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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?

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?

Please share your tips below! πŸ˜€

Join The Discussion

Comments 184

  1. Denise

    We used to use a color printer for everything, but we now have a black and white printer (which cost very little). That saves a ton of money. Most of our paper is free or cheap at Staples. I print what I think I might use, though we don’t always use the coupons – and re-use whatever paper with coupons isn’t used by the manufacturers date.

    • Ashley57

      Yes, I also reuse things like school papers and junk mail – anything that doesn’t have personal information.

  2. Lauren

    I used to keep better track of spending vs. saving. The only expense I am sure of is the $6.52 a month I spend on my newspaper subscription. I don’t feel like the time invested in preparation or shopping at more than one store is wasted. I always have plenty of food, toiletries, over-the-counter medicines, cleaning products, make-up etc. I love not running of out something and having to run out for it. I really can’t stand to buy anything without a coupon. I am so grateful for blogs like this. They have really changed my life!

  3. Kristen

    I am struggling with this right now. Kinda feeling like I am spending too much time on shopping trips. My problem is that I don’t want to give up the good deals I get at CVS and Rite Aid, but I’m getting tired of going every week(ish) to keep the rewards from expiring … Even though it’s not a lot of driving, I think all the shopping is starting to wear on me.
    Today I spent $11 at CVS on paper towels, detergent, and Kleenex – none of which we needed. I justify it because those aren’t things that will really go bad, and it was probably the best way to spend my $13 in ECB that were expiring because I got a $10 ECB and $5 in my SavingStar account. But that’s still $11 I don’t have anymore, and I’ll need to spend $10 in one transaction at CVS in the next couple weeks.
    My stockpile is so good I’m wondering if I should stop couponing for a while. That includes most groceries. I have lots of non-perishables, so theoretically, now I should stop shopping and eat what we have. I just get this weird “anxiety” type of feeling when I skip a week. Like I’m going to miss some deal that won’t come around again (even though I know rationally that’s not true).

    • Dee

      I’ve skipped a couple of weeks before. The first week did make me anxious, and then the 2nd week I was pretty relaxed. When I started up again, I realized I was okay with missing a deal here and there. So, not worried about spending too much. Good luck!

    • Jessica

      Im so new to couponing that I feel im making alot of trips to! I am so new that I dont have this down! And its alot to take in, learning all the different stores, trying to matchup the best deals. Im spending all my time online either watching youtube video to learn, or on websites trying to matchup deals. I only have been doing this for 2 weeks, I only have coupons from the last two sundays. I dont really have a stock pill yet and really want to have one and make this work. But I also dont like that store change their deals every week! ITs so hard to keep up with and I am driving to different stores alot for one deal here and one deal there.

      • Danielle

        I personally stockpile about a year at a time. It takes some stress out of it. If I miss a deal, I have plenty on hand so it’s no big deal. And I can focus on just a couple deals that are worth my time and effort. One issue, which I don’t yet know if it’s a bad thing or a good thing. Now that my year supply is pretty good, I find myself shooting for 3 years. But so many deals I’ve come across recently, I’ve been thinking “this is the lowest price I’ve seen on this type of item in 3 years!” So if I’ve been paying nearly full price on windex for two years, and I find it for .50, then I want to not have to pay full price on it ever again! Plus, when you have to buy coupons in increments of 20, you have to use them all or you’re wasting the money you used to buy the coupons.

        • llc

          If you buy coupons (like I do) and you dont neccessarily need 20 of an item, try this. I buy them as quickly as possible so I can take advantage of a deal quickly. Then as soon as they arrive I re-sell the ones I wont use of ebay. I wont sell less than 8 but usually sell 10 or 15. I can always sell them for exactly what I paid for the originally 20. I charge .75 shipping to cover expenses(.46 for a stamp and paypal fee of .30 per transaction). The other ebay and paypal fees are pennies so I dont worry about them.

      • Erin D.

        When I started, I committed to going to only 2 stores a week. I also started shopping at Walmart because there is no weekly end date to their sales. It takes the stress out of organizing your coupons only to have missed the weekly deal deadline. That can be frustrating. Good luck!

    • Jennifer

      I take mini-breaks too. When I know the rewards will expire, I use them on food or milk.

    • jessica

      Kristen, i think everyone gets to that point, I shop at CVS weekly, not necessarily for the deals but to buy my newspapers, the way i see it, if I’m going to spend a set amount on newspapers every week, why not get other things that I can use and pay the same amount or less(generally a lot less, sometimes close to $0 oop) for everything. Usually I walk away with my $9 in newspapers plus anywhere from $10-$100 worth of other product for less then the newspapers cost me.

    • jeanie

      I think this is very common when you first start out couponing. I did the same thing and was driving myself nuts. Since I live in a rural area, I was spending more money than was necessary and stock piling stuff I would normally not even buy. I finally had enough and quit for a good 4 months. I’m glad I took that time to get my head on straight. I no longer chase sales. If I run low on things I know we use, I will wait for a sale and then get enough to last until the next sale. The most important thing to remember is that all the things on sale today will go on sale again in the future. So if you miss out today, don’t sweat it, just keep your eye out for the next sale. Also, I no longer purchase items just to get a RR, ECB or Target GC. It’s just not worth my time to drive out to these stores and purchase items I will never use just to get a RR, etc. The RR and ECB do expire and I’m stuck with a product I will never use. Some people see it as free money, for me it’s not worth the gas it will cost or the initial investment if I do not have something else to purchase that day with RR or ECB.

      • Steph

        I always remember what Collin said in one of her videos she did, don’t get upset if you miss a deal or a coupon because there will always be another one coming. Actually that is so true. We thought we were going to be moving/relocating so back in Feb. I started using up our “stockpile” if you will. I also ignored some very good coupons and deals. It really saved us alot of money for awhile and like I said I used up a bunch of products. But after weighing the pros/cons of moving and taking a new job my DH decided he wanted to stay at the company he was with. So I jumped back in and started again. I guess since I have been couponing for so long I knew it would be a matter of time and there would be good deals to be had once again. But in closing I will tell you that CVS is my weakness. We all have one. I very rarely let a good deal/EB slide by.

