. I am really excited about using the savings tracker spreadsheet that Collin posted last week. It does all the adding up for me. I have always guessed at the average amount saved but now I will be able to track it monthly. Hubby and I are both excited to see the savings add up. Plus we just found out today that we are expecting our first baby so I am excited to be able to snag those wipes and diapers deals! Thanks Collin!

        • Angela

          A baby! How exciting. Be sure to sign up on all the baby sites for your freebies (e.g., Gerber, Publix, Target, etc)! Just google it to find lists.

    • jheintz

      I don’t consider my savings off the retail price (although it does look good to see 50% or more savings off my bill and I don’t feel like I’ve shopped properly if I haven’t saved at least 50%). There are very few things I will pay full price for. I only feel I’ve saved money when I get it as cheap as or less than I know it can be (my mental price list). Free is my favorite of course.

    • Patti

      Compare what you spend now to what you were spending BEFORE starting to use coupons. I shopped the specials 2 years ago. Last year I couponed and combined these with the specials. I spent 52% less this past year AND we have a stockpile. It’s not a huge stockpile, but it’s WAY more than we had 2 years ago. So 52% less spent than previous year and a stockpile………works for me!

      That being said, I now seem to need a bit more motivation to keep couponing. So, I started keeping track and yes I am using the off the shelf price for my computations. It is the easiest to compute from most stores sales slips. I am not going to spend more time trying to compute if it was really only 40% off my lowest buy price or 70% of the shelf price. I have better things to do with my time!! But the % on the excel worksheet pleases me and keeps me going, so there you go. Do what works for you.

  12. JeannieNY

    I’m a new web couponer–I’m quickly seeing how time consuming it is–I have to get a handle on it because I DO waste–alot! I really hate to only get one coupon on a whole sheet of paper and the coupons are so big–I had to buy a huge coupon holder, when I used to have a nice, neat little purse one! I appreciate all the help, but I really have to figure this all out. I used to do coupons and save so much when my kids were small–they are all grown up now–I also wish the expiration dates were longer…not to complain–’cause I so appreciate what I have learned and gotten in savings! Hoping that time will help me become better at this!

  13. Grace

    In the first two weeks of January, I’ve saved $150 on groceries / hh items by using coupons. I figure that pays for all the paper and ink I’ll use printing coupons for the year. Also, I usually get 2 papers for $2ea/wk but usually I use RR, UP or Cats to pay for them. If it’s a 5 or 6 insert week, I’ll get up to 6 papers, but I know they’ll pay for themselves! I use the savings tracker from thecouponproject.com and make sure to include my coupon expenses in my monthly grocery budget. That way, I’m counting the expenses as part of the “savings.”

    I started in November, 2010, so I haven’t actually saved much money yet… cuz shopping is so fun. But I have a stockpile that I never had before! Thanks Collin, for all you do!

  14. CJ

    I only buy one paper a week for $1.68. Most of my shopping trips are either to stores within a mile of my house or along my way home from work so I dont spend hardly any extra gas on my “hobby”. I re-use envelopes and a $1 canvas bag to hold my coupons so no binders or card holders expense for me. I try to keep my printer ink expenses down by using $X/$XX coupons at Office Depot and using the money on my Worklife Rewards card from recycling empty cartridges, and buying paper when it’s on sale. The time I spend on line looking for coupons and reading blogs I count as entertainment. I clip coupons in my spare time at work and at home. I dont have a family so its not time I’m taking away from them or any other obligations. Overall I feel the time and money I spend to save is well worth it.

  15. Ann

    I’m a lucky addict because we are not struggling financially. My hubby works hard and makes a very good living. In fact, I think our children, friends and family would be surprised at how much money he makes and we save because we do live so frugally. My goal is to stretch his hard earned income so we can retire early and we are almost there! YEAH! I am now in such a habit of doing this that I just can’t pay retail. I stock up on paper when office supplies stores have great deals, I buy refurbished printer cartridges and my “free” Kodak printer actually has cheap ink. I stock up on sales and donate what we won’t use. I read blogs and plan shopping strategies in the evening after kids are aspleep. I hit the stores early mornings, grab my deals while the weather warms up outside so I can excercise (run) outside when its a little warmer. I just won’t pay for a gym membership! Saving my hubby’s hard earned money is part of my job and I think I’m pretty good at it. Thanks to his income and my money saving, we will retire early.

