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Accounting for Couponing Expenses

Couponing is like most things in life, It Takes Money To Save Money.  When I was first getting my feet wet in the couponing world,  I thought it was necessary to pay for a monthly subscription to a website to help me find the deals.  I paid $14/month for several months before I really discovered that this was a total waste of money! If any of you are still paying for a monthly subscription to a website I would invite you to quit!! It’s actually one of the Couponing Expenses that you do not need to be paying.  I still remember when I quit my website, I was so nervous to do it without their help… would I get the same deals?… would I miss out on something Krazy?…. It’s scary!!  But I quickly found many resources that helped me MORE!
It Takes Money to Save Money!

My husband took a lot of convincing that couponing was worth it. He was convinced I really wasn’t spending much less on groceries especially with ALL the expenses I was paying for (newspapers and buying coupons from a clipping service, paper, printer ink, ect).  If you are needing to convince yourself or your spouse that this is worth it, take a look!   Now, this is assuming you are buying coupons online and getting the Sunday Paper. This is also assuming you print coupons 24 hours a day and go through paper and ink like crazy! I only replace my cartridge every 4-6 months, but for simplicity sake this example goes through a lot more supplies! :)  And we all know we are Krazy Coupon Ladies and don’t pay FULL PRICE for anything, especially ink and paper!
__________________________________________________
Multiple copies of Sunday paper: $15/month
Purchasing &shipping coupons from a site such as
collectible coupons
:
$15/month
Ink from Printing Coupons: $25.00/cartridge
Paper from Printing Coupons: $5.99/ream
Total Expenses: $60.99

In a typical month, I spend $275 on all my groceries, household shopping, cleaning supplies and toiletries for my family of four.  Without coupons, my total would be over $1100!

If you want to account for the $60.99 spent on supplies you could say you spent $335.99 and saved 1133.60 which is a 70% Savings!

Do you include your supplies when calculating your money spent on groceries? How much do your supplies cost a month?  Oh, and are any of you paying for a website subscription?

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40 thoughts on “Accounting for Couponing Expenses”

  1. Lisa says:

    I remembered seeing my mom cut out coupons from the paper when I was 7 or 8. She had her usual schedule on Sunday morning, coffee, eggs and toast, then she would spend an hour cutting all her coupons out. Strangely it was theraputic for her.

    Five years ago I graduated from college and got a job. I assumed that I would be making tons of money to pay off my 30K/yr in student loans… completely naive now that I look back on it. But, I found myself barely getting by after I had to pay rent ($800/m) and student loans ($500/m), so I started clipping coupons.

    After five years of clipping, you kinda find your groove… you know that the grocery stores run sales on certain products every month or bi-monthly, and you also know to look for those products in the sunday papers or online.

    I do not purchase weekly newspapers anymore, since some sundays they will NOT have the coupon inserts (usually on holidays) or even worse, you get home and realize that someone has your coupons out. Now, I to the 7-11 on sunday morning, carefully go through the newspaper to see what coupons are running, thumb through the coupon books, and if they are not ones I know I would use, I don’t buy the newspaper. And yes, I leave the newspaper just how I found it, all neatly together.

    I came across this website about a month ago and it really rocks!! It was comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one who loved getting such great bargains :) Thank you Krazy Coupon Lady!!

  2. Natalee says:

    I home-school and so my kids don’t bring home papers from school. I am excited about these great ideas to save money on ink and paper.

    Thanks!

    I also used to not leave the house for two to three days and now (since couponing in the last two weeks)I feel my gas budget is going to suffer. I hope everyone is right that it will be worth it. It seems like it so far.

  3. shanna says:

    i love coming home and listing off for my husband the things i got at the store: 4 jars of peanut butter, 4 jars of pasta sauce, 5 sodas, etc and then we play a game on how much he thinks it would cost….lol. he knows i never pay full price for anything, so he has to guess – without going under!

    he had surgery right after being laid off a few months ago and this is the reason i started couponing. i know i have spent $$ on the supplies for couponing: a binder, trading card sheets, newspapers, etc, but my pantry, freezer, and laundry room are filled and if i had to go a month without buying anything but milk i think i could do it – all while spending less than i normally would.