        • brandi

          I used to run to all the stores. Now it’s Rite Aid only 90% of the time. It’s on my way home, the cashiers are great, and with my gold discount, if I have UPS that are going to expire, I have go to items like milk and Anti-Monkey Butt that I use them on. Sounds funny but some items rarely go on sale – Anti-Monkey Butt being one of them. It’s something I have to buy regardless for my husband. There is a price to couponing other than money spent. Time, anxiety chasing deals or not chasing, getting there and no products left – I just had to find a balance that worked for me. The only time of year I run to several stores is probably for school supplies. Otherwise, I trust that I will find a deal when I need it. I don’t get mad if I have to pay 50 cents for toothpaste instead of making money off of it anymore(:

      • Lori G

        Jeanie…I’m with you…even though I live in a suburban area with plenty of stores around, I only go to 1 grocery store and Walgreens on a regular basis. I have been couponing for several years now, and my days of store hopping are over! It just isn’t necessary. I also print coupons on recycled paper, and use a laser black and white printer. As for manufacturer coupons, I never buy newspapers any more…too much paper waste, and in my area we never get the better value coupons. I buy what I need from either a clipping service (couponsand thingsbydede), or ebay. Saves paper, gets me only what I need, and is cost effective. For me, I feel the biggest expense would be the amount of time it takes to do all this. And well, I just figure it’s like having an extra part-time job πŸ˜‰

      • Patricia

        I only shop on my way home from work (so it isn’t out of my way) or on my way to work if it is a good walgreens deal as that is the best time when they have the shelves stocked. I have a small stockpile but nothing major. I hate buying paper towels (such a waste) but my brothers will if I don’t and they will pay full price which drives me nuts. Ha! We never had paper towels when I was growing up we used rags and I never really got into using them.

        I do get stressed out when I go on vacation and I miss deals but I have survived. I take my coupons with me so sometimes I hit the stores on the way home unless I am in Germany visiting my mother then I don’t do any shopping of course.

        It is like a part time job and I couldn’t do it without Collin that is for sure. I use recycled paper from work so I only pay for the printer cartridges I guess. I send all my unused coupons overseas to the commissary for the military wives to help them save monies. Being raises as a military dependent and a military wife I know how far the pay checks go.

    • Amanda

      I think every couponer burns out at some point and that’s okay. When you feel ready to start again (like when you have to pay full price for body wash) you will go about it differently. Because I live 30+ min to any store to coupon at, I try to cut down on travel by price matching at WalMart (much less stress than trying to stop by every store). And if I do go to Walgreens and earn Register Rewards, I use them up in a second transaction so not to worry about them expiring. Most of my stockpile lately has come from shopping clearance. If you miss a deal, it’s not a big deal.

    • Samantha

      One thing that I found really helped me– each month I purchase a $25 CVS gift card (bonus: I purchase it through a school gift card program so they get a portion of my purchase!) and that is my budget for couponing for that month. It’s easy for the small numbers to keep adding up, and this keeps me on track. I find that it keeps my spending in check, and my mind in a place where I don’t feel as much of a frenzy! Admittedly, sometimes my urge to get a deal wins out, but it definitely curbs it most of the time! I also Viggle, etc. to earn CVS rewards that I use as “extras” on months I go over.

    • Emily

      When our ECB’s are about to expire, I go to the drinks section and I buy the vitamin water zero that we love and drink all the time. We can’t ever get a huge stockpile of it because they do expire and maybe the grocery store has them a few cents cheaper this week, but we’re constantly buying it so buying it with ECB’s when I don’t need anything else in CVS just to use my ECB’s isn’t going to kill me. I’d rather use them on something I want/need, than buy another roll of paper towels that I don’t need. Rolling ECB’s is great, but I try to limit myself to only doing it on items that I am low on in my stockpile or need. If they’re going to expire before I find those kind of items… I buy vitamin water at full price. I figure, anything I use them on is a bonus b/c I already have the products at home that I purchased in order to get the bonus ECB.

    • Francine

      I am very well stocked also so when I look through the weekly deals I only look for things under $1 or free. Doing this I still like to coupon on a small scale because I enjoy it and I feel like I am getting really good deals. I don’t stress it so if I don’t make it to the store then no biggie.

  4. Sara

    Let me start by saying that we have saved $148,500 cash in the past 8 years thanks to our significant life style changes.

    We buy one paper per week and pick up inserts from friends if they save them. I spend 5 minutes a month filing inserts. I don’t print coupons anymore. I use the online match ups and spend up to 2 hours per month preparing for shopping trips, but my shopping trip is so efficient that the time balances out. I use recycled paper for my shopping list and use old envelopes to hold my trip coupons.

    I search for deals when I’m waiting for the kids, etc. Before I participate in a deal, I ask myself three times if it is a good idea. I cancel more orders that way!

    We spend very little to save, but it sure does add up! Thanks to Collin and other hipsters for making our savings dreams a reality!,

    • Jessica

      I am new to couponing, Im having a hard time starting up and figuring out how to get what I need or even a stock pill of goods at great prices, without going to 4-5 different stores a day trying to matchup my coupons for the best deals. I have not found a way to make anything free yet. Im still learn something, i’ve been watching alot of how to videos. I have only been doing this for 2 weeks, So i only have the news paper inserts from just the past two sundays. What do I need to do to better shop? DO I need to wait until I gather more sunday coupons? Also its so hard to keep up with each stores deals and which is best, they change every week. Do you have any advice for a newbie I would love advice! anyone please! Im spending so much money and time right now! I dont want to lose the drive to make it all work!

      • Christina

        Jessica, I used do the same thing also. Going store to store and driving all over the place. I used to clip every coupon and get whatever because it was a good deal and realize I never used it and I ended up wasting money instead. What I found that works for me is I only clip the coupons that I know I will use or need. Hip2save has a price sheet (I forget what its called) but it gives you a rough estimate what you should spend on something. I also go through all the ads when they come out and price match at Walmart if possible. Sometimes its better for me to go to King Soopers or Safeway because they double coupons. But 1 thing to remember is that a stock pile takes time to build Ive been using coupons for years and I have a minimal stockpile. Its gonna take time. Don’t think you have to have it all down. When I first started I actually was spending more money than I was saving.