    • Tricia

      I feel like I am reading about myself. Being frugal is fun and in this day and age its the best lesson we can teach our kids.

      • Emily

        I’m in the same place! We live very frugally not because we must, but because it helps us get to our goals! (And besides, couponing is just so much fun…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Coletta

      Ann, I totally agree with your comment. My husband and I started having kids in our late 30’s and by the time they head off to college we will be heading into retirement. Our family and friends would be extremely surprised at how much money we make verses how much it takes us to live on, especially with four kiddos. Since we have gotten married and started our family, we have paid off $50,000 in debt and own 2 homes outright… extremely nice homes. We have only been married 8 years too. There are a few things I have learned along the way… 1) we do not need to keep up with the Joneses’, 2) kids do not need everything… just alot of time and love 3) who cares what other people think about what kind of car we drive, shoes we wear, clothes… etc. as long as we are happy and content with each other.

      We are quickly reaching our goal of sending 4 kiddos to college and retiring at the same time… thanks to coupons and living a cheap/frugal lifestyle.

      • Kimberly Harris

        That is awsome Coletta. You go girl. My husband and I are 44 years old have two daughters, one in college and one still in highschool. My husband is very lucky to have a job because 4 of the plants shut down but not the plant he works at Thank God.but his pay was cut. My job hours have been cut to 15-20 hrs. a week. In 2005 our gross was 75.000 now this year it will be about 42,000. I just thank God everyday we still have jobs and that we had a goal to pay off our house which we did a few years ago. i seriously don’t know how we would make it with a house payment and the hip2save web site has saved us in so many ways. Sincerely, Kim Harris

  16. Johna

    I actually buy my papers at rite aid. I buy about 5 and i use my 4 off 20 and any overage from whatever else i am buying. I never actually pay for my papers or milk anymore because of how much i make from riteaid every week. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Smitha

    I was wondering the same thing myself. That day itself Collin wrote a post about Savings Tracker. So I downloaded the excel sheet from the coupon project. I am going to track my savings this year. I started couponing last year and I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick to it. My husband wasn’t too supportive either. But I have been always interested in saving money and getting quality products for a good price. So when I came across this blog, I decided to give it a try. Now, even my husband’s impressed with my savings and if I am sick or something and cannot go to the store and I have the coupons for the things to buy that day, I give it to hubby and surprise surprise, he uses it. So I can say that he’s a changed man now ๐Ÿ™‚
    Newspapers: I don’t buy them. Currently I have a free 22 week WSJ subscription which I got from a survey Collin posted a few months back. Also, there’s a rack of free spanish newspapers in our library and about one time in 2 weeks, when I go to the library, I get one newspaper. I don’t always use all the coupons in the newspapers and also we rarely go out on Sundays. ๐Ÿ™‚ Somebody posted about getting newspapers from the gas station. I am going to try that method next.
    Shopping: I don’t drive. So its a major problem. But, my daughter’s going to a preschool where Target, Walmart, Rite Aid etc are within 1 mile. So when my husband takes her to school(Wednesday or Thursday), I go with them and hubby drops me off at Target. So I have 3 hrs to get my shopping done. Plus: I save on petrol. Minus: Its difficult to lug the grocery around.
    Printing: I have an HP Deskjet. I print in black ink and refill the ink at Walgreens for $6-$9(depending on coupons). I have to refill every 2 months. I print coupons which I am sure I am going to use. I get the paper and sometimes ink cartridges too from Staples when there’s a sale.

    • Laura

      Your WSJ comes with coupons? Mine (I’m in Michigan) does not, I sure wish it did!

  18. Carrie

    I print a lot of coupons at work. I print extras of coupons I know for sure I’ll use at home.
    I work for a publishing company and so there’s always discarded pages with only one side used, so I never need to buy paper (and I’m recycling.)
    I only get one paper, but do get extra inserts from some family and friends on occasion.

  19. shannnon

    I know there is not a meijer near you but they have started mperks. It is digital coupons that are redeemed at checkout with your phone number. This saves on printing and paper.

