When I find that a deal just isn't worth it for me... I like to leave the coupons for another shopper! This practice is called being a 'Coupon Fairy!' Hmmm, it looks like I just got my wings... wink!
What kind of a price tag do you place on your time?
Being an avid coupon spender, I've learned to set some pretty well defined parameters for my own personal deal seeking!
My first year of coupon spending bliss, if I'm gut level honest, consisted of me shopping at least three times per week! My son was a baby, he was easy to entertain (he mostly slept in his car seat) and quite often, when the weather was warm enough, we'd shop via our stroller since we live close enough to CVS, Walgreens, Target (my most fateful downfall!) and a grocery store... heck, I'd call it a great way to shed those post baby pounds!
But, my perspective began to change when I felt like my son started suffering from 'cart seat butt' (yep, I coined that phrase) and I began to worry that his first sentence may be "Mommy, lets go shopping!!!"
I literally (very embarrassingly now) shopped all of the time. If I read sweet deal that a blogger had posted online, I felt the need to swoop in and duplicate the deal for myself! Yep, I was a major donor at my local food pantry, which is awesome, but the truth was, I enjoyed the getting out of the house and the thrill of the savings!
Little by little, I began to feel overwhelmed. Coupon spending had become more than just a tool to allow me, as a full time stay at home Mom, to feel like a financial team player beside my husband. In reality, coupon spending had become addicting.
It was about a year ago that I took a long hard look at my shopping priorities (along with other priorities as well), and I decided that I needed to scale back my purchasing to just the items that my family uses most frequently. I also still pick up FREE or ridiculously inexpensive items to donate, but not to the same degree of intensity!
I had to learn, sadly... the hard way, that managing my time and energy is just as important as managing my finances.
Now, when I read about 'sweet deals' online, I ask myself these important questions to decide if this deal is for me:
- Do we actually use this/need this type of products in our family?
- Do I prefer another brand? Should I just wait for my favorite brand to be on sale?
- Is doing this deal a good use of my time? My energy?
- How far out of my way would I be driving? Is it worth the gas?
- How much would the tax be on my "FREE" item? Is it still worth purchasing?
- Could someone else benefit more than me from leaving these items on the shelf?
Yep, I've got the coupons and I could definitely find the time to stop into Walgreens, but I don't NEED detergent, Purex is NOT my favorite brand, its NOT worth it for me to spend my time, energy and pocket change to pay the tax for products, nice as they are, that someone else can benefit from the spectacular sale!
I couldn't have said that a year and a half ago... but I'm growing!
Nowadays, I love grocery shopping and an occasional stop into a drug or convenience store! I know that I'm keeping up with my new way of spending less time and less money to run my household when I do shop at a drug store and the store employees tell me that they've missed me!
How do YOU manage your clipping & spending time?
Read more frugal tips at LifeAsMom!