Who has time to be an extreme couponer when your cup overflows with mom and job duties? The very idea of dumpster diving, canvasing the neighborhood for old newspapers, and finding room to store 20 tubes of toothpaste is daunting.
And that’s only the coupon part. It sometimes seems money-saving mavens offer tips that simply aren’t practical for the typical on-the-go woman. Who has time to regularly drive to three or four supermarkets to find the best deals? Does anyone really create a budget and update it every week? Is it truly possible to save money without investing tons of time in the effort?
Sure it is. The trick is to just pare things down until you’re focused on the essentials. Here are a few ideas.
1. Buy a Coupon Organizer
If you’re really attracted to the idea of using coupons, an organizer is an absolute must. It doesn’t have to be one of those giant binders with all the clever little pockets, however. You can find organizers that easily fit in your purse and still allow you to divide them up by type of product and expiration date.
2. App Your Way to Happiness
There are several keen apps out there that let you coordinate shopping lists between family members, organize them by the aisles in your favorite stores, and perform other magic tricks. Grocery IQ is probably the most popular one and it’s easy to use. Also helpful is the Coupon Sherpa app. You can search by store for the appropriate coupons, then simply download them to your rewards card or have the bar code scanned at checkout.
3. Keep a Digital Calendar
How often do you see a great sale announced, then totally forget about it? That digital calendar you carry around can record much more than your kid’s soccer schedules and dental appointments. Plug in a reminder so you can hit the store at the appropriate time.
Follow your favorite brands and retailers on Twitter for instant updates on sales and coupons. In 140 characters or less, you’ve learned just what you need to know without having to dig.
5. Map It Out
If you’re truly interested in buying from several stores to find super savings, map out the best route so you can hit them on your way to and from work or on your way to pick up the kids.
6. Comparison Shop Online
Instead of running between stores to comparison shop a major purchase, scan the Internet for the best prices, then call your local store to see if they can match or beat the lowest price you found. Don’t forget to figure in shipping costs.
7. Reward Yourself
Credit cards are equal parts beneficial and dangerous, so it’s good to do your research before applying for one. When you do, however, consider signing up for a card with a robust reward program that suites your tastes — whether it’s cash back, gift cards or frequent flier miles — to get more bang for your buck. Just be sure to pay off your balance in full every month to avoid high interest rates.
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. To view recent interviews or for more savings tips visit AndreaWoroch.com.