  20. Jennifer Elrod

    I order the paper anyway everyday for $13 a month. Then on Sunday, I usually get 3 additional papers at $1.50 a piece. That insures me 4 of any coupon deal. I never clear the shelves, and it gives my family of 4 enough of that item to eat off of that month. My ink is $40 every 2 months, and that is pretty reasonable. I was able to use the Office Max gift card I scored during the giveaway to help out the next 2 months. As for gas to get to all the coupon deals, I will always make a special trip to Walgreens or CVS because my closest ones are less than 2 miles away. So, I can justify that. I work near all the other needed stores like Publix or Target, so I hit those before or after work so that I don’t waste any extra gas. I have put myself on a major spending (overall) budget for the year of out of pocket expense. I will have to make sacrifices to stick to it, but it is reasonable and will be worth it in the end.

  21. megan

    we are a family of 3, two adults and a baby. we really, really don’t need more than one paper per week. the way the sales run, i still end up with all non food including dog and cat food, paper products, razors, exc all under 30.00/mo. a bit more if i am stocking up, but really, about 30.00/mo.

    i find that americans (no bashing, i am one born and bred) seem to hoard as a past time, and as a result use more room, gas, time, exc than necessary to fuel their hoarding. we only need one, so i only buy one except in extreme circumstances.

    • katie

      I agree on the hoarding issue… I too am a self proclaimed hoarder of free products…
      But I have to say that a few months ago when my husband got laid off I was so thankful about my hoarding habits.

      • lindsey

        absolutely! My mother in law and I coupon very well.. she has turned her garage room into a store, literally! (Even coined the name, “xxxMart” (our last name)
        She is jokingly accused of hoarding, esp. after the multitude of TLC programs, including hoarding and couponing…however- she provides SO much for so many people! Myself, husband and son, brother and sister in law with new baby, college aged brother in law, and even grown friends come over to “shop” at the mart- we literally just take whatever, and as much as we want- everything from food, diapers, deodorant, etc! It is a great, great blessing- and I am so thankful for her work, dedication, and unselfishness!

  22. Anonymous

    I have never tracked $ spent on savings. I recently started getting the inserts free, the newspaper delivers them free every sunday. This helps me decide how many papers I need to buy that week, if any at all. When I do buy a lot of papers it’s because I’m going to be getting so many items for free.

    My goal towards the end of last year and for this year is to get most, if not all : ) my H&B free or as close as possible. I’m still picky about brands I use but I know with patience and the right stock pile I can do it. I’m also trying not to take as much stock this year off the shelfs and being a freindly couponer all around, coupon karma : ) —I’m a believer in this!

    QUESTION-do you couponers want to meet other couponers in your area or would you rather be left alone? I would love to make some coupon friends in my area but when I see others at the store you seem very caught up and not wanting to be disturbed. Thoughts? TIA!

    • jen

      I love the ideal about meeting couponers in our area. I havent been able to get a Sunday paper w coupons in two weeks my dad finally mailed me some coupons from NC bc for some reason my newspaper stopped coupons & the largest city nearby doesnt put out but a couple in the boxes at the stores. I have finally gotten the no big deal attitude so I save more now but I snatch up deals like special k and things I know we go through quickly. I hate paying full price now that Collin has taught my family so many ways to save. I use a laser printer which seems to help on printer cost. I buy paper from office max at school time when they have all the sales.

      • bri

        I love meeting other couponers!!!!

    • Elizabeth M.

      I love meeting other couponers! Last year I met a lady in Kroger who was an experienced couponer while I was still a novice. Not only did she give me some great advice when she saw me waffling between name brand cheese and store brand. She not only stopped to talk to me, but also broke down the savings on the store brand for me, gave me some of her extra Q’s to boot AND wrote down some coupon sites for me! Now, I try to do the same for others as I shop.

      • Anonymous

        Thats great! I guess I’ll try and make small talk next time I see a couponer. There is so much I’m sure we can teach others and be taught.

  23. john

    Okay, a males time to chime in.

    I subscribe to the Sunday paper only, get inserts from family and if it is a good week for coupons , I get 2 more papers for $3.15 including tax.

    As far as supplies, I used my store rewards to purchase what I need. As far as ink goes, $60 a year is about it and paper is a non issue for me as I have a whole ream that I saved from the landfill because it was goldenrod. (who cares right!)