        • Patricia

          I am going to hate when our Kroger stops doubling coupons. I get some really sweet deals there. If it is free I usually buy it and then donate it to friends/family or to a nonprofit. It is worth the tax to me usually depending on the price. I love to help people especially the elderly that make a dollar or two much to get food stamps. My brother was diagnosed with crohns and didn’t have insurance for two years because he wasn’t eligible for medicare yet even though he was on SSI. I had to help him so he could pay his doctor bills so every penny helped both of us.

  5. Guest2

    I try not to get reeled in with the rewards things. Like at Walgreens – spend $40, $30 or whatever to earn so many rewards points. I don’t need $35 worth of stuff to earn 5000 points or whatever. I now just buy whatever I need, and if it just so happens to earn me some points, great, but I don’t over buy multiple items just to earn points.

  6. stacy

    I hear you on the deals rite aid etc – when I have a good stockpile I don’t load up again -tp deals come and go and they come back around so its not like these deals will never happen again – it can get addicting but you just need to say do I reaaly need more tp to build my castle or can I skip that deal – my bf has deordorant for a year and I see the deals do I want to buy yes but I don’t its just having self control

  7. Jessica

    I am very new to couponing and so right now I am just trying to figure all this out and have not had any big shopping trips or found anything free. I just spent a bunch on a nice zip binder and dividers and more. So far I have been making a bunch of trips store to store to get a small deal here and there. I’ve also been spending alot of time, try to go though the websites and youtube, learning the ropes! So yes starting off is alot of time and money needed! BUT Im hopeful that I will get this down and it will be worth it! This has become my new hobby the last few weeks!

  8. Sandi Watson

    Hi All,
    I’m relatively new to the coupon blog world but since I’ve been using sites like Hip2Save and maximizing my coupons – I pick up extras from my Mom – I average about $200 savings a month. That includes the savings by using my Target Red (debit) card and grocery store savings card. I really don’t spend alot of time and map out my trips to maximize everything. I’m sure I have a lot to learn but with a family of 6 – every little bit helps!

  9. Melissa

    I was wondering this the other day while watching extreme couponing….you KNOW they buy all those coupons on the internet so how much are they really saving?

    • Bonnie

      Never knew you could buy coupons and why does anybody need 50 boxes of cake mix!

      • Alicia Arant


      • Mona

        Technically buying coupons is illegal. You can get arrested for selling or buying them.

  10. Renee

    I have given up on Rite Aid and Walgreens and only go to CVS maybe 1-2 a month. I shop mostly at Meijer, which doubles coupons in my area, and Target. Kroger stopped doubling coupons here recently so my visits there have become loss leaders or clearance items only. We bought a new laser HP printer last year and I try to print only coupons I think I will use. If I don’t use a printed coupon, I leave it for others and if they use it they save money and I earn 10 swagbucks. I needed to earn extra money to pay for vacation meals this year so I have been swagging every day since January. I have been averaging $75 a month in giftcards.

  11. Courtney

    I’m still new at this, I’ve only been couponing about a month, and I’ve already cut my household expenses (separate from my grocery expenses) in half. I’ve gotten lucky I think and started when a lot of good freebie deals were going and I’ve also got a really good friend holding my hand through every step of this.
    Even after such a short time I’ve already learned what works best for me (my cvs is super coupon friendly and I’m pretty good at rolling deals) and ehat doesn’t q

    • Courtney

      Fantastic. Stupid phone lol. I was saying I’ve learned where I do best and where I don’t (rite aid, and i wont even try walgreens.)
      I think that’s really the biggest way to save without spending- find a store close by, learn their couponing policy and deals, and do whag works for you and your budget. I spend about $24 a week (that includes my newspapers) on my couponing/household budget and that’s gotten us everything we’ve needed, plus extra, and is far less than the 150-175 I used to spend every month!!

  12. Bonnie

    I’m a newbie to couponing! I love it! I do my shopping once a week only buy what “I LIKE”. My stockpile is starting to grow! My daughters(24 & 18) love their weekly surprises they get. Can’t wait for X-mas when I fill every bodies stockings for pennies! I spend about 5 hrs preparing and 3 hours shopping, all my stores are close by This week I did something different I put $100 cash in my wallet and came home with $13! I also started doing % of what I saved and this week it was 51%! I joined BJs because you can,t beat the deals on coffee or Tide and you can use manufactures cpns. This has become a hobby for me and this AM I so enjoyed the Brookside chocolates that I made $1 on! Success never tasted so good! This site is awesome! Keep up the good work Collin!

  13. M

    OT, can anyone tell where I can print cheap pp size pics? At Walgreens for 2 pics its 10.99$ !! TIA

    • nikky

      at COSTCO it’s $4.99 for 4 pics

  14. mzjensgoodfinds

    I do a lot of things to save money. I shop at Walmart and Aldis mostly and go to Walgreens and Target about once every 2 weeks or so. One of the main reasons I shop at Walmart is because I work at the Home Office. I have probably 10 Walmarts within a 20 mile radius of my house. Since I work there, I get a 10% discount on general merchandise, produce, snacks, and drinks. This helps when there are moneymaker deals. I also only buy things that we would use unless they are free. If it is something I cannot use, I give it to someone in my church. I only use one newspaper. I also print out coupons. My paper for my printer we get from Staples in the summer when it is free or $1. I stock up on all my office supplies during the summer with all of the back to school deals so I only have to buy them 2 months out of the year and always have a good supply in my office when I run out. Our printer is also a toner printer which helps since my Dad is a copier technician and knows how to make it last longer. I also like to read books, but I hate to spend money buying them! I always look at the Top 100 free list on Amazon for Kindle books to read on my iPad and iPhone. I also have a blog. My blog is I read mostly Christian fiction and there are many companies who will give you books to read in exchange for a review on my blog and another consumer website. Sometimes, there are books that I don’t like, but for the most part I have liked them.

    I take surveys to make a little extra cash for the things that I like to do. I also sign up for freebies all the time. I work 40 hours a week, but I still get a lot since I check on my lunch break and my breaks throughout the day. One last thing I do is use apps on my iPhone. I use ibotta, shopkick, jingit, and endorse.

