Couponing: Waste of Time or Smart Side Hustle?

Clipping and using coupons has been around for decades. Newspapers, magazines, and other printed publications once included coupons that consumers could “clip” and use at the grocery or other stores.

Avid couponer Amy D. started couponing in the ‘80s. “My dad let me use coupons when we went grocery shopping and added the savings to my allowance. I quickly realized that $5, $10, or $15 in coupons could help me double my spending money. From there, I was hooked!”

Not Your Mom’s Couponing

If you’re horrified at the idea of carrying a stack of coupons around the store, put that thought out of your mind. Today’s couponing is less about scissors and more about smartphone apps.

Heather L, another long-time coupon fan, explains. “I download a store’s app and look at their coupons. If I see one that I want to use, I tap ‘clip coupon' and that coupon is automatically added to my store card.”

Is Couponing Worth the Time?

If you’re busy with work and family, using coupons may seem like a waste of time. Amy, however, sees a big return on her investment.

“I usually spend an hour a month clipping coupons. Before I go to the store or out to dinner, I go online, see if there are coupons I can use, and save them to my phone. It takes about five minutes.”

How Can You Start Using Coupons?

The fastest way to start saving is to download the apps of the stores you shop at most often. Before you go shopping, cruise around on the app to see if any coupons match your shopping list.

Don’t forget to check your favorite restaurants, too. Amy is a big fan of restaurant deals. “Several restaurants offer two-for-one savings or $10 off a $50 tab. If I’m going out anyway, I may as well use a coupon and save a few dollars.”

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