    Time-wise, I spend about 3 hours a week couponing, including reading blogs, preparing for battle (I mean shopping trips), and actually shopping. I am lucky in that all of the stores that I hit are within a 5 mile radius of my home. I do do some of the moneymaker or free deals for products I do not use. However, I donate them to an appropriate local charity once a month.

    I believe it is totally worth my time. I check the blogs daily, usually takes 10 minutes to scroll through. Saturday nights are preparation time, usually an hour or so, and Sunday morning I am shopping before church. I only clip what I need as I devised a system that works for me and I no longer use a binder. (I never took it with me anyways) I shop for what is on the list I made and if I see a deal or something that I want to get but don’t have the coupon for, I make a note, and get it ready when I get home and hit it the next day on the way home from work or kids activities.

    I saved over $15,000 using coupons last calendar year, tried new products for free, helped friends and strangers on limited budgets by gifting or donating items from my stockpile, and taught quite a few people the basics of couponing. My son enjoys trying new bodywashes, toothpastes, toothbrushes, deodorant, gum, etc. (he’s 8), and especially likes it when I come home with a treat item (this week was a Star Wars Hot Chocolate Mug Set on Christmas Clearance at Rite Aid that included 4 mugs, 2 cocoa mixes and marchmallows for $2.49 down from $24.99). It is not every week or something that big, but what the heck.

    That is a single dad’s perspective. I am not obsessive about it. I was hooked on the deal when I started, but have grown to the point where if it isn’t there it wasn’t meant for me!

    Hope this helps someone!

    • Morganne

      wow. dude. I am impressed! Keep up the good work! You won’t be single long, lol:-)

    • Priscilla

      I love your attitude! My son would have been thrilled with the Star Wars cocoa set (and I would have been thrilled with the $2.49 price)!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Joan Southwick(Jafra Lady!)

      Nice attitude,, and thats kind of the way I do things. I have the advantage of having a daughter who also coupons with me, and a mother in law who saves her coupon inserts. I also work for a company that lets me have free rein with printing coupons (I’ve been here 25 years,, so they just want me to stay).
      I love to share my goodies! I love to be able to buy more and still save more each month. I buy fresh produce once a week from a co op group, other than that, I go to the store about once a month besides my rite aid trips once a week. My rite aid carries Winder milk, and I have my 20% on that and everything else not on sale.
      it’s not a life,, it’s a life choice,, jsut do what you can, and live the rest of the time…..

  24. Takako

    Whenever it available, when bricks offer coupons, I ask for mail to me instead of print out right away.
    Although some of stuff might not on my shopping list but if I find good deal, I would buy it as long as I know I would use it. Or if I know it might be good for give to friends or donation, I would also get it (I got shaver gift set for FREE with coupon! ).
    I go to local thrift store for drop off some my unwanted coupons by foot. I can get someone’s extra coupons as well! Also at same hour, I go to local library. Sometimes able to score brand new magazines for free at there by donation shelf they have (I got 3 latest magazines last week for free!). I often drop my unwanted magazines as well. Those are my once a week “excise”, I guess. Haha. It doesn’t cost anything because I just walk down. It doesn’t need spend long time, either.
    I often let my daughter to cut coupons. Yes, she’s still working on her skills but it’s so fun to spend great time with her. It’s actually save my time (and sometimes saving my energy for chasing her!). ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Megan

    I only buy 2 papers and get 5 paper’s worth of coupons from friends and neighbors! This year I am tracking my savings and have saved over $167 since the first of January. I probably spend about an hour a day looking over blogs and store sale’s. I try to only go out twice a week and spend about an hour and a half doing my running around. We’ll see at the end of the year if the time and gas is worth the money I save.

  26. theresa

    I don’t want to do the math, but my son read somewhere once that the average couponer makes around $28 an hour. Not a bad wage. P.S. I have inspired him to use coupons. It is sort of sweet. Thank you, Colin, for so many good savings. I love this site.

