Why Did You Start Couponing?
When Jason and I made the decision to eliminate all of our debt and switch to cash, we knew this would mean cutting back and re-evaluating all of our expenses. As newlyweds, we started out swiping everything on our credit cards and never kept track of how much we were spending on groceries, cleaning supplies, clothing, you name it.
Only when we started to track our receipts did we realize the amount of money we had been spending carelessly. After creating our budget, we knew we had to start somewhere to trim here and cut there. The more we stuck to our budget the more I began to realize that being a stay-at-home wife/future mother would be impossible without some MAJOR changes. This was not only stressful, but heartbreaking as well. Jason and I, after we got married, had prayed and decided to live on one income to see if the possibility of me staying home would be an option. We haven’t been blessed with children yet, but we both believe the day we have children we want to raise them ourselves and not put them in childcare. I worked at a childcare organization long enough to know that my children will never be sent there (but that’s another story for another time).
I was brought up on a farm and to me there is something calming and magical about the taste of fresh vegetables from the garden. It’s a lot of hard work to care for a garden and the larger the garden the more work involved. Jason knew I wanted to start a garden and grow our own food. The joy of snapping the first bean or shelling your first pea of the season is something that I never wanted to forget. Seeing your freezer full of frozen vegetables and shelves full of jars filled with the produce that you grew yourself… there is just something special about it. I remember the day Jason was at work and I started to look for a job and ask around. I was stressed, crying and sick to my stomach because I knew my kind of work wasn’t at a desk in formal attire. My work was hands-in-the-dirt wearing jeans and a t-shirt. It was how the women of my family before me worked and how I was raised. Do I believe women who want to have careers should have them? Of course I do, as long as they aren’t neglecting their homes and family and can afford the college tuition and not go in debt over it. But to me, that isn’t what God called me to do. God called me to love nature and all it has to offer for my family and to work with my hands. As with everything I write about on this blog, I started couponing to help my family build the life we want where we’re in debt to no one and can serve others as God wants us to. Couponing is a single, but vital, part of building that life. I believe fully that couponing allows me to guard and retain more of what God has blessed us with. Just as a penny has a heads and a tails, earning a income doesn’t mean much of anything if there’s nothing left in the bank after payday because nothing is being saved.
How Did You Learn To Coupon?
I began to read stories online and talk to women who stayed at home about how this was a possibility for them. Jason assured me that it would be fine for me to do so, but I knew it would be impossible to save anywhere in our finances if we kept going like we were. I discovered a page called FreebieMom on of all places Facebook! Facebook does have its perks if you can ignore the gossip and drama. This page was created by 3 mothers that make a living on their page and blog to help people save money for their families. Some of the testimonials featured on the site from what I have read and still continue to read are amazing! After a few months of tedious research, studying, reading, learning and flexing my math skills a bit, I realized how to coupon and how to save my family money and make money from home!
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I have been with each of these sites for almost 2 years now. When I first got started it was SO overwhelming and stressful. I kept messing up and wandering around in the stores and that was so humiliating. It really used to bother me when I was up front handing the cashier a literal pile of coupons and the people behind you are staring. I was starting to think it wasn’t worth it, until I discovered another site called the Krazy Coupon Lady. I was immediately inspired by this site, by just reading that it was created by stay at home moms who also created the site and blog who were saving so much money for their home and even making money! They had a book on their site that went into much more depth about saving money so I ordered the book and to this day I still say it boosted my confidence for being a Krazy Coupon lady! This book made me realize that the people staring at me in line while I handed the cashier coupons weren’t upset; they were just amazed. If they were upset they would be cursing at me or rushing me to leave. I can honestly say I have never had that happen contrary to what I was thinking in my head. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in stores and the cashier or someone would be amazed at how much I saved or ask for advice on how they too could save. It seemed the more confident I became in couponing the more comfortable I felt at the store and the more it made people around me scratch their heads in curiosity.
The most exciting part of it all is when your total without coupons is $90 some dollars and you only pay $30. This not only saves you money on your receipt but it also saves you money on your budget so you can use the remaining money to put towards your bills. It honestly makes me sick on my stomach to think of all the money that we spent paying full price on items that could have been 75% cheaper or even free by using a coupon or hitting the right sale.
Do You Think Coupons Aren’t What They Use To Be?
I’ve heard this statement numerous times before. I even remember saying this before also. Lets face it 25 cents off a box of tissues that is $2.99 originally isn’t exactly a great coupon! Or the buy 5 and save $1.50. No wonder people just throw all these awesome coupons away! The secret is most coupons in your local paper are for P&G products. When the P&G products come out so does sales of the locations that sell them! Never use a coupon when the store isn’t having a sale!
