“Dear Jill: I just started trying to use coupons last month, and I have some questions. I feel like I’m spending too much time cutting coupons out, and then so many of them expire before I use them. I can see why more people don’t do this as it is a huge time commitment. Do you have a better way to streamline this coupon cutting process?” – Simone J.
Absolutely! If you’re cutting every single coupon out of your newspaper inserts each week, then carrying them all to the store with you, you’re spending far too time and energy. In fact, this cut-and-carry-all method really is the “old way” of couponing.
Since 2008, I’ve been teaching consumers a much faster and less labor-intensive method of couponing, which I call the “clipless” method. Instead of cutting every single coupon that comes in the coupon inserts, you’ll only cut the coupons you need for this week’s shopping trip. The next time you plan a trip to the store, you’ll again cut only the coupons for that subsequent trip, and so on.
With this method, you’ll save each week’s coupon insert intact, clipping nothing until you need it. Instead of cutting and organizing hundreds of loose coupons, you’ll create a library of coupon insert booklets to refer to each week.
How do you know which coupons to use for your shopping trip? Coupon sites and blogs around the country write weekly shopping lists that include coupon matchups. Coupon matchups are simple shopping lists that detail items at low sale prices paired with the coupons you need to cut those prices even more. I write weekly coupon matchup lists for seven supermarkets and drugstores, including national chains, on my blog at JillCataldo.com.
For example, a coupon matchup might read “(Name-brand) toothpaste is on sale for $1.99. Use the $2 coupon from the 3/5 SS and get it free.” In order to take advantage of this deal, you’d clip that coupon from your inserts, then…