These days, as a busy mom, it takes me more than ten minutes just to load my kids into the car when we need to leave the house! Ten minutes isn't much, but it is enough to coupon. Yes, you heard me right…I coupon in ten-minute bursts because that's all I have. When people say they don't have time to coupon, I tell them these ideas because I know they can make it happen. Are you a time-crunched couponer? You can use those ten-minute segments of your day and really make a dent in your frugal tasks!
1. Set a timer!
Okay, I know this is dorky, but it really does help me to visualize what ten minutes actually is, rather than frittering away time on my iPhone. I can squeeze couponing tasks in between other things in my day. If a conference call ends early, there's ten minutes! If my daughter sleeps an extra ten minutes for her nap…voila! It's easy to find time to coupon if you make it a priority. I use the timer on my phone, which functions as a stopwatch. By using a timer, you’re dedicating that time to couponing, and it also helps motivate you to do as much as you can in that window.
2. Keep your coupon supplies at hand—all the time.
I keep my coupon binder, scissors, and inserts on my kitchen counter (a real struggle for someone who loves clean countertops!), where I can clip inserts during conference calls, when dinner is cooking, or when I'm waiting for the laundry to dry. I can clip about 4 sets of SmartSource inserts in ten minutes—not too shabby!
3. Use the apps on your phone during down times.
Obviously, using my phone and driving is a no-no, but I try to use all the other times I am waiting to look through the apps and plan out my deals and trips. I look through the KCL current deals while I wait at the doctor's, in line at the grocery store, and if I'm waiting for a table at a restaurant. I also scan articles or deals if I'm in the car and my husband is driving! Good examples of quick apps are iBotta, ShopKick, or Snap by Groupon. (Check out the KCL article on the best apps here).
4. Try not to take "coupon trips."
I lack the time to do whole trips devoted to couponing. I know many couponers do all their deals in one day, or one trip, but that doesn't work well for my schedule with kids and work. Instead, I go to my normal destinations: Target, the post office, church, etc., and add on a quick coupon trip that is nearby. I don't go out of my way to do deals, and this helps streamline my shopping. For example, I needed to pick up a Starbucks gift card for a friend, and I was able to snag a deal on diapers by choosing the Starbucks inside Fred Meyer. That's a deal that took less than ten minutes…and I also got my errand done.
5. Save on eating out before you leave the house.
It takes less than ten minutes for me to google the restaurant we’ve chosen before we leave the house! I see if I can find coupons, usually on RetailMeNot, and print them off. This month, I saved $10 on a purchase at Roadhouse Grill by joining their mailing list, and I saved $5 off two entrees at the Olive Garden. That quick search helped us stay under our grocery budget. I never like to pay full price, even when we eat out spontaneously. Some restaurants even accept mobile coupons, like the 15% coupon I showed on my phone at Outback.
6. Sort your mail.
We get quite a bit of junk mail and advertisements since I do a lot of shopping online. I usually toss it, but I've started sorting it out once or twice a week. It takes me about 5-6 minutes to sort through a stack of junk mail. I clip discounts or coupons (like Victoria's Secret coupons or Gymboree rewards), and recycle the rest. I also sort through the ValPak, a set of coupons that comes in the mail for oil changes and occasionally, restaurants. By taking less than ten minutes to sort through them, I don't miss any coupons that might be expiring, and I also get rid of a stack of mail.
See all you can do with "just ten minutes"? More than you realized! Set those timers and get to clippin'!
This is a guest post by Grace A. of Medford, OR.