    i never kept track of it before, we don’t really live by a budget, but my goal is $50-75 per week for a familyof 4 and so far I have not had any problems meeting that goal.

    i do get discouraged when things dont work (ecoupons – hugh!) and at first tried to do every deal that i came across on the web, but now i just look for things that i know my family would use/like to use or things that are free and i’m going to make them use… :)

  4. Lynette says:

    I have started a spreadsheet this year to track time spent clipping, filing, checking blogs–i.e. couponing–along with my savings. So far I am “earning” at least 12-15$ and hour of tax-free income that works around my schedule. I consider it my part-time job. After all, didn’t our Grandmothers always say, “A penny saved, is a penny earned.” My hubby is much more supportive of the couponing when he can see it in black and white!

  5. Sherry says:

    There was an interesting article on yahoo saying that couponing is worth more than $80/hour!
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704820904575055392244583592.html

  6. Ida says:

    I have my kids bring home all their graded or scrap school work and will print on the back of those papers. Only the stuff they don’t want to save. I never thought about the quick print. That is a great idea.

  7. Natalie says:

    I don’t pay for ANY of my coupons. I get all of them from the recycle bins, my family, and my students! It takes up to 3 months for me to use a 500 sheet ream of paper and I use the quick print option that doesn’t require very much ink. If I calculated my expenses…they’d be approximately $10 bucks a month. And, since January (when I began my coupon quest) I’ve saved with coupons ALONE…$644. I have even sold packs of EXTRA coupons on ebay and made $25! I haven’t included the expenses in my monthly budget because they are so minimal. Our grocery budget is $600 for a family of six to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And, we eat 90% natural and organic foods. Thanks for all the coupon help!

  8. Tedi P says:

    I use this company called dealstomeals.com and I only pay $4.99 a month, and it comes out of my paypal account, and I do survey’s for another company that gives me cash for doing them so they pay me through paypal. So I really don’t spend MY money on it. It’s how i justify it.

    I do have a question though. So it’s just my husband and I and we only budget $120 per month on groceries, but that is just the food part, I also have another budget for the toiletries. I just am scared to buy a paper and end up not using the coupons. Any ideas or motivation for me? And is it even worth it for me and my husband?

    • couponchic says:

      A Sunday paper usually costs about $1.50 if you pick it up from the store, I’m pretty sure out of the coupon inserts in the paper you will be able to use a few on things you would buy anyways, especially for toiletries, and pay off the price of the paper. Also, if you want to see what coupons are in the Sunday paper in advance you can check out the Sunday Coupon Preview and see if you’ll use any coupons. I think using coupons is worth it for anyone!

  9. Cris says:

    I know many balk at the “amount saved” that is printed on bottom of an Albertson’s or other store receipts and think that there is no way you would have spent that anyway, thus many of you are estimating your savings at a lower percentage. Well, I have personally witnessed many others at other stores who have no idea on how to save and actually do spend that much for the exact same things I’m buying. I mean full-retail price. My sister-in-law is one of those people. So I most certainly use that amount at the bottom of the receipt to calculate my monthly savings. I reason it as if I were to shop somewhere else that doesn’t have “club-member” specials using a card or what not I’d be paying that price. And there are stores in my area where you could easily pay full retail. As for my sister-in-law…I’m slowly teaching her what I’ve learned so far.

  10. Cris says:

    I think I jumped on the band-wagon just in time…. I didn’t even know there were websites you HAD to pay for to access great deals, etc! I just found fabulous blogs like this one and great forums on the web.

  11. Leah says:

    Ladies – I am in my second month of couponing. I have yet to replace my printer ink, but have been going through tons of paper. I am recycling paper by using the side not printed on. Overhead costs are insignicant because I have saved roughly over $800.00. Before coupons I only shopped for necessities. There were many times we went without food and household supplies. We simply did without. Last night I shopped Walgreens and came home with 17 items worth approximately $.46 each. What a wonderful feeling to have six boxes of Kleenex with lotion (the kind the hubby likes) knowing regular price is in California is $2.19 each. I shop now more than I ever did and loving it.