  27. Krissy

    A different prospective for saving…I buy bulk. I purchase 50 lb bags of all my flours and sugars as well as supporting my local bulk foods store with as many re-bagged items as I use, rather than giving that same money to big box retailers. This way I get my organic supplies for around the same price as retail non organic smaller portions AND help to keep it local. This year we raised a cow at our neighbor’s pasture and got an entire organically raised, grass-fed freezer of beef for $1 A POUND! Take that, Whole Foods! We also are able to raise our own chickens on our small piece of land, for both organic eggs and organic meat. Eggs run us approx. $1 a dozen and meat $1.50 a lb. You can argue the frugality on this one, but we buy our milk from a local (local being the key word here!) dairy farmer, paying $5 a gal. for fresh, raw, organic milk out of which I make butter from the cream and have real buttermilk for super fluffy baking. I know this is more than what the garbage milk at the grocery store costs, but the health benefits outweigh the cost, IMO. I stock up big on sales as they come up. Just scored 6 24 pks of tp for $4.24 each, using coupons and if cereal goes on sale, I buy as much as the cabinets will hold. I want to get better at couponing, but my printer won’t hook to my current computer, and we live fairly rural, so running to the store means 25 miles with just a few stores to choose from. I guess I’m just trying to offer some ideas beyond clipping coupons and such. I hope it helps:?) Have a super day!

    • Krissy

      Oh, and just for added fun, whenever I do save more than 50% off a grocery receipt, my husband declares it an A+ and it goes on the fridge;?)

    • Rose

      Try to get a printer that will work on your computer.I started couponing last month and on a weekly basis after the first month of learning and trial and error i am getting most my grocery items free or at a very reduced price. yesterday spent 4.00 out of pocket for 68.00 in grocery items. Today they paid me 36.00 in rr with nothing out of pocket. Got my 20.00 resolution reward from rite aide really boost my reward bucks for the next weeks deals. Ink i am going through faster than i should. I am learning to only print items i know we will use. if its a free item i wont use i dont print. But i am so hooked and i spend 3 to 4 hours a day looking for deals, couponing, shopping, organizing it all. I am retired and this is my job to help my family.

      • Krissy

        Thanks for the boost in the right direction:?) I really need to do that. The other stumbling block is that I don’t have most of the stores talked about all the time anywhere near me, so I go with what I know:?) I don’t even know what register rewards are! Ha!

    • Sarah

      What is a bulk item store that is not a big box store like sams club? I’d like to support something like that but I don’t know what it would be called…

  28. M

    Well I’m new at couponing too. I’ve saved a good bit on groceries/hh now that I’ve figured it out. But I have also bought things that I would NEVER have bought before. I said something to my kds the other day about taking time away from them, and my wonderful 11 yr old said “Are you savig money?” my reply “yes” him: “well dad has to go to work and that takes time away from us, but he has to make money” so I feel a little better about it now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Sarah

    I asked my paper carrier what he does with the extra Sunday papers. When he said he throws them away, I asked if he would give them to me. He is so kind! So Monday or Tuesday I get my daily paper and all leftover Sunday papers. Never hurts to ask your carrier! Cost? Zero.

  30. Mitch

    I don’t spend a lot on paper and ink because between your hints on paper at Staples and their various coupons and ink deals, it does not cost extra to print as much as I do, and I print a lot of coupons.
    I find the deals at Staples to be fantastic in regards to ink, you just have to pay attention.
    I blog about their deals all the time and how I save recycle ink caretridges for the best deal!
    thanks for all your help!
    http://www.gaynycdad.com

  31. Angel S

    this is actually a funny question to me because of the following: At my local grocery we don’t have double q’s or anything great like that and honestly they are not coupon friendly. Anyhow their current promotion is 5 cents off gas at QT when you spend $50 in groceries in a single trip. Which may sound ok to some but there is a limit of a single 20 gallon purchase for this deal. So the true savings is $1. My friend said she was at the store the other day and she was just $2 short of getting the 5 cents off. I said….”I haven’t taught you very well if you are willing to spend $2 to save $1. That is not a savings” I try to run most of my deals on my lunches at work, or on my way home. This saves my gas and time.

