Looking for a reason to start couponing?

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Earlier this year, I wrote a column on New Year’s resolutions and making couponing one of your top resolutions. I realize some of you may have read the column and never thought another thing about it.

Maybe you love the money-saving tips of my columns but are not convinced enough to actively coupon. Let’s try to change that. Let me explain a few reasons why you should give couponing a try.

Let’s get the obvious reason out there first: to save money. Everyone loves to save money, no matter your age, gender or economic background. Saving money is something everyone can get behind, right?

I generally spend 20-30 minutes a week couponing. This time includes cutting, organizing and planning couponing trips. Trust me, I know everyone is busy. I am a mother of two toddlers, a coach’s wife and have a full-time job. I get busy, but this is just 20 minutes out of your week.

According to the website The Balance Everyday, “Shoppers using CPG (consumer packaged goods) coupons saved an average of $30 a week (or $1,560 a year) to $50 a week (or $2,600 a year), depending on their level of coupon involvement.”

I am here to say that $30-$50 a week is enough to motivate me to coupon. What could your family do with an extra $2,600 a year? Maybe take a nice vacation or pay off some looming debt? Whatever you would use the money for, we can all agree that extra money in our pocket is a good thing.

Did you know that with couponing, you can get free stuff? Along with the regular amount of money-off coupons, there are buy-one, get-one-free coupons. These coupons may allow you to get something new for free in order to try it.

With value-off coupons, you can pair them with sales in the store and get an item free. For example: You have “X” brand of rice that is on sale for $1.25 at your local grocery store. When you get your local newspaper Saturday morning there is a coupon for the same “X” brand rice for 75 cents. You can take this coupon to your local grocery store that happens to double coupons 99 cents and under, so your coupon is then valued at $1.50. You will get “X” brand of rice free. Who can’t get behind that?

During my time couponing, I have gotten many items free such as rice, salad dressing, frozen French fries and even laundry detergent. Getting items free at the grocery store is the best part of couponing and should be one of your top reasons to start if you do not already coupon.

How about using coupons to give back to the community? I would love to be able to donate to all of the worthy causes, not just in Wilson but also around the world. Realistically, our family does not have the funds to donate to every one of them.

I have been fortunate enough to succeed in couponing enough to give back to a few great causes in the community.

There are times when you can get free items at the grocery store using your coupons that your family may not necessarily use. Maybe it’s an item you regularly use, but you are so well stocked with the items that you won’t eat/use them before the expiration date. These are great things to donate.

Maybe after couponing, you still don’t have it in the family budget to give back like you would like to. There are websites such as Coups4Troops that pairs you up with a military family that would love your expired coupons. Military families can use our expired coupons up to six months past the expiration date. This is an easy way to give back to a community without breaking the bank.

Do you have enough reasons to start collecting coupons today? You have nothing to lose if you do, and you’ll miss out on all those great discounts if you don’t!

Couponing seems like just another thing to add to your list of “to-dos,” but just think of all the money you will save from it. Remember to start slow and have fun. Don’t look at couponing as some daunting task, but maybe an adventure or challenge. Keep up with your savings throughout the year and see how much money you actually do save over the course of 12 months.

If you are not satisfied with the amount of money you save, at least you can say you tried it and it wasn’t for you. Personally, if you save any money at all, I would call it a win!

Good luck and happy couponing.

Chelsey Edens writes a monthly coupon and cost-savings column for The Wilson Times.