This post is offered by Elise Griffin as a guest post. Elise is the author of "Every Child is a Genius" as well as a number of cookbooks.
Thank you, Elise, for your contribution.
A msn online article a few months ago basically stated it doesn’t pay to use coupons because of the time it takes to clip them. I read it and shook my head. Keep in mind I live in a high cost of living (HCOL) area where stores don’t double coupons as in other parts of the country. Our gasoline prices here are among the highest in the nation. Well, I’ve found it is worth it to clip coupons. A few friends and neighbors have figured some of my new “frugal” habits aren’t worth the time. So, I’ve decided to add up my “frugal salary” for little cost savings measures in an effort to better explain why I do some of what I do.
A good example is dryer sheets. I buy mine at Dollar Tree. The brand varies; right now I have a Woolite brand box of 80 dryer sheets for 1.00. Frugal mentors told me awhile back that half a dryer sheet does the job for an average load of laundry. So I now cut the dryer sheets in half when I open the box using a pair of scissors. This takes me 90 seconds, and with my recent box, produces enough dryer sheets for 160 loads of laundry. Here’s the math:
160 loads @ 10/ week = 16 weeks (item lasts this long)
Per year = 3.25 boxes, Cost 3.25
Regular cost (no Q’s or sales) 3.49/ 40
10 loads/ week = 4 weeks @ 3.49, 13 boxes / year @ 45.37
Annual Savings or wage earned: 42.12
Cutting time 292.5 seconds (4mins 9 sec)
Pay: 8.60 / minute
If you went out to a restaurant for a chicken dinner, you’d pay about $10.00 per plate, depending on the restaurant. Grocery stores began competing with restaurants some time ago by offering rotisserie chickens for harried shoppers who’d like to pick up a fully cooked meal at the end of a busy day. One local market in my town sells 3 to 3-1/2 pound rotisserie chickens for $6.99… the same store has Foster Farm whole chickens on sale this week for 79 cents per pound, and our newspaper last week had $1.00 off coupons for Foster Farms chicken. The rotisserie chicken comes out to about $2.33 per pound. Buying a whole, fresh chicken of an approximate weight and using the coupon comes to $1.37, and that saves $5.62. Bring it home, rinse it, place it into a roasting pan, sprinkle with some herbs and roast it (total prep time of maybe 5 minutes) and you’ve already “earned” a high hourly wage.
Chicken: 6.99, 3 lbs cooked
Chicken, 2.37, 3 lbs (1.37 with Q) uncooked, savings 4.62 (5.62 with Q)
52 cooked chickens, once a week @ 6.99 = 363.48
52 uncooked chickens, once a week @ 2.37 (assuming there is no coupon) = 123.24
Annual savings: 240.24 Total annual prep time, 260 minutes or 4.3 hours 55.86/ hour pay
You don’t have to be a candidate for Extreme Couponers to rack up a chunk of savings over the course of a year. If a few minutes of your time could save you a dollar (or five) per minute, and you manage to do that one hour per week, you can “earn” an additional hundreds to thousands of dollars annually! How much you 'earn is up to you. Doesn’t that seem worth it for one hour per week? Time really IS money, and it can be yours.
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