I have often been asked, how do I find the time to do all the couponing I do?
I recently wrote a post on my favorite couponing web site A Full Cup .

Extreme Couponing
The method will work wether you are couponing for one or for a family of 10 or more. Its all about being organized and being committed to saving.

Here is what I wrote:

I find the time usually at night. Like right now--its 10:10pm, DS and DH are long since asleep. Now its me time.

I spend about 10-15 hours a week couponing--that includes, cutting, sorting, filing, and shopping (unless its a really HOT shopping week where I need to make several trips to different stores for free deals :-)

It can seem overwhelming at first, but it will take less and less time to do it all once you practice at it. The savings are SOOOO worth it as you will soon find out.

Here is a basic outline of how I try to keep myself organized with couponing time:

Sunday-(about 1/2- to 1 hour or so)whenever I can fit in the time during the day or at night--I cut and sort all my q's (no matter how many inserts I get) that way, if I find my week getting away from me, and I need to run to a store, I know I can do whatever deal I need to because I have my coupons all cut and sorted. This usually takes me about an hour or more with lots of inserts--like this past Sunday. Then Sunday Night after DS and DH are in bed, I surf the AFC boards and start making my lists.

Monday night (about 1/2 to 1 hour depending on how tired I am) I surf the AFC boards in all the forums of the stores I shop in to make sure I know what deals I will be doing and in what stores. Then I put together all my q's with the deals for each store so I am ready to go during the week.

Tuesday (1.5 hrs)-I try to get my regular shopping done--you know, vegetables and fruit and milk--things I have no coupons for. I will get these items at whatever store also has a deal on other items that I want to get so I do not have to make more than one trip.

Wednesday-(about 4-5 hours total-day and night) during the day I will go to the remaining stores for whatever deals I am planning on that week. At night, I will surf the AFC boards again (like I am now :-) ) to see if there are any more deals I missed or someone has found since I checked on Sunday and Monday. Also at night I will put away whatever items I got during the days deals.

Thursday(maybe 1/2 hour if no deals, 1.5 if there are deals)-if there are more deals that I found in Wed. night surfing AFC I will do those today--if not I don't usually do any couponing.

Friday-(about 1 hour) I plan meals for the following week based on what I have in my stockpile. I try to do my cooking on Saturdays for the following week. I cook 3 meals (large enough for the 3 of us to eat with enough leftovers for another meal). I pull my recipies, and start my "mental" (or written) list of what I will need. At night I check the AFC boards

Saturday (about 4 hours) I cook for the following week, and sometimes make a final run for any deals I could not do during the week.

I find the key is to check the AFC boards at least once a day when you have time. I check the forums of "my stores" (the ones I shop in) to see what others have posted, and to see if there is anything new and "Hot". I often post on AFC too--I do most of this late at night.

Once you get in the habit of checking AFC regularly, you can manage your coupons and shopping trips easier because you will know what deals you will be doing and what is on your shopping list. Thus making your trips to the store that much more efficient.
I will tell you that I have found the weeks I feel "lazy" like not wanting to cut and sort my coupons..I ALWAYS regret it! Inevitably, there will be something I want or need on sale, and I will not have the coupons ready.

Couponing has become as much a part of my life as doing laundry or dishes is a part of my life. BUT I chose to do it this way. NEVER have I felt that couponing is running my life--that would not be fun. And I do consider couponing a fun thing. The rewards are GREAT, and they reach so much further than just free food and toiletries.

Decide how much time you want to put into it, and then make your couponing experience work around your life.

I would love to hear how you organize your couponing time, whether an Extreme Coupon user or just a part time coupon user.

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