One of the big fads right now is extreme couponing. While there is nothing wrong with extreme savings, and many people can save a great deal of money clipping coupons, there might be another way to use your time and get even better results. Use the time spent clipping coupons to build alternative income streams, and you might end up in a better position in the long run.
How Much Do You Really Save Clipping Coupons?
Extreme couponers featured on TV shows can save $1,000 for between 15 and 25 hours of effort each week. This time includes looking for deals, planning shopping trips, stacking coupons, and, of course, travel time to and from stores, sometimes multiple times a week to get the timing right on different sales and deals. That’s not bad, if you consider that they are saving what amounts to $40 to $67 an hour.
Whether or not such a result is practical for you depends on how much time you have, whether you can get access to different stores and deals, and the coupon policies involved at different stores. For most “regular” folks, couponing is something they do for a few hours a week, and the savings are nowhere as large. Indeed, when I tried couponing, I was lucky to save $10 a week after an hour’s worth of effort. Perhaps there are more efficient ways to go about it, but I just don’t want to spend extra time couponing – especially since I’d rather spend it with my family, or doing something I enjoy.
Plus, working to build wealth, rather than worrying about penny pinching, has more appeal to me.
Creating Passive Income
No income is truly passive at first; it takes time to get started, and to build up an income stream. However, in the long run it can be quite beneficial, amounting to considerably more than the equivalent of $67 an hour. If you spent as much time research good dividend stocks, and investing in those, or if you spent as much time monetizing a web site, you could see even better results.
One of the great things about passive income is that once you get the ball rolling, that money keeps coming in – there is no need to keep doing the same amount of work. The number of hours you have to put in to maintain your cash stream decreases. However, with extreme couponing, you have to keep putting in the same amount of time and effort to get the same results. You might be able to increase your efficiency so that you are spending less than 15 hours a week, but to get the big savings, it is rare that you can get away with spending less than 12 or 13 hours each week.
If you like couponing, it can be a fun hobby. However, it might not be the most efficient way to earn money over the long-term. Instead of devoting so much time to couponing, you can consider diverting some of that time to cultivating alternative income. You’ll worry less about money, and about penny pinching, and enjoy life more. You can still coupon as a less time-consuming hobby, but you’ll build wealth better if you focus more on increasing your income.