As I prepared for my grocery store trip last Sunday, I realized how inefficient even my casual system had become. I’ve written about my casual use of coupons in the past. I had not really been following that system or bothering to take my coupons to the store with me. One part of the reason was that I’ve been buying more produce and less of the products that have corresponding coupons. However, a bigger reason was that the thought of sitting down at the computer and then going through huge stacks of coupons and matching them up before I even walked out the door had turned into a daunting task. I didn’t want to spend all that time matching and cutting out coupons. I wanted to get out the door, go to the store, and come home.
As I thought about going to the store, the coupons from the Sunday paper were sitting on the table and I was thinking about how I should wait on those and look for ones that were going to expire sooner. However, I also knew that once I filed those coupon flyers away, they’d simply end up lost in the madness of my coupon binder.
I needed a new pared-down “system” that would not overwhelm me. I decided on an approach that really isn’t a system at all. I’m simply going to look through the coupons that come in the weekly paper and cut out only the ones I’ll use when I go to the store for that week and let the rest go. I know that there will always be another coupon much like there is always another sale if you miss the first one. Besides, the last time I had looked at my binder and coupons seriously enough to put a date on anything was on…
I emptied out my coupon binder. I will find a different use for it.
While I may not save as much money, I will gain a little more peace of mind and have less guilt about all the wasted coupons. I won’t have as much coupon (paper) clutter in this house either which is one of my bigger issues. I think releasing myself from the pressure of feeling as though I NEED to have a serious (or even a casual) coupon system will benefit my time budget and sanity more than a few extra dollars I might save at the grocery store.
Someday I might return to a bit more serious way of using coupons but it is not working for me right now.
Are you hanging on to any systems because you feel like you need to follow them? How often do you re-evaluate what is working and not working with your own systems and routines?