  12. Shannon says:

    I’m at stay at home mom, 23 yrs old and two kids. (14 moths apart) just got my son out of diaper during the day. We are on a very tight budget and I just starting using this site because a friend told me about it. Our weekly food budget is $75 a week and that includes cleaning supplies and diapers. How on earth do you do it??? ANY advice would be greatly appreciated! We constantly go over budget by about $15-$25. I would love to have a good stock pile, food my kids like, and not be nearly starving by the end of the week.

  13. Erica says:

    Hi,

    I don’t pay for a coupon website, and I don’t account for all of my supplies such as ink, printer paper, and newspapers, but I guess I could.

    If I did it would be less than $4 a ream of paper a month because I don’t use a whole ream, ink would be less than $50 a month because I don’t use the entire ink cartridge, and news papers cost me 88 cents each Sunday and I get 2.

    Hmm…not sure the total I would say each month. As of now I think I’d just say $1.76 for the cost of my newspapers.

    Also, I have 2 neighbors that give me their coupons too! BONUS!

    I’ve just started couponing, so I’m guessing I don’t print as many coupons from my home computer as some do.

    Thanks for the thought though, and I will start including this in my budget!

    As of now my monthly budget is $200 a month for groceries, bathroom supplies, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, diapers and wipes. Although I’ve just started I hope this budget will work.

    Oh and it’s for a family of 3…just a baby though so no food for the baby, just diapers and wipes!

    Thanks Krazy coupon lady! I love your site too!

  14. Erica says:

    Hi,

    I don’t pay for a coupon website, and I don’t account for all of my supplies such as ink, printer paper, and newspapers, but I guess I could.

    If I did it would be less than $4 a ream of paper a month because I don’t use a whole ream, ink would be less than $50 a month because I don’t use the entire ink cartridge, and news papers cost me 88 cents each Sunday and I get 2.

    Hmm…not sure the total I would say each month. As of now I think I’d just say $1.76 for the cost of my newspapers.

    Also, I have 2 neighbors that give me their coupons too! BONUS!

    I’ve just started couponing, so I’m guessing I don’t print as many coupons from my home computer as some do.

    Thanks for the thought though, and I will start including this in my budget!

    As of now my monthly budget is $200 a month for groceries, bathroom supplies, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, diapers and wipes. Although I’ve just started I hope this budget will work.

    Oh and it’s for a family of 3…just a baby though so no food for the baby, just diapers and wipes!

    Thanks Krazy coupon lady! I love you site too!

  15. Twin Mom says:

    I think grocery costs depend in large part on choices (like how much fresh produce you buy) and personal needs. (My husband needs a specific brand of saline solution or he gets eye infections. I buy a specific laundry detergent because it preserves colors as well as removes stains to let clothes last through three boys.)

    So, my grocery budget is higher, but my medical and clothing bills are lower. I’m sure each family has tradeoffs like this.

  16. I love these comments, very interesting! When I first started “couponing”, I was terrible at it. We spent around $220 for my husband and I, but at the end of the month, our shelves were completely bare and I had no money left. It took me over the course of a year to build up a stockpile and really learn how to coupon well, and I have slowly been able to drop our budget to $165/month for a now family of three (almost four). This includes toiletries and diapers. I also include ink, paper, stamps for rebates and envelopes. I shop like others and only buy paper and envelopes when they are on crazy rebate at Staples, I recycle my ink cartridges and use my rewards for buying new cartridges. I also include our Sunday-only newspaper subscription (2/Sunday). This is the best way I can account for all the expenses, is just building it right into the budget.

    When I first started, I would do a meal plan and then buy what I needed, whether it was on sale or not. If I had a coupon, great, but I would still buy the item if I didn’t. Now I shop the weekly ads and meal plan off of what’s on sale and what is in my pantry. When something that we use as a staple is at a low, low price, I stock up!

    To save on toiletries and diapers, I generally only shop Rite Aid and buy items when they are free after rebate or super, super cheap. I pride myself on finding the cheapest diaper deals to purchase and to share. I don’t shop at Costco or any other warehouse, because my prices with coupons are so much cheaper.

    In response to those asking about inflated savings, when I track through Excel my weekly shopping, my shelf cost of an item is what it was on sale before coupon. I don’t track the regular price because I would NEVER spend that. :) My savings are always around 70% off of the sale price.

  17. stephanie says:

    I set my printer on “economy” and b/w so it uses less ink. I also use all of my kids handouts and old papers from school to print on (the backside). I hardly ever buy paper because they send so much home with the kids!