    • mzjensgoodfinds

      I also forgot to say that I am an avid Dave Ramsey follower. I listen to his show for free on his website on my iPhone. He has taught me how to save money better than anyone. I have paid off $6000 in the past 6 months and saved over $2000 since I started his program. Budgeting and the envelope system really work!

      • Jennifer

        Great job on starting to pay off your debt! Stay gazelle intense!
        I couponed before DR, but when my husband was laid-off for two years back in 2008, I had to go gazelle intense in everything ~ even couponing. I put $10 a month into my couponing budget line to cover taxes and any OOP. It’s been amazing to buy all personal items, paper products, cleaning items etc on this budget amount. I don’t stock pile more than 6 months out, give surprise bags of goodies to friends and family who give me their weekly inserts and then donate the rest to local church projects.

  15. Mira

    Can some please tell where I can print cheap pp pics?

    • Shauna

      SAMs club or Costco have them for around $5

      • mira

        Thanks Shauna! Will check it out!

    • Melissa

      What is a pp pic?

      • nikky

        Passport size pics

    • nikky

      Costco $4.99 for 4 pics

  16. tracy

    i do the grocery shopping list for my family and we usually go once every month.its usually a huge order. and till then i print all the coupons that we would need. which is a handful and usually around $100 or more. and while making that big trip we use my moms meijer 20% to be able to use on the whole grocery and health and beauty care purchase that she got for her meijer credit card for however much money spent. and no this week is another big shopping trip because my mom also has another 20% to be able to use on the bill,so a total of 40% to be used off each item with my huge stash of coupons. we are planning on making this one count with almost half off every item. are bill is usually around 400 or more,and then with coupons and the regular 20% we get to a little around $200 or so,depending on how much we get. so we always save at least a couple hundred.which to us means we get ALOT of free items!!!!!!!!!

  17. Sarah

    I save money by looking at all the deals and freebies listed on Hip2Save and deciding which ones are actually worth it and what ones I will actually use. I typically only do my couponing at Target because they let you stack coupons, I save an extra 5% with the RedCard and I work there so its easy to keep checking the clearance deals (not to mention my discount). I also keep track of things I use and how long it takes me to go through them. things like shampoo, body wash, face wash deodorant etc. So that i know when i should start to look for deals and to stock up. (I never have more then 5 of one item at a time)

  18. Queenjen87

    How do I cut costs? Well, I have a newspaper subscription. I get Wed/Fri/Sun delivered for $1/week. If there are a bunch of coupons I can use, I go by the dollar tree and pick up 2-4 copies at $1 each. I have to watch my costs because tax is 10% precoupon in alabama. This year I am saving every one of my receipts and itemizing my state sales tax. I know I’ll be over the standard deduction for that! I also switch my internet from my name to hubby’s name as needed to keep it at 19.99-24.99/mo. We do not have cable, we have over the air and netflix. Our cell phones are Iphones, but we are grandfathered into a 10 year old cingular contract for att and pay 1/2 of what people pay now for two smart phones. I also get a 12% discount on our bill through my employeer. I use endorse, ibotta, shopkick, and groceryiq to maximize my savings. I bought a wireless HP printer for under $40 on black friday and get 10 prints of coupons using both smart phones and our computer as needed. For ink, I get XL manufactured cartridges from amazon using my free money I earn from Swagbucks. The LARGEST way that I save money is that I have hardly stepped foot into a walmart (bleh!!) in the last 4 years other than large overage items (which I get shoes and such with that don’t really last long!) and I think I am at about 3 times in 4 years that I have walked into that store. I am sorry, but they are overpriced, rude, very unfriendly to couponers in general, and they run small buisnesses out of town then jack up the prices. (Don’t believe me, visit Brown City area in Michigan. $40 for a pair of jeans that cost $12 here.) I also take internet surveys to offset my internet and netflix bills and my paypal deposits from these also pay for the occasional time that I use a clipping service for extra of hot coupons. I recently transfered my job to a location that is less than 3 miles from my house, so gas is not a problem, and my house is located so that I can do a circle and hit all the stores I want in one days without going out of my way. I have a CVS and a Rite aid accross from my work and visit regularly to hit the “drug store” deals. Target’s mark-down meats are excellent, and Publix is my main grocery store that i spend 10-20 oop (usually 5+ in tax) on 50-100 worth of groceries. In all for a family of three I spend OOP around $200 a month on groceries, health and beauty, cleaning, tolietries, ect ect ect.; usually most of that is tax. Like I said, I’ve been at this over 4 years and have most stores down to a science, and if it isn’t free, I don’t need it! πŸ™‚

    • jessica

      I’m curious as to how much you pay for your phone service on 2 cell phones. My husband and I just cancelled our contract with at&t(didn’t pay any cancellation fees) were we grandfathered in with our unlimited plans w/ I phones also and discount from my husbands employer, still paid almost $180 for both which is beyond ridiculous!! We kept our smart phones and went with straight talk, this past month I spent $21.50 each on 2 unlimited cards!! That’s a savings of almost $140!!

      • Vishnu

        My husband uses tmobile for 1500 anytime mintes and text included, some browsing included too for his iPhone and pays 30$ per month. It’s prepaid though. They also have a 50$ unlimited everything prepaid plan. I find this way cheaper than any other plans out there.HTH

  19. Karen

    We have a laser printer that is 6 or 7 years old that we do all our printing on. I get my ink free, by using giftcards earned on Swagbucks to purchase it on Amazon. I spend at least 6 hours a week between surfing the sites, printing coupons and planning my trips. I only have 5 sites that I frequent the most and I check them all the time. I check on my breaks, my lunch, while I am in the pickup line waiting for the kids to get out of school etc. I consider this my part time job. Couponing/deals have gotten us out of debt. I still do it because #1 why pay retail when I can get it cheaper? and #2 I don’t ever want to be where I was again. I have taught my kids, 11 and 9 year old twins, the value of a coupon. They know they can get things cheaper if they pair it with a sale or coupon and then they can take what they save and use it for another day. I did the drugstores in the beginning (2 years ago) but now I don’t. I just do Target (because they have good sales and stack coupons) and Fareway. Fareway automatically ad matches the other local grocer so the cheapest price automatically rings up at the register. I love this. Especially since Fareway is only 2 minutes away. For newbies, you will find what works for you and don’t be discouraged if you make mistakes all the way. The rewards down the line will make it all worth it in the end!