  32. guai

    i’m kinda like the krazy coupon lady and go through the recycling bin and get my sunday coupon. my neighbors dont use them so i go out there at night just to get a few copy. i don’t like paying extra newspapers just to get the sunday coupon:( . Here it cost $2 just to get a copy. so might as well just sneak and take all the other coupons from the sunday paper and put that in it so i’ll pay 1 time haha JUST KIDDING. for my internet coupons i have 2 laptop (one is my sis) at home so i’m able to get 4 LIKE COUPONS. If i want more coupons when a store is promoting Triples or Super Doubles i go to a classroom with a computer and print out each coupon if i want a lot and there are about 20 or more computers in the room

  33. jackie

    i am addidated i stockpile all winter long! last year i paid for a disney vacation from yardsales of my stockpiles.i love getting all the deals i can get.i work full time. but my husband is awesome i think he coupons more then me.he sees all the stuff i get for free so he goes more then me now.

  34. Jen

    Just started and my first mistake I made was buying the local paper at 1.50 , depending on what coupons was in there I would buy 2 or 3. Then realized if I buy the other paper with same coupons just not the local grocery ad’s for only 75 cents.

    Did buy one ink and already out so I think I need to start thinking twice before I print.

  35. jen p

    I know for a fact I have saved more than I have spent. I began couponing out of necessity. My hubby took a huge paycut and we were falling further into debt. I cut our monthly grocery and fun budget in half! I decided to sacrifice our grocery budget before my daughters music and dance lessons. I have managed to fill my pantry on half of our old budget and we have less debt even though my husband still makes less money. I rarely buy items without coupons or a great sale and LOVE my RiteAid. Also, my kids are with me when I am couponing. My 4year old loves Sunday afternoon, he cuts up the newspaper while I clip my coupons. At the store he gets a couple coupons for items he likes and his job is to find the items that match his coupons.

  36. Rachael Mercer

    I buy 2 double papers here in Atlanta weekly, spending $6/week. But often I use the free $$ I get from transferring and filling prescriptions to offset those expenses.

    I spent about $150 on ink & paper last year but I more than offset that with the rebates I did during the year.

  37. Christy830

    Ok I am wondering where and how you guys get sunday papers delivered for so cheap? I don’t care to get my local paper…i dont read it, i just get it for the inserts…and usually bigger towns have higher value coupons. And the cost for the Kalamazoo Gazette is $10/month delivered vs. $2 per paper at the store. They say its bc the delivered ones are guaranteed to have the inserts where as the ones in the stores are not, and i guess also delivery fee. I also really love that some of your papers offer the couponer deal where you get more inserts.

    • bri

      I got a groupon for $10 for 1 year of sunday LA Times delievered to my door. I love about 1.5hrs outside LA but they have the highest value coupons so it’s the paper I desire. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  38. Nancy

    I buy ink 3-4 times a year through Ebay. I pay less than $15 shipped for the black and the color. I buy a few reams of paper at Wal-Mart for a couple of bucks. But I can also print coupons at work so no cost there (I don’t abuse). I usually only buy one paper a week. I also sign up for coupons and get them with free sample offers. So, I don’t spend much at all but I have saved THOUSANDS I would bet. Not just on coupons but sales and good deals. Everything that I bought for Christmas was anywhere from a good deal to a FANTASTIC deal including free shipping and rebates. I started buying gifts the day after Christmas last year and bought all year long. Some of the deals that I got were coats that retail for over $100 – I paid less than $15. It’s so much fun. I started tracking my savings last year but it got too much to keep up with!

  39. Bee

    Time would be my biggest expense and there is always an opportunity cost associated with time. What other more lucrative or fulfilling ways could one be earning money, improving one’s life or planning for the future?

    I don’t even think about the paper/ink costs as they are so low and so infrequent. I may have picked up a package of 500 sheets of premium paper at Wal-Mart six weeks ago for $5 and it will print as many as 1500 coupons. So, per coupon, it becomes almost negligible. If you print three $1 coupons on a sheet, well, you get the point. Not worth obsessing over. The ink is not terribly expensive and also goes to print other things, school projects, etc.

    In order to save time, I now only grocery shop two Fridays a month (or Sat if I don’t make it on Fri). I visit two and sometimes three grocery stores in one morning. My family doesn’t eat out; I don’t do manicures, pedicures, etc. We only do planned clothing replacement. If someone grows out of a coat, then we buy a coat. It really doesn’t matter if it’s on sale if it’s made well and will be worn. From experience I have found that just shopping clothing and clearance sales without a specific goal in mind leads to frivolous clothing expenditures and a closet full of rarely worn garments that have to be donated or sold at yard sale.