    I like reading these comments because I’m still new at couponing and have yet to get my grocery bill lower than $400 a month. I wonder if it’s because I include toiletries and household things in that amount (and sometimes clothes). Oh well, I’ll keep at it if other people are making it work! Maybe someday I’ll get even better!

  18. Diana says:

    I just figured this out the other day myself. I used to spend $500-$600 a month on groceries and another $200-$300 on toiletries and such at Target. Now, I typically spend between $60-$80 a week on everything (including diapers)! I’d say $300 a month on groceries and toiletries etc., and another $60 between paper inserts, ink, and my new favorite online store, Collectable Coupons! I’ve just been couponing since the beginning of this year, but I’m hooked! I’m definitely starting to see a huge difference in my checking acct. too!

  19. Anna says:

    How do you only spend $275/month on groceries, household items, toiletries, etc., combined for a family of 4? I have been couponing for about a year now and have a pretty good stockpile of toileties and such, but still have to spend $ for groceries. (Although Costco spenging has gone way down.) I still average $400/mo on groceries for my family of 4. What am I doing wrong???
    Anna

    • Neva says:

      Are you only buying the things your family needs? when I first started couponing over a year ago, I would run out and try to follow every scenario I saw on websites, until I realized that buying things I don’t need or my family doesn’t use (even at a minimal price) was still money out of my pocket. I now only buy things that I know we will use – and it has made a huge difference.

  20. I have never paid for those coupon websites. I always thought it was ridiculous for someone to tell how to do the things I was already doing.

  21. Jessica says:

    Before couponing I would go shopping about 1-2 times per week. Now, I am shopping probably 3-4 times per week and multiple stores. I am saving money, but it feels like I’m always on the go!

  22. Jasmine says:

    I count newspapers, ink, and paper. But I’m more interested now in what in costs for me to run around to different stores. (gas) Luckily I live in a highly-populated area- i have a walgreens, super target, walmart, CVS, tom thumb, AND kroger all less than a mile from my house (yes, that IS a little crazy!) Im a stay at home mom and so i go out once a day or once every other day. Before couponing I think I would shop once every 3-5 days. So I’m sure it may not end up being TOO much more, but still something to consider.

  23. Twin Mom says:

    Do other people have trouble with cashiers rejected black and white coupons because they’re afraid they’re photocopied?

    • Neva says:

      I have! It was sort of embarrassing … but if you have two of them you can show them the different codes (at the top right of the coupon) to prove that they aren’t copies. Some stores still won’t let you though.

  24. Rochelle says:

    I count the expense of paper and ink but it’s not much! I buy the paper at Staples when they have the rebate and it’s about $1 per ream. I bought a laser printer (black ink only) on a day after Thanksgiving sale a few years back for $100, and buy generic toner online for $25. (versus $80 in the sotre) That last 5,000 pages! Plus I print my coupons on paper that came from my recycle pile. (Cashiers don’t care what’s on the other side of your coupon.)I am telling you ladies, forget ink jet printers and go with an inexpensive laser printer like a Samsung. You will not regret it!

    • Alyshia says:

      I use recycled paper to print my coupons too! I don’t buy paper unless I need it for printing other than coupons.
      And I print in black and white (and ink saver mode), so I don’t have to buy ink that often. Costco refills my HP printer ink for $10. Sweet!

  25. rattriffic says:

    I never ever pay more then $3.00 for a ream of paper and when they are $3.00 or lower I stock pile just like any other item. I am able to purchase LD brand ink cartridges that run 5 bucks each and 8 bucks for the big ones and they last about three months so $23.00 every 3-4 months I only shopped at albertsons for their specials and other stuff I went to walmart and put up with gross stores, terrible service, uneducated/rude checkers,no help when you needed it and dreaded going shopping. My bills for groceries and all house hold stuff was about $500.00 a month I like certain things that are expensive:-) I now only shop at Albertsons, ofeten share my deals with my mom, my single parent neighbor and a friends daycare, we also donate to corpus christie house and the food bank alot! I have a garage that looks like a grocery store and my bill is about $150.00 a month and sometimes I will go a month and not buy anything but veggies and dairy just to use up things so my bills for 4 months out of the year are about $25.00 my yearly expense is about 1700.00 including paper, and ink!!!