  20. Carrie

    My husband and I use 4 envelopes (grocery/non-grocery/restaurants/shopping) to organize coupons. We multitask while watching television at night by flipping through the coupons in the envelopes and throwing out the expired coupons and filing any new coupons. Other than that, I spend a minimal amount of time each day quickly flipping through the paper for coupons and checking the grocery ads for hot deals of the week. I do check Hip2Save religiously every morning and I find that for online/printable coupons is very reliable.

  21. Ketsy

    Loving this topic and everyones outlook. One thing Ive noticed over time is that people often dont factor in their gas wasted shopping from store to store to get the sales or to find empty shelves. Also time clipping, cutting, planning… I love couponing and I love saving, but time is money and time with family even more precious. I play stocking up to then quit couponing for a while and do the things that count in my life. As far as regular toiletries, if theres a deal online I jup at it as well. Beginning to appreciate amazon mom and their subscribe and save.

  22. DR

    I say it over and over again…last year I had no toilet paper, food was hard to get, gifts even harder. Thank goodness for hip2save! I’m learning, I haven’t ran out of tp, there are snacks, etc. We are making it. I pass on lots of deals…It is still a tight budget. I work, I have 3 kids and found myself single. My job is far so I can’t dedicate oodles of time couponing. If there is some good deal with free shipping and the budget is there I take it. I started earlier for special events, and admire the couponer who said she saved 148k wow! My goal,build a stash to donate to the safehouse who is helping my teen deal with anger and depression. Those kids need help and the safehouse does help

  23. Danielle

    Another thing I find important when figuring my savings, I only compare my savings to what I would normally spend. If I would usually get body wash at the dollar store, then finding a name brand for .49 is only a savings of .51. Not 4.49 based on the regular price of the name brand. It’s certainly nicer to have the name brands. But don’t let the product marketing inflate your idea of a deal.

    • llc

      I like that. Because many of the items I get I would never pay full price for. I would either buy generic or go to the dollar store.

  24. Tracie D.

    I love to talk budgets. When my husband and I got married we looked over the last three months of bank account statements and categorized our spending. I was shocked to see we (mostly me) were spending $1200 on food!! Eating out was not included. So I cut it in half and now know I cannot spend more than $160/week but usually I’m around $120. We are serious about paying off our car and student loan so we made some financial changes. Just recently we cut out even more like the cleaning lady ($140/month), Honest Co. subscription ($40/month) and cancelled cable ($120/month) and make what I like to call “monster” payments on our car ($2,000/month). When that’s paid off, $2,500 will go to student loan until paid off, and then $3,500 will go to mortgage each month. We roll over what we just paid off into the next debt. Honestly, I’m loving my new perspective on finances and feel so empowered. I can’t tell you exactly how much we’re “saving” with coupons and cutting back, but I know we’re able make “monster” payments toward our debt and live comfortably.

  25. Yvonne

    You know I’ve been wondering the same thing but it hit me really hard since my fiancΓ©e and I started living together I started couponing and we have saved so much money haven’t paid for detergent in 8 months and I haven’t paid a penny for deodorant shaving gel and razors but these past two weeks we decided to only buy the necessary since we will be taking a small trip to Mexico (400 miles away) to visit my mom. I been couponing to take her some stuff just to come home today and realize that I’ve filled my tank up twice in a week that’s $90 not much but too much or me and spent about $50 on items that were worth around $300 so is it worth it????
    Because now I will be rescheduling my trip to Mexico due to me spending money. Maybe some of us need AA for couponer. When I miss a deal I feel so sad and sometimes even angry. How do you guys handle the anxiety or stress? I’m scared ill have to go on meds when I get older.

  26. Brandy

    I don’t spend much to save. 2 Sunday paper subscriptions cost me $20 for the year. Printer ink $14 for 10 cartridges(one set in printer and a back up ready for then the colors run out) that last almost a year. Paper I get either really cheap, an entire case for $25 or free from companies throwing out old letter head. Within 10 minutes of my house I have 3 targets including a super with full grocery, 5 walgreens, 3 walmarts (although I never shop there at all), 2 dollar stores, 2 malls, 3 Publix, 2 winn Dixie, 5 CVS stores etc. I plan my trip in a loop starting with my coffee from Dunkin! I’m done fairly quickly and mostly stick to my list and check some clearance! I fill up my gas tank every 2 weeks!

    • Samantha

      I always start a shopping trip at Dunkin Donuts, too! I NEED my coffee, lol!

      • stacy

        Get a refill cup for ice coffee and hot coffee it will cut the cost in my area (boston) its 1.06 for a refill for a med ice πŸ™‚

        • Brandy

          Lucky you, my refill cup is $1.26 and the replace cups for free when they start to leak from over use because they know me. Being in FL I get the iced and it is so refreshing to start with that’s free dropping the kids off at their schools!

  27. Bea

    Find a store you like and get to know their policy. I always go to cvs for non-grocery items and go to vons for groceries. I maximize my savings by adding just4u q and manufacturer q. I usually spend $13-20 a week. Also, I only buy meat on fridays when they do their $5 specials. You’d be surprised how much money you save when you only shop once a week for groceries. It males you use everything and you learn what you really need to buy and what are just splurge items.With my sister and I at university we have to pinch pennies. Also, cvs is good for cheap juice and soda I usually buy all my drinks there with the ecbs I earn and each month I spend about $60 total since it is only me and my sister.

  28. Samantha

    I started couponing about 2 years ago, when I was about 6 months pregnant with my first baby. At first, the excitement of snagging “too good to be true” deals led me to spend too much time clipping EVERY coupon and going out multiple times per week to snag EVERY good deal that was posted. After having my son, my priorities shifted significantly. The “high” of couponing settled, and I realized that I was investing too much time into “saving.” At least half of the things I’d snagged were STILL sitting in my pantry closet; I may not have paid shelf price, but I still PAID for things that weren’t getting used. That reality woke me up. I donated everything I didn’t intend to use, and from then on, I completely changed my shopping habits.