    I don’t shop toy clearances. It’s too hard to try to guess what another child wants for birthday, etc so I give gift certificates. My own kids get a minimum of toys for Christmas/birthday, and I would prefer just to buy them something they really, really want as opposed to something I picked up on clearance a year ago.

    I cook A LOT. For one, I don’t mind cooking and I love looking up new recipes on the Internet. For this reason, I don’t buy cookbooks. It seems a huge waste of money. I love that internet recipes are rated by other cooks.

    As gas has gone up, I have reduced my Walgreen’s/CVS trips. I will even intentionally go when they have run out of stock so I can get rain checks to use at my leisure. Another good thing about Wag’s rain checks is that they give me the after-RR price as the rain check price. I don’t have to worry about returning to spend an RR.

    I buy newspapers if the insert preview looks promising. If there are no inserts, I buy no paper. If there are inserts and they aren’t mostly food, I buy one paper. If they are the rare Sundays where you get loads of wonderful food coupons, I will buy up to 4 papers. It’s a total cost of $8 but really, when you save $100 or more out of one paper, are you really going to choke on a $2 investment? I have considered switching to just ordering whole inserts. The paper here is poorly reported and none here have much interest in reading it.

    • Anonymous

      I have to agree about the clearance clothing and toys – I found that we save more money by just buying items as we need them. We actually apply this to groceries as well – we are trying to get out of debt and figure that the most important thing is to put as much money per month as we can to the debt and not incur any more interest on it than to stockpile on groceries. So we just buy what we need per month in the cheapest size since that is how often a paycheck comes. We still use coupons and look for deals, but just on what we need for each month.

  40. Jennifer

    My husband brings me home scrap paper from his work. The paper has printing on one side (never any personal or private info) and I print all my coupons on the other side. I’ve gone through many stacks of this paper over the year and it has saved me from having to buy paper for printing coupons.

  41. Barbi

    My thoughts…
    I purchased every paper in the grocery store one day and compared inserts. One paper had more and much larger inserts than all the others. Now I only purchase that 1 paper. Money spent on papers is money taken away from coupon savings.

    I don’t purchase in bulk. I don’t need 10 or 20 of any item since the item is going to go on sale again in a few weeks. Most likely the paper will have a coupon in it. If I had purchased the item in bulk in the past then the coupon in the current paper is of no value to me. Another thought is if I purchase the item in bulk again I’ve just spent more money.

    I think it is important to remember that no matter how much you have saved, you need to remember how much you have spent. If you buy something for $1.00 just because it is $1.00 you have spent $1.00. I don’t know about you, but I get excited when I save with a $1.00 coupon….so I always think twice about buying something I may not need only because it is a $1.00. It takes away from my all around coupon savings.

    I try not to just drive all over the place many times a week to buy sale items. Again this just takes away from my all around coupon savings. Gas needs to be factored into your savings because we all know how expensive gas is these days.

    I only print coupons in black and white. I print on fronts and backs of paper. I use junk mail paper that only has printing on one side. Coupons that I print from the computer, I leave on the whole sheet of paper until I actually am ready to use them and then I cut it out. If it expires and I have not used it then the paper is recycled back to the printer to be used to print on the back side of paper. Laser printers are the way to go. I never think twice about printing. I purchased ink only once in the last 2 years. I also print in gray scale to use less ink.

  42. Tambry

    Home office here so the cost is absorbed into business expenses. I do have a b/w laser which saves a TON. I normally buy a box of paper per year at staples when it is under $20.
    I buy normally 3-4 papers and supplement thru ebay and my coupon hunter dot com. My papers are free because I use overage or RR to pay at WAGS. I would say I spend no more than $7/wk on average.

