Numerous newspapers, flyers, brochures, and websites give you access to coupons for almost anything. There’s also a popular TLC show called “Extreme couponing.” It pictures people who want to live more frugally by collecting coupon clippings. However, this can be highly time-consuming, particularly for beginners who want to go “all-in.” With that said, is couponing a hobby or a lifestyle? This article should help clear things up.
Does it come naturally?
When you move homes frequently, you encounter different environments, people, and living costs. Thus, smart or frugal thinking unconsciously becomes your nature. The key to not losing your mind (and money) is to make sure you have enough time. This rule stands for packing, preparing for the move, and learning about the city that will soon become your home. This way, you will also have time to get a good deal and use coupons to save money on your move.
If this sounds like a situation you might find yourself in, let’s take a more in-depth look at how couponing works.
Anyone who has watched the TLC show on couponing must be dazzled by the potential savings couponing can bring. However, the show doesn’t really portray reality. Saving tens or hundreds of dollars with couponing can be extremely tricky.
Successful couponing requires two key things:
- good organization, and
- a lot of math.
Math is essential in the couponing world merely because you want to avoid paying the full price for a particular item. Additionally, you could end up having to return all the products to the shelves because you might’ve miscalculated something.
Therefore, our best advice is to take it slow. It’s wise to clip or print whichever coupons come your way. This way, you will gradually get a hold of things and dive into more advanced couponing waters.
Coupons can be found in many different places. The main two kinds are paper and digital. The latter goes hand in hand with online shopping, but you can also print them out.
So, where can you find them? Newspaper ads, coupon leaflets, and market leaflets are the most common ways to find good deals. However, couponing websites have become more popular over the years. Digital coupons are generally easier to find (especially if you know what you’re looking for).
Here is a list of some of the most popular couponing websites:
- Coupon Network
- The Crazy Coupon Lady
- Passion for Savings
- Money Savings Mom
People who do couponing as a hobby tend to stick to one or two favorite websites and print out the coupons they are interested in. On the other hand, extreme couponers maximize the use of paper ads and go through all the websites searching for good deals that can save them a lot of money. Furthermore, they usually dedicate a set amount of time each day to go through the offerings.
Organizing your coupons
The key to succeeding in almost anything in life is staying organized. The same goes for couponing.
Being on top of your organization game is helpful in numerous ways. First of all, if you want to dive into the couponing game, you don’t want to be the person who holds up the line while shuffling through an endless pile of coupons to find the ones you need. Secondly, you want your organizational system to be functional and not cause you additional stress.
So, let’s take a look at different organizational techniques.
- By expiration date – this is probably the most efficient option. However, it makes it harder to find the exact coupons you need in a timely manner.
- By category – this is the most time-consuming organizing method. However, it’s more functional as it makes it easier to find what you need.
- Organizing by type and the expiration date will provide you with the best results. This way, you will find your coupons quickly and not miss the best deals.
Differentiating between your wants and needs
The intensity of couponing is what separates the two types. This is probably where the answer to the question of is couponing a hobby or a lifestyle lies.
The crew from beltwaymovers.com states that many of their clients require storage services for all the items they get in supermarkets by couponing. This leads us to the conclusion that extreme couponing is quite frequent.
For example, hobbyists will spend an hour sorting their coupons. On the other hand, those who turn this into a lifestyle spend much more time sorting everything and planning their next shopping trip.
However, this is where you need to be extremely careful. While trying to get more and more coupons, it’s easy to lose track. If not done in moderation, the whole thing will become less about saving money and more about finding good deals, even if you don’t need them.
Is couponing a hobby or a lifestyle? The answer comes down to frequency and intensity. Starting couponing as a hobby is an excellent option to save money for your family. Also, if you do it in moderation, you won’t lose yourself in the world of couponing, and you will have time for other things.
Martha Hackett is a stay-at-home mom and a money-saving enthusiast. Over the years of living in different places, she’s found ways to save money, donate to charities, and help those in need. She now likes to share her tips and tricks by writing blog posts on different ways to be more frugal.