    Now, I don’t get swept away by every free or money-making deal; instead, I browse the best deals every week and prepare a shopping list based on what my family and I need and use. (I also keep an eye out for items that I can donate or use for gift baskets.) I browse deals online during down time, like after my son goes to bed or when he’s napping during the day. I only clip/print coupons for items that I use, which saves on ink/paper, and I try to group my shopping trips into 1-2 outings per week to save on gas. (Although, that doesn’t always work with a 21-month-old! Some weeks are better than others!) I use Swagbucks, Savingstar, ibotta, Pampers Gifts to Grow, My Coke Rewards, etc. to get gift cards and money back. I’ve cut out stores that continually give me issues with coupons, because the stress and time wasted are not worth it. Over the past few months at Staples, I’ve learned to roll rewards and easy rebates to get cheap paper and ink. I also keep two separate spreadsheets: a monthly budget sheet to track our spending and a weekly coupon sheet to track my spending vs. savings at drugstores/superstores and set my own personal price points.

    With anything in life, I think couponing requires each person to find what works for them, and thankfully, I’m pretty close to finding a balance. Currently, only my husband is working, so I feel it’s worth the investment on my part to save wherever I can and make our dollars go a bit further.

  29. Lora

    I did the same at the beginning and was at Target or the drug stores all of the time. Then I realized how little I actually used. Now I have shifted to buying higher quality food (use coupons when I can) but I now make a lot of my cleaners and beauty products which saves me a lot of money and time. I have less clutter which makes me feel better and I can take my savings and buy fresh food, local food. I also do not blow through so much ink and gas!

  30. liz

    I do need a couponing break but its so hard to pass up on potential would be nice to use up some of the staple pantry items sitting in my cabinet..collin maybe you could set up a challenge for us who need support and dont want to do it alone lol

    • Ketsy

      Great idea! i do this once quarterly cleean out the deep freezer bu eating whatever is in it and the pantry twice a year by using, donating the extra to food drive and discarding the little expired.

      • liz

        a nice challenge for me would be to start slow like each month take one whole couponing week running around..use what you have

      • Patricia

        I have a high school girlfriend that comes to visit once a year and she is really bad. She cleans out my cabinets of all the stuff she knows I won’t use or she doesn’t use while she is there (she cooks and sends me to work with leftovers the next day for lunch) and has me donate it to a food pantry. It is so funny but it is good that she does it.

      • llc

        Before throwing out expired food, I would list in on craigslist. Put it in a box on your porch or by your mailbox (if you dont want to deal with people face to face). Dont give the address in the listing – let the first person to contact you get the address. You would be surprised how many people are in need and dont care if your food is past expiration dates. Way better than the items going into the landfill and it will help out a family.

  31. Vishnu

    Everyone has said it all. Here’s what I do
    Library for newspaper inserts
    Generic XL ink for printer
    Free staples paper
    Cvs for couponing
    Smiths for groceries once a week
    If u don’t need it or love it, don’t buy it
    Life is more than just couponing
    Online free shipping is great

    Like most people I had the HIGH too, but now I let it go and am ok, as I have a decent stockpile and there is no need to sweat. I still donot have any backup on essentials which is what I plan to make a list and look just for those now on.

  32. Kristen

    I do the drugstores in spurts – I get about 1-2 years worth of toiletries in a few months. Then I stop and just continue to use coupons regularly for food at the grocery store. This way, I am not constantly preparing and running to all three drugstores every week of my life to use the rewards before they expire. Toiletries don’t expire for a couple years anyway. LOVE this method.

  33. Kristen

    I NEVER make shopping a separate trip – all the stores are on my way home from work. The only “extra” gas I then use is what it takes to pull in and out of the parking lots! If you have a similar situation with stores along your regular route, this is a great commitment to make.

  34. Cremme

    How we save by “spending” via coupons: we used to go on bi-monthly Walmart-Costco-Target shopping sprees with receipts tallying $600-$800 per month. And that was for everyday necessities such as shampoo and detergent; not including big ticket items.

    That was over 2 years ago.

    Now, we still go to Costco, but ONLY for the specialty foods/drinks, and items that do not normally have coupon promotions. We still go to Walmart, but ONLY to “get paid” (i.e. moneymakers). We still shop at Target, but only for amazing clearance finds and products heavily discounted by coupons.

    Now, I (the primary shopper) am seasoned enough that my routine is to:
    1) check Hip2Save several times a day, but be picky with the deals…
    2) print a bulk of coupons at the beginning of the month and maybe 2-3 coupons per day thereafter, sometimes none
    3) spend 2 hours per week on coupon maintenance and preparing for a shopping trip
    4) spend 1 hour at Walgreens and 3 hours at CVS, just 1 day per week
    6) coupon only 6 months out of the year, relax the other half!

    My budget was $100/week last year while stockpiling and now, it’s $50/week (and this includes the Starbucks I’m sipping on while shopping).

    My best advice is to WEED THEM OUT! Give couponing some time to get used to and then decide where you really want to shop. Weed out the stores that give you a hard time. Boycott the cashiers that just refuse to understand. Stop printing coupons you’ll never have time to use and stop hogging inserts you’ll have to lug around needlessly. If couponing is a burden, then it’s not worth it!

  35. cathy

    I shop at safeway and cvs weekly and sometimes rite aid (not as many deals as they used to have). these are all close and i try to walk or ride bike. many people here said they live close to many stores but still drive. get out and enjoy the spring weather. i also go once a month to staples to get odd supplies needed by kids.

    What printer does everyone use that is low price and will use use generic refill ink and still good printouts? i have epson stylus c84 but generic ink “breaks” it/needs repair.

    • Bobby

      Hp desk jet 1040. It costs around 20 for the printer, and $13-15 for black ink. Color is about $16 at Walmart, but I suggest just printing in black.

    • Brandy

      Cathy, I have a Canon and for over a year have bought mine from seller dealhong on ebay. He is fast and all the cartridges are sealed and have never leaked in my printer. My canon wireless is MP560 and I picked it up for $50 from Biglots. Check for generics before you buy the printer because not all canons have them.

      I wish I could bike if I hadn’t sprained my ankle 3 times and tore tendons and ligaments in both feet. Even walking too much makes it swell up like a giant cankle! ugh πŸ™‚ The only biking I get to do is at physical therapy.

