There are some great links to some great "couponing" sites that I use daily; and I'll show you how I organize and save as well, I like to keep it EASY. Check out the WELCOME spot to your right to get started

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Introduction - Why "Coupon?"

Why use coupons? Well.....TO SAVE MONEY! (Duh!?)
Why else would we bother right? Why DO this crazy time consuming thing?? Why buy into this lovely new verb called "couponing?"

If you don't know what the heck I'm talking about, or you do and you're just learning, hang in there..... trust me, I wouldn't bother if I were just saving a few bucks.
I'm going to show you how I save 50-75% off my grocery bill.
I now buy three times more than I ever did, and I still buy most things brand name, and I spend 50-75% less for 2-3 X more stuff. It took some time to get it right, but I think I've got it!
So, after mentioning my good fortune to some family and friends who were struggling financially, they asked me to do a blog entry on how I do "the couponing thing" on my family blog so they could learn it.....Oh, my naive little chicks, one blog entry is not worthy enough to cover such an amazing subject; It deserves a blog all it's own, so I hope you LOVE this! :)

My Tale of Desperation/Motivation-
I started this journey when I began blogging about recipes and I ran into a whole blog sub-culture! It's CRAZY out there people! Well....while searching some WILD and Amazing recipe blogs and I ran into some fun "tips" blogs that had "how to save money" all over them including a "Couponing" Blogger list and I started looking there too out of curiosity. I had NO idea what "couponing" was; Then as I looked further in to the batty things these people were doing to save money, I thought "No way REAL people do this!" Then a friend mentioned she got 4 Sunday newspapers for that very purpose and I got more curious and did tons of research.... and here I am; Two months of couponing and I've got my receipts and budget to prove it!

The REAL REASON I started this journey?
My hubbie got laid off in April and I panicked!
I knew we could handle most things with my income (House, Insurances, medical bills etc) because we don't have any credit card debt and we weren't crazy spenders anyway. We then made some quick changes, with the economy downturn I knew he wouldn't find a job right away so it helped that I took my 4 year old out of daycare while hubbie is home. That saved me about $500/month. But I still was really worried about food and gas and clothes and other needs, I had like $500 left over a month for ALL of that extra stuff that didn't arrive in "Monthly bill" form. Geez I spent $900+ on food alone most months and that didn't include clothes, gas, entertainment, car repairs/maintenance…..
So I had to do something!
So I learned how to gather and use these:

I learned first that you DO do have to spend a lot of time getting organized at first and staying organized takes time too. Getting organized is the key to making things easier later. I learned that there are some amazing resources out there and I will share with you what I've learned and what works for me.

Along with Saving Money on your grocery bill you'll:
1. SAVE MONEY! - Wait, I already said that....
2. Build your Food Storage for the convenience and/or for emergency preparedness.
3. Deal with this lame economy proactively - Head on!! (I'm a realist, it's only gonna get worse people!)
4. Feel a sense of control, by being prepared you'll be surprised how GOOD that feels!

I'm talking stocking up on food, clothing, shoes, household items, emergency supplies, etc....we're stocking up on all of it, and we're using half the money we used to spend just on food for every day use.
I started this in May, and now I have 3 freezers full of food. 2 pantries FULL, and I had to clean out my basement to make one food storage room for this stuff too. It's now about 1/2 way full....I stock up on anything from food staples to ice cream treats, paper products, personal products, candy & soda too
It's really cool when we have friends or family over and I have a HUGE stash of fun stuff to choose from to feed them, or to feed a neighbor in need, or potlucks at work or whatever. I only have go to the store for fresh ingredients as needed. I even get milk and bread through a deliver service which saves me money too. I also use food co-ops, farmers markets, and produce suppliers to get local fresh items for a lot less than at the grocery store.
The only other times I shop now are the times I'm bargain hunting for fun... (with a plan).
It's more than just using have to strategize before using them. You get lots of each coupon - then you wait for sales, REALLY great sales or markdowns on individual items. When the stores' "shopper card savings" bring a price down on your favorite items and you have coupons for that item, it will bring the item down to 75% it's original cost or better. Then you stock up on that item using multiple coupons for it. (You'll be gathering these first to get a great supply going). You purchase items only when they are CHEAP and with your coupons you bring it down to SUPER CHEAP and sometimes FREE!
The first month I only spent $450 for groceries. I saved $550 my first month!!
The second month I only spent $420 in groceries, AND we had more than we used to have around the house to eat too, and I started stockpiling my food storage. I'm not talking about wheat and flour and dry mixes etc that is boring and unmotivating to me; I'm talking about REAL food. Boxes of cereal, jars of spaghetti sauce, tuna, frozen meat, cheese & bread! So now, after only two months of careful planning and couponing, we have enough non-perishable every day food items like cereal, crackers, snacks, boxed meals, frozen meat, frozen dinners etc - to carry us through a whole month or more if we needed it. I also got my 13 year old's school clothes bought for Fall...watching for sales and adding clothing coupons to the mix. All with my hubby out of work people!
(There's another whole layer of food/cereal boxes behind the one you see in front - this is from one month of stocking up, that's a 6 foot long shelf two cereal boxes deep)
Reality Check -
I like to keep things simple. I HAVE too. Did I mention that I work FULL TIME??
Couponing is an "Art" that can get quite complicated and it takes some major dedication.
I need to keep my eye out for Internet deals and weekly mailers, plan my grocery trips down to the item....Clip coupons, (hoard coupons!) then organize them, by aisle, expiration date, and store, and I do it all over again every day or for a total of at least 6-8 hours a week organizing and 2 hours shopping.
But don't let that scare you :)
Here's the good news:
I only go shopping once a week;most weeks I only go to one store.

CRAZY COUPONER ALERT: There are some out there in the blogosphere that go twice or more a day to keep their costs down even more than I. They hit all the big sales and go to multiple stores with the best price and buy in small transactions and duplicate their transactions over and over again. - (you'll see these "CRAZY" alerts throughout my blog)
AARGH!!! No way, that is NOT for me. The cost of my sanity is too high hence the blog title. So I choose to spend a bit more money than the "crazies" and spend less time obsessing and more time at home with my family.
Bottom line, I "coupon", I save a ton of money, and I still see my family!

My hope is to help you make sense of the crazy mess of couponing. I'd like to help anyone with an overwhelming need/desire to save money actually MAKE IT HAPPEN. I'm talking save 50-75% on every shopping trip from here on out. I'll share with you my tips and tricks, my organization system, and how I stay motivated/excited about this every day. Next up Getting Started.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
Utah, United States
I love to cook, it's how I de-stress; most people don't understand it but they love to taste test! I turn on some great tunes, and get to baking. Here's my family blog, come see what we're up to at I'm also big into couponing and can help you save a lot of money here: Thanks for visiting my little corner of the Web :)