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What's a little bit of time worth?

July 25th, 2007 at 08:15 am

I am always amazed when people tell me they don't have time to coupon or chase deals.

My response tends to be, "Yeah, but what's your time worth?"

If you're making a middle of the road income and you make a quick trip in and out of a store and save $100, is your time worth that kind of money? A middle wage earner in the $10-$20 an hour range would love to take a pay raise to $100 an hour. Effectively, that's what couponing does for you. When you plan for and execute a shopping trip that yields $100 in savings, the value of what your time is worth just increased upwards of 10X your current rate of pay.

If you shop 4-5 times a month, try breaking your shopping into smaller trips. Separate out a couponing trip from a regular trip. Set out to save $50 or more on the coupon trip. If in a month you can do this twice with a $100 savings over retail each time on items you would normally buy anyway, you just put $2400 a year of buying power (or debt reduction power) back in your pocket.

What's $2400 buy you? It pays down bills, pays off the balance on your car, it gets invested in a retirement fund. It can be used for household splurges or a fun family vacation. And it only cost a little bit of time.

If you don't have an hour, you can also try incorporating targeted trips as part of your normal routine. Stopping by 3 stores a week for about 10 minutes per trip can save you $100 or more a week.

On a quick trip to Office depot, the loss leader school supplies cost me $1 (after the $3 toner coupon). My savings was nearly $30. The trip took about 8 minutes from start to finish in the store.

A 15 minute trip to Safeway yielded me $81 in merchandise - and the cashier paid ME $1.11 cash for the overage value of the coupons I had presented her.

10 minutes at Rite Aid got me 2 rainchecks for the free school items this week - a $5 value. But that was after I dropped off a prescription that would yield me a $20 giftcard - a $17 value after my co-pay. Value of the 10 minutes - $22. Not many people get paid $22 for 10 minutes of their day.

With kids, a contract consulting job, working on a MBA at full time graduate hours and running a busy grocery coupon site, (and in between all that, doing family support for the Army), I still manage to fit in little mini trips to the store all week and save big bucks in the process. 25 hours of time last month saved me $1600+ over retail, and I only spent about $200 cash.

Time turns into money very quickly when you're doing spot deals or incorporating a little more couponing into your regular grocery routine.

What's your time worth?

5 Responses to “What's a little bit of time worth?”

  1. littlemama Says:

    I agree with you though my saving are not as substancial as yours! I just love Hotcouponword.com. I have learned so much there.

  2. fern Says:

    I don't think the average person saves a hundred dollars in a single trip to the grocery store. Not even close.

  3. Hotcouponworld Says:

    Fern, you're right. The average shopper doesn't save $100 in a grocery trip. The point of the blog is that with some planning and taking some time, you can save $100 a trip. And once you're in the habit of planning your shopping trip differently, it's achievable.

    I just turned some long-time friends onto couponing. They have a family of 5 and they told me that they spend upwards of $1400 a month for everything grocery and household. In two weeks with a little reading at www.Hotcouponworld.com, they have had some very good savings - several hundred dollars in fact in abouta 3-week time period.

    Once people try it, and get out of the mindset that a .25c off coupon is worthless, the savings rack up quickly.

    I'd challenge you to read up on couponing fundamentals and then try it yourself. Good luck, and happy shopping!!!

  4. reginaastralis Says:

    Just curious - but what did the cashier say when she owed you $1.11?

  5. hotcouponworld Says:

    reginaastralis, the cashier was a bit shocked at first, but smiled and was like, "well, I guess I owe you $1.11" and handed it over, no complaints. I went back tonight, and made sure I had enough other stuff that it wasn't negative, but the cashier tonight was still pretty suprised to see a $1.76 total for everything I bought.

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