  43. Debbie

    I started couponing last September and I have saved an enoumous amount of money. I have to admit I am an addict. I have decided to cut back on the number of coupons I print out “just because”. I now print them if they are something we would use and they could make for a great deal. I have a family of 6 – besides my husband and I we have grown kids (due to the economy we just can’t get rid of them lol) 26, 20, 18 and 7. Needless to say, we had quite a large grocery bill. I downloaded the budget tracker and set our budget for groceries, toiletries, over the counter medicine, etc. for $300 a month. I didn’t track last year but my average savings was 75% or more at the grocery store. I believe I did better at at CVS and Walgreens. My best shopping trip to date — I saved $400 with coupons and paid $7 and change out of pocket at Frys Grocery!!! I recycle paper from work, I get 4 Sunday papers and I read blogs regularly to follow the great deals. Your blog is one of my favorites!! Couponing has made a huge difference in my family’s life and I’m looking forward to more savings in 2011. Thanks to couponing I was also able to give back and donate as well which always makes us feel good!!

  44. Jamie

    I only occassionally buy the Sunday paper as I get the redplum & smart source in the mail every week for free. In the St, Louis area we do have a coupon clipping service http://www.clippincraz.com to order additional coupons for a small fee offor instance $0.07 for a $0.75 off which works well for buying multiple items at WAGS to get RR.

  45. Michelle

    I have a budget of 1 ink cartridge per month $14 – $18. I bought 1 huge pack of paper at Sam’s club for $8 that lasted me all year. I subscribed the paper for $.99/week and found friends with paper routes to get the extras. I only allow myself $175 – $200 per month on groceries and household items so once that money is gone the spending stops. I do end up spending quite a few hours prepping for shopping. As for my sleeves for the binder, $16 and I made my own dividers and used a binder I already had at home. We are a family of 3 so I guess we don’t spend near as much as others but our stock pile lasted us all year, even though I stopped couponing for about 4 months last year while planning my sister’s wedding and filming a movie.

  46. rachel

    How can u print coupons from more than one computer in your home?
    I tried it but it says I already printed it. Which I did from one computer in my house. Is buying coupons online worth it?

  47. Shelocta Val

    I buy my paper at Staples everytime they have it free after rebate. I have never run out and we print TONS of stuff.
    My printer is a Brother inkjet. I use Brother because I can buy the refill cartridges through a seller on Ebay for less than $2.00 each. I am the ink supplier for several people. I buy it by the case from this seller. They have a shelf life of 2 years. If you buy one set of ink from him it is $2.00 each including shipping. Since I am buying a case I get a better price but still resell it for 2 bucks each. Everyone is happy with this and keeps coming back so basically they are paying for my ink usage. I print most of my coupons in grayscale.
    I only shop on my way home from work. I will not make an extra trip in town unless it is for something unavoidable. I subscribe to a daily paper and would whether I was couponing or not. I pick up a city paper every sunday but pass the paper on to my dad to read.
    As far as time- I clip anytime I sit. If I am going to watch a movie or the news I have a small trash can and scissors handy at all times. I used to play games on facebook which was a HUGE waste of time. Now I spend it trolling hip2save and follow Collin’s deals- it is more fun and productive than Farmville ever was!

  48. Dani

    I stopped printing the coupons until the matchups come up on Saturday. Occasionally, like with the Swiss Miss I did print immediately because I knew that I would use them. When I started couponing, I was spending an abnoxious amount of time and supplies printing, clipping and organizing. I found that I threw most of them away and did not find an opportunity to use them. Now I simply file the inserts whole and have a file for IP’s that I can flip through quickly. It takes a little more time on Saturday night to find, clip, and plan my trips, but far less in comparison. I like to buy two papers a week for 3.00 and if I’m out shopping then I will use store cash when possible. On occasion I buy more if I know there is something in there that I need and sometimes I don’t see anything and won’t even bother. Now that I am a little more seasoned, I know what deals are rare and what will come around again in two weeks. I usually shop later in the week even though I run the chance of the shelves being empty, I like to wait and see what unadvertised finds may pop up and I am not making more that one trip unless it’s to die for! Honestly, very little is.

  49. suzeeeeq2

    I am going to keep better track this year
    Amazon.com has great deals on printer ink I bought 10 cartridges for $12.00
    I get free or for pennies printer paper at office depot when they have rebates.
    I am new and obsessed right now, but the payoff in giving friends and family free stuff is priceless. You have helped me become more generous!

  50. Kay

    I buy my newspapers at McDonalds for 99 cents.

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