The thought of couponing can be overwhelming. First of all, you have to figure out how to get your hands on the newspaper every Sunday. Do you want to subscribe for home delivery, or will you buy it every week? Or do you have friends who will pass their inserts on to you later in the week? When you get the paper, you have to clip out all those little squares, figure out how to keep up with them, and do something with the rest of the paper. And then, once you get into printable coupons, there's the issue of printer ink, keeping the printer stocked with paper, and all the leftover scraps that come once you cut them out. That's a lot to deal with! But I've found a couple of ways to make these aspects of couponing manageable.
- I was fortunate to find a Groupon for a Thursday-Sunday subscription to the paper that gets it delivered to my door at a fraction of the regular cost. And conveniently, right as I was trying to figure out whether it was worthwhile to renew or not, the Groupon resurfaced and I was able to extend for another 6 months!
- I got a cute coupon organizer as an anniversary gift, and I've posted before about how I use technology to keep track of all my coupons. I try to revisit the physical organizer and the online list at least once a week.
- I save most (but not all) of the newspaper bags, and they come in handy occasionally.
- We recycle all the newspaper (and in fact, we really barely read it), but it also comes in handy around the house. Just this past weekend, I pulled some sections out of the recycling bin to lay over the carpet as we brought in all of our grimy camping gear! I'm sure if I were intentional about it I could come up with even more great ways to use newspaper. Do you have any favorite tricks?
I actually got into printable coupons before I started clipping from the paper, which I think is backwards from how most people do it. I saw many coupon blogs talking about the merits of laser printers, and that's one way to keep costs down. Andy and I found a great deal on a black and white all-in-one Brother printer, and I think we've only had to change the toner cartridge once in the year or so we've had it. Plus, when we do need a new one, there are almost always sales or coupon codes if you order online. Laser printers have a reputation of being expensive, but the black and white versions are more reasonable and make up for the upfront investment through ink savings.
When it comes to paper, believe it or not you can often get FREE paper from office supply stores like Staples. If you keep an eye out, they regularly run promotions where a certain type or brand of paper is on sale, with an offer to send in an easy rebate worth the whole amount. So, you only end up paying tax! Yesterday, I submitted my rebate online for their most recent promotion. Hammermill Copy and Print paper was on sale for $6.99, with a $2.00 off coupon available from Staples.com. I shelled out $5.39 at the register and will get back $4.99 in a few weeks. $0.40 definitely makes printing coupons worth it!
I save all the partial sheets of paper that result from coupons that don't take up a whole page and keep them on a clipboard. I use these as my go-to paper for to-do lists, weekly meal planning, and other things that need to be written down around the apartment. This way, I don't feel like I'm wasting much paper at all! For me, all of these tactics help using coupons make sense.
Loyal readers, as we head into this weekend, prepare yourself for an exciting survey and giveaway coming on Monday! I'm heading to a frugal living conference in September, hosted by several big-name-to-me bloggers, and I want to do some thinking about the purpose of this blog. I'll be asking for your feedback in a few areas, and I hope you'll click through on Monday to take my polls! One lucky reader will be randomly selected to receive a copy of Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.