      • cathycampo

        Bobby, My printer ink is about the same price at the office stores. I see those refill ink deals or refill kits and feel envious but they don’t work for me.
        Brandy, Generics do exist for my printer but they don’t work for me. Anything but the “genuine manufacturer ink cartridges” lead to a problem that I don’t know how to fix but repair does. So I stick with what works but still feel envy of that deal.

        • llc

          Same here – generics dont work in any HP printer I have owned. In fact I destroyed a printer that way. I buy ink off craigslist or ebay, usually ebay. I dont care its expired by a few years (as long as its sealed in the bag)- it still works fine. Ink at Walmart – $35 plus tax, on ebay I getit for $25, and I can score it on craigslist for $10. Unfortunately the craigslist deals dont come around as often, so I buy as many as I can.

    • Krista

      I just purchased an Epson wireless printer mainly because it is wireless (AWESOME!) and because I am able to print from our iPad and iPhones. It cost me $159 after rebates and coupons and that included a cartridge of ink. When I checked on it was around $37 for one but it lasts for over 500 pages (I think that is accurate). So for me, a printer at that price wasn’t that bad since I know my ink will last and it is also a copier, scanner, and fax. I was able to get it for almost free with my cash back from Ebates and a few other things I had been saving from πŸ™‚

  36. Bobby

    What I do to save time and money is only go out shopping with coupons once a week per store. I strategize with 3 different sites: Hip2save, Couponaholic, and Southernsavers. I plan my weekly trip or sometimes trips, around the deals at publix. I only buy the bogos, freebies, and items that give me overage, so I only pay little or nothing each time. I go to Walmart, Target, and Kroger only for items I know I can get for free or can’t get at Publix. I use overage at Walmart for money towards gas cards. I usually always get peelies at these stores when I shop. I have a deal with my paper for .50 per paper, and I get 20 each Sunday. I only print the coupons in black and white which I know I will use. I use the wrapp app on my IPhone for free paper and free ink cartridge refills at Office Depot. I also work at an office building where they don’t recycle their ink cartridges, so they give them to me and I recycle the maximum amount each month for Staples rewards. Staples had great monthly deals on printing paper, toilet paper, and paper towels. I get all of that for free. The rest just works itself out. I sign up for every website I can, and get tons of freebies. US Play has a free league for bowling that gives you free bowling throughout the Summer. I use coke points only for free movie tickets. I get free codes for movies through Movie Rewards. I also do free surveys or taste testing when I have a day off. I get all kinds of free restaurant coupons, free concerts, and really cheap travel deals too. It’s just smart to submit for everything when you get a chance. One of the big things coming up is wedding season too. I also sign up in wedding registries as gift givers or guests. They give away a ton of gifts and vacations each year. Just a few things I have learned.

  37. Jes

    I don’t spend money on coupons unless it’s the for the paper. My paper subscription costs me $8.48 every 8 weeks. I purchase ink from Amazon – though it may be generic, it works just as well (and I haven’t had any problems with it running out too fast).

  38. Samantha

    Before I couponed, I had a lot of other mindless and unfulfilling ‘hobbies’ (i.e.– shopping for something or another) that sucked my budget (and a lot of energy) dry every single month. Couponing keeps me occupied, allows me to GIVE BACK to my community, and since my husband and I do it together, it’s family time. Surely there are days when I drive too far for a deal or hunt too long for a coupon, but those were probably days that I previously would have spent too long shopping at the mall or too long trying to figure out how I could pay a bill, so I think it all works out..

  39. Melissa

    One thing we have done is eliminated the cable TV. Now we have rabbit ears for local & network tv and pay about $9 for Netflix and about the same for Hulu Plus. In addition, we have Amazon Prime for the shipping, which also includes free streaming of movies and shows. All in all we are paying a fraction of what we were paying for years for our entertainment. We don’t miss not having all the channels, and frankly when we did have all those channels, we only watched a few anyway.

  40. Krista

    This post came at a great time! I don’t really keep track of what i spent but after reading several posts, I can see how it adds up. I have been couponing for a little over a year now and feel like I was spending a lot at first to get started. I have a decent stock pile of shampoo, razors, TP, soaps, paper towel, etc. I don’t shop at drugstores that much anymore. I don’t like all the rewards and wish they would instead just take that amount off my total instead of finding something else to buy in the store. I would say that I don’t spend as much after doing it for a year. I try to keep track of my stockpile and notice when something is going low that I then be on the lookout for a deal. I also used to buy a newspaper ($3!) and then noticed that my local paper (free) included inserts (all but P&G). That has saved me money and I try to print whatever coupons I can. Most times the coupons I dont get I dont always need the products for. I do spend a lot of time planning my shopping trips and clipping coupons if I am not up-to-date but as of late I can pass by coupons since I am stocked up on the item already. I do get tired of couponing but at the end of the day if i am at a store and know there is a coupon out there for it, I have a heck of a time paying full price!
    Really glad this was posted, it is a good reminder to always think about how much stuff you really need and if some of the deals posted are right for you. It is hard to pass up the deals but looking back on the Victoria’s Secret secret reward card deals, did I really need 3 more bras and 2 pairs of undies? I very well could of went without but sometimes a deal like that is hard to pass up. Now I will try to justify all purchases and pass up more if I really dont need the item.

  41. Danielle

    I don’t pay for newspaper coupons. I know someone who works at a hotel, so every Sunday I get the extra papers that were never used. So normally I get 10 papers with inserts. I go through what coupons I want and then share what I don’t want with someone else. Check to see if there are extras that would normally get thrown out at hotels and ask if they would hold them for you. Beats paying 2.50 per paper for me. Also make friends with convenience store clerks, sometimes you can get the inserts from the unsold Sunday papers.

