Time Management: Simplify the Coupons
November 16, 2009Posted by on
I consider myself to be a fairly organized person and therefore a fairly good manager of my time. However, for as long as I can remember I’ve always felt that I “work better under pressure”. I can remember in junior high and high school my mom would tell me I needed to work on a project for school and my response would be, “I’ll do it better if I wait”. I don’t necessarily like to procrastinate, I like to have things done ahead of time, I don’t like to stress about getting things done, or about the things that don’t get done. But for some odd reason I thrive under the pressure of having an approaching deadline or having 5 things to do at once. When I had a regular job those deadlines and pressures were put in place by those I worked for. It was very easy to stay busy and manage my time because if I didn’t I’d let someone else down.
Now that I’m mostly a mom from day to day and not responsible to anyone but myself for the things I need to do, I find it much more difficult to manage my time. After attending the organizing workshop last weekend I’ve been looking for things to cut out of my daily life that take up too much time. Things that are too easy for me to get wrapped up in for too long. One such thing is couponing. Let me be clear…I’m NOT going to cut couponing out entirely. I approach couponing like I’d approach a part time job. It does take some time and effort but they money we save from week to week is well worth it! However, it is very easy to get wrapped up in finding deals and printing coupons and planning shopping scenarios. This was especially true for me (as I’m sure for many others) when I first started couponing. I didn’t know what I was doing so I felt like I had to do everything – look at every blog, print every coupon, etc. Now that I’ve gotten a better handle on it, I can simplify!
I’ve already simplified my actual shopping. I only go to one grocery store. Period. Another store may have a huge sale on cheese but chances are “my” store will have the same sale on cheese next week. Rather than making an extra trip this week to get cheese, I’ll just wait until next week and get it at my store (one exception to this would be an unbeatable deal on boneless, skinless chicken breasts – those are hard to come by). This not only reduces my shopping time, it also reduces my preparation time. I only have to look at one ad. I don’t have to spend my time looking at 4 different grocery store ads because I’m only going to go to one anyway. Same with the drug stores. I do go to both CVS and Rite Aid but I do not go to Walgreen’s. I will not start going to Walgreen’s – even if they do have a fantastic deal on toothpaste. I don’t even pull the Walgreen’s ad out of the paper. Why would I need to waste time looking at an ad for a store I don’t shop in?
Today I have taken yet another step toward simplifying my couponing process. Until today there were two coupon blogs that I looked at every day. One, Southern Savers, is truly a life saver. Couponing, for me, would not be possible without Jenny from Southern Savers. She basically does my shopping list for me each week. Her site is a “must-have” for all couponers! The second blog is more about “deals” than about grocery shopping. As a newby couponer, this was very exciting. This site posts anywhere from 10 – 20 different deals every day. Anything from online shoe sales to Target toy deals.
A few days ago it hit me (I know, I’m slow) that out of all the deals on this site, very few are actually beneficial to me. I take a lot of time each day to keep up with all the new deals and then rarely use them. So, I kept track for a few days. Every time I looked at the site I’d write down how many new deals were posted and how many I actually used. In three days there were about 40 deals – that means 40 new posts for me to read or at least skim through – and I only used two. One was a coupon for $1 off 4 cans of Campbell’s cooking soups and the other was a coupon for $0.75 off Solo plates or cups. While I do appreciate having those coupons, $1.75 is not worth the amount of time I spent on that website over the course of three days.
So, this morning I deleted my bookmark to that blog. If I have a few minutes to kill, I can always type in the address and see what the latest deals are, but now I don’t feel like I have to look at it every time I walk by my computer. AAHHHH…it’s so nice to simplify!