  26. linda says:

    I’ve never really added in my paper and ink expenses. I have a laser printer, so it is fast, and it doesn’t gobble ink at all.

  27. kristine says:

    I always calculate savings over the albertsons receipts and then tell people that I saved 70% off of albertsons full prices which would probably translate to 35-40% off of generic winco.

  28. Loraleigh says:

    At first I really hated printing coupons online because of ink and paper costs. Now I buy ink cartridges off eBay that are compatible with my printer (but not necessarily the brand name ones) and I buy reams of paper from Staples every time they have a rebate (making paper $1- $2 a ream). I have a large stack of paper waiting to be used that I only paid a few dollars for, and it’s been months since I bought ink (last time I paid $15 for 2 sets of ink cartridges – my printer takes 4 cartridges, so I paid $15 or so for 8). It makes it much cheaper to do.

  29. Stacy says:

    I just started and have been thinking about this. I am glad you posted about it. I was wondering if people figured in the cost of paper, ink and subscriptions, and gas. So far for me gas isn’t too much an issue, I try to stop on my way to other places, I have a lot of stores around me. Getting started my biggest “cost” has been mistakes, like not getting a registar reward because I bought two items together instead of seperating purchases, or not handing coupons in a certain order. Right now it is an hobby/experiment but I see it paying off.

  30. Bonny says:

    I pay all those overhead expenses (newspaper etc.) and have still been able to shave my budget by $200 a month from what I used to pay at Winco and Walmart. I do most of my shopping at Albertsons and have been able to build a big stockpile (and still spend less).
    I have three kids (four if you count the one I’m expecting and who causes me to eat enough for another child) and I’m a stay at home mom.
    I get to use much better products and don’t come close to going over budget each month. I used to have to put a moratorium on spending the last week of each month just so I wouldn’t go over budget.
    It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it and think it’s totally worth it. $200 in my pocket each month is worth all of it. I figured it out one day and It was like making $10 an hour from home except I didn’t have to pay taxes or child care expenses so it seems like more.
    That’s just my experience, but I think it’s a pretty realistic one.

  31. Charlotte says:

    It seems to me that your total is a little inflated. Yes, maybe if you had paid full sticker price for everything at Albertsons and always bought name brand you might have spent that much. But really, without coupons, you probably would have shopped somewhere cheaper like Wal-mart or Winco, and bought a few store brand products.

    To think that someone “would have” spent over $1000 on a family of 4′s basics in a month (even with some stocking up) is ridiculous.

    WITHOUT coupons, I can spend around $350 and get everything my family of 4 really needs and then some.

    • Heather says:

      I use my receipt to calculate the savings. I am sure I would spend less if I weren’t couponing and shopping at Albertsons, but I am not willing to spend the time to calculate it based on Walmart or Winco prices. :) Also, I am spending less than my pre-coupon days and I have a huge stockpile that I didn’t have before I started.

  32. Twin Mom says:

    Check your accounting- you appear to convert your (already monthly) supply costs to a monthly figure for your calculation.

  33. Twin Mom says:

    What about vehicle mileage/gas for driving to stores? I estimate that’s my biggest expense.

    I also don’t compare my savings to Safeway’s regular prices, which I wouldn’t pay anyway. I compare to doing all my shopping at Winco, which I did when I was working full-time for cost reasons.

    My husband views it as entertainment- the return per hour is not that good, at least for me.

    • Neva says:

      I also do my price comparison based on WinCo and what my monthly budget is. Since I do NOT have a $1000 a month food budget, it’s not accurate to say that I saved $750 on food if I only spend $250. My monthly budget is more like $350, so my savings are actually $100. I look at my Albertson’s receipts sometimes and laugh when it tells me how much I “saved” since I would have never paid that much in the first place. I would have gone to WinCo or WalMart and paid at least 30% less.

  34. Trisha says:

    I include my coupons (newspapers and such) right into my monthly grocery bill. The paper (we get for $1-2/ ream at office supply stores) and ink (we use our reward bucks at these same stores to buy ink cartridges at discount) get put in our general household budget. The ink and paper really end up costing a small amount that are hard to account for on a monthly basis.