  42. Jodi

    I try not to be too extreme with my couponing and deals. I have a discount subscription to my local paper. In addition, my parents and a friend/neighbor give me their coupon inserts. I occaisionally will buy an extra, if there are some valuable qs. I find the deals aren’t as good as they were several years ago. I try to only buy freebies/MMers that I will use or can donate. When I first started doing the drugstore deals, I actually kept a notebook of how much I spent and what I earned in store rewards, to make sure I wasn’t spending too much to save! I also don’t want to trade real money for a large store reward that will expire soon, even if it gets me some “free” items. I also love Swagbucks and save my pts for gift cards to CVS or JC Penney. Ink is expensive, but there are plenty of deals for free paper at Staples. Couponing and getting deals can be addicting and very time consuming, so I also have limited the number of blogs I read. Of course, I love Hip2save (esp. the deal matchups!), but I will also check afullcup/forums for up to the minute deals, too.

  43. ned

    11 months ago I started couponing. I read a book about couponing that inspired me so much. When we came here in 2011, we have to buy everything, from spoon to dining set. I was also pregnant during that time so we need to buy things that our baby will be needing. Because of all those things, our credit card debt went as high as 20k. Couponing had help us a lot, as of this month we were able to pay all our debts and hopefully by next month we can start saving for a house.Now, I have a stockpile more than we can use as a family(aside from monetary support we also send them a lot of stuff we got from the dfeals collin had been posting) but nothing is being wasted because my husband and I are supporting 6 more families who lives in the Philippines. Since you can rarely see coupons for fresh produce I started a vegetable garden in our small patio(we live in an apartment) , the seeds, pots, soil I got all for free from home depot when they had the Zombie Mulch game on their facebook page. I also used giftcards in buying meat and vegetables which I get from swagbucks and the valued opinions. I also get a lot of free stuff from coke rewards and recycle bank. As for new clothes and toys, I only buy new clothes for me, my husband and my baby whenever I get $10 off $10 purchase from Kohls, and JC Penney. I also roll my rewards at the drugstores and I only buy stuff that are free or MM, I used my drugstore rewards in purchasing, eggs, coffee, sugar and other basic necessities. Last year I was able to stock up on school supplies which my siblings, nephews and nieces used.

  44. eric b

    I purchase ALL my toiletries and many household items (TP, paper towels, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, brushes, etc, detergent, soap) at Rite Aid. My rule of thumb for couponing specific drug store trips is to spend less that $1.00 out of pocket (not including tax) for every $20 worth of product. Since tax is California is nearly 10% of the pre coupon price, each of these transactions average between 2-3 dollars. Nine times out of ten I am able to keep to my goal. The trick to this is to always have +Up rewards on hand. I do this by rolling the transactions. When I get low, I focus on the moneymaker deals to replenish my rewards, even if the product is not something I would normally use. In this case I simply give away the unused items. In addition, I try not to spend more that the amount of rewards I have. This does mean multiple trips a week but I dont use extra gas simply by making the trips on the way home or during lunch breaks and im not going out of my way. As far as newspapers, I have a 3 subscriptions to LAtimes that I only pay $29/year total! Paper and printer ink- I usually get great deals at Staples with rewards. HP60 ink cartridges last a long time and are very inexpensive so that is not much of an issue.
    In addition, I limit the bulk of couponing to two stores Rite Aid and Target. Trying to get all of the deals everywhere becomes overwhelming and will lead to spending more than you should to save. It is also easier to lose track and let rewards accidentally expire which leads to much frustration. These are just a few ways that I keep costs down…

  45. kathy

    so I feel like i too have burned out had enough toothpaste to last 3 years…. thats crazy. so i realized even if i had to pay full price it would be ok. now im obsessed with your sweepstakes cause ive won some stupid little stuff (ie coffee cups, stuffed animals) it really is free and collin makes it so easy to take that hour you doing couponing for things that we probably all have a 3 year supply of anyway!

  46. Jane does coupons

    I started coupon life 6 weeks ago, since then i have stockpiled about a 6 months to a years worth of supplies, non food, bathroom cleaning laundry medical. In about 2 weeks i will be done with the non food. My budget for my groceries can be $35 a week, maybe a little more. We like a lot of fresh
    produce, non boxed foods. We eat the junk too but we feel it.

    I am out of work right now and have been a full time couponer. We are a one car family and he works out of town 5 days a week with the car. I have an E bike he bought for me. If i really need a car, enterprise will do fine. I love it. Free. I get small loads but all the stores are close. It has been fun. I go everyday. Target cvs walgreens and wallys dollar tree smiths. I spend no money for the car. Its nice not to have to drive a big heavy box to pick up a little gallon of milk.

    I feel lucky. I am overcoming a gambling addiction. I went from losing to winning.

    My fear is that my stock is almost complete but I need to keep shopping, which is my good habit and not have time for my bad habit.

  47. kim

    I am with Melissa, we just cancelled our cable as well. We had a bundle and were getting a “package” deal but there are so many options out there now. We already have amazon prime, bought digital antennas for our tvs and a roku. I was a skeptic, this was my husbands idea and I thought our kids would freak out. Turns out I was totally wrong. Our kids are calmer (no commercial distractions), watch less TV(and dont complain!) and we are saving tons of $$$ a month. Surprisingly too, all the shows we usually watched we were able to get through either amazon or roku. My kids can watch Little Bear, Curious George, etc. The only thing we pay for is wireless internet connection, about $24/month for highest speed.

    • Jane does coupons

      We have been wireless netflis for 2 years but my internet is 55. Who do u use, we have cox.

  48. Jana

    I spend twenty five dollars every week . That includes my early edition papers, supplies and my gas to get them. I like to get the early edition to get this weeks sales with next weeks coupons, for better savings. It seems like a lot but I only use my coupons that are below a dollar at places that double coupons. This helps a lot, believe me I save more than I spend. We only have one of us working in my home. Got to keep expenses low.

  49. maflies1

    Something I started tweaking a little in my pre-grocery shopping routine that has worked very well, is to take the flyers from the stores that come in the mail and out of the newspaper. Look through the first, actually scan for any item that is a good/great buy, and you need or want to get. Put a Sharpie check mark on/by it so it is easily seen. Do this with each ad.

    After going through you Ads, you will see who has the best price on perhaps the same item from all of your ads. Then I make my grocery list on a recycled envelope and put the Store name @ the top, the Item name & size, and Price, and Qtn limit, if any. And do this for each store.

    Then I can save time by comparison shopping at WalMart. Do print their coupon policy and be familiar with it before shopping, and a good idea to take it with you as many cashiers are not familiar with all aspects of it.

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