Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Couponing in a Busy Week

We got home from our three-week vacation on Saturday evening, and so, needless to say, we were still tired and off schedule by Monday. Also, although I had cleaned expired coupons out of my coupon box while on vacation, I came home to a stack of coupon inserts waiting for me to cut out and organize. Nevertheless, we still needed meals for the week, and I needed to grocery shop for at least a few essentials.

My usual routine of organizing coupons and keeping up with the best deals requires a bit of time, especially when I have fallen behind, and I didn't want to go to the store and just buy things willy-nilly, without regard to price. So I came up with a quick, modified couponing procedure to use on a busy week. Here's what I did:

1) Made an inventory of what I had - It turned out I had a lot of food around to create meals, but we were out of or low on several staples, such as milk, fruit, and flour.

2) Planned a menu - This is an essential for me, however little time I have. Without meal plans, how would I know what to buy at the store? When I'm short on time, I just throw together a simple menu that I can fall back on, with the knowledge that I can always change it if necessary.

3) Checked the sale fliers for just one store - I knew that I would make a trip to Wegmans for staples, so I didn't worry about checking out the sales at a lot of other stores. Since Wegmans didn't have chicken on sale this week (which I needed to go with homemade pesto pasta), I did make an extra quick trip to Giant. If I hadn't had to time to do that, however, I would just have used whatever was on sale at Wegmans.

4) Looked through the unorganized coupon inserts and took out the best coupons - I knew I would not have time to cut out and categorize my backlog of coupon inserts, so I just flipped through them and cut out the coupons that I was pretty sure I would use soon. I will organize the rest when I have time.

This modified couponing routine made my first week home go a little more smoothly, without having to resign myself to spending extra money.

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