A Series for Newbies – Time Consuming?

Here’s another great question from my newbie friend in TN:

How much time do you devote per week to bargain shopping (coupon clipping, coupon organizing, weeding out expired coupons, scouring ads, meal planning for the week around the ads/coupons/stockpile, and actual shopping). What do you think is a good amt. of time to give to it when you first start and are very slow at all of it? How long will it take before i can be efficient and quick and not have it take over everything else in my life? How do other moms schedule all this (One big day of clippin, organizing, planning, shopping or small increments throughout the week)?–i’d love to see a written out schedule of time slots and whether people bring kids or not. it’s just helpful to get some suggestions that i can consider and see if one of them may work for me.

To be honest, I don’t spend that much time with coupons. I am a crazy stockpiler and feel that works best for me. If you’re new at being frugal and aren’t yet ready for coupons I have one suggestion: ALDI. Although some of their things cost more, in general it’s way cheaper than elsewhere. I have a friend that used to coupon clip but loves ALDI because it saves her time.

Secondly, my hubby likes me to bill myself per hour for all this stuff. Ok, it’s not real but it gives you a good idea. Here’s how it works: Although I’m the house manager and the one who stays home if I’m coupon clipping, sales ad scouring, and planning for hours on end, then it’s probably not saving us money in the long run if I bill myself at $20/hour. Ok maybe I’m worth a little more!!! Anyhoo you get the point. Which leads me to….

Don’t be tempted to shop 5 stores/week! You’ll go crazy and with gas, getting the kids in and out you’d probably be better spending an extra $.20 on that item at one store. Just do one store/week. For me it’s usually a different one a week as I like Meijer for coffee and creamer, Ultra or Strack’s for meat and ALDI for stock up. Each week I have staples we need (milk, eggs and produce) and at the store I’m already at I just go for the best deals.

Finally, once you get good at this, it shouldn’t take long to meal plan around the sales and do some stocking up.

Does anyone else have any suggestions? Schedules?

Newbies – you got questions? I’ve got answers so email me!

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