Do You Try To Get Every Deal?
I remember making this mistake when I first started. Just because something was free or even a money-maker, I thought that I needed it! Being a Krazy Coupon Lady you see SO many deals and money makers each and every day. Does this mean you waste your gas to rush to the store to just get that one item that is going to sit on your shelf for years and never be used? Of course not! Let’s not let couponing make you become a hoarder, because trust me it can be done! Just like a budget for your money, couponing is similar in knowing when and where to shop for deals. If it’s not in the “plan”, ignore it. There will be other sales. I choose to stock up on 2 occasions:
1. When P&G sends out their coupons and we are running low on nonperishable supplies.
2. After a Holiday (to restock for next years goodies so we’re not paying full price when the Holiday is here – Supply and Demand is great!).
Couponing is a bit different when it comes to grocery shopping. While you can stock up on non-perishables, you can’t exactly stock up on meats, dairy, breads etc. The best way to save on groceries is to look for sale ads at your local grocery store first. Where we live, we have 5 grocery stores to choose from so it’s pretty convenient. Sure, it’s always an extra perk when you have an awesome coupon so you can plan your meal around that. Most of the time though, plan your meals around what is going on sale and that’ll be a double-whammy savings (triple-whammy when there’s a coupon too!) I remember when we had a coupon for a free box of Jimmy Dean Sausage patties so we planned a meal around that. You can also find budget friendly meals to help you save.
**However, if you are in town and know of a freebie deal that you are not in “need” of, get the item and start a collection box in your home labeled “Donation”. This can be from all the freebies you got extra from the store or by mail . This is great to give to the homeless shelter or your local church. Make a goal to collect all year and give it away at Christmas or at the end of the year.
Where Is Your Favorite Place To Shop For Deals?
Honestly, anywhere that I can find a bargain! But if I had to choose it would be Rite-Aid for household, cleaning and makeup products. Not only is the store convenient to us, but also because they have the Plenti Card system which is very awesome! I never go to this store unless I am low on items for personal hygiene or cleaning supplies. Usually about the time one thing gets low so does something else that needs re-stocked. When this is the case, I go online on Krazy Coupon lady or Living Rich with Coupons to see what sales are happening and where I can get more bang for my buck. For instance this week I had $21 saved in Plenti points and a $4 off of $20 coupon (that expired this week). Not to mention a coupon for one free Gillette Razor ($12 value) from a promotion the Gillette Company was having. So, I saw on the Krazy Coupon lady there was Tide on sale, Finger nail polish (I’ve been wanting to try it, but I’m not paying the full amount of $4.99 for one bottle…yikes!) and shampoos. So I did some “inventory” to see what items were running low on. While we were still “ok” on tide we had 4 small (40 oz) jugs, the sale on tide was unreal (for the large 100oz jugs) we wanted to stock up while we could! Then there were shampoos on sale that were the kind my husband uses so we stocked up on those also. We also needed more cough drops that we both love: Ricola! While the total came up to $82.25 we ended up paying $38 and some change after using previously earned Plenti points, a rebate on Ibotta, and $20 back in plenty points on this purchase, 2 Manufacturer coupons, and a $4 of $20 coupon. We were able to purchase 5 (100 oz) jugs of tide, 3 bottles of Men’s Head and Shoulder shampoos, a Venus Swirl Woman’s Razor, a 50ct bag of Ricola, and a Wet-N-Wild Gel Fingernail polish bottle for a whopping $38. So with the $44 dollars we saved, we can now put that towards another bill and that isn’t including what we are saving long term since we now are stocked up for a while on shampoos for hubby and Tide for our clothes. This is just one example of many sales that we hit with Rite-Aid. Again, there are other stores you can find amazing deals at; this one is just a better location along with the Dollar General we have close by.
Where Can I Find Coupons?
Everywhere! But, to be more specific I suggest the following below:
***Sign up at your local market or drug store for their rewards program.
Who Can Coupon?
Where Do You Find The Time?
Many woman (and some men too), have asked me where I find the time to coupon and how do I have the patience. Well, it requires you to get up earlier or stay up a little later and it takes patience, practice and persistence! I sometimes wake up at 5:30 am to download coupons, do my morning surveys, and check what sales are happening that day. You can get all of your chores done early in the evening (this helps by keeping a schedule and a good meal plan) and freeing up the rest of the evening. I often make some coffee and sit down in the evening time in my pj’s and get to work! Trust me, if you stick with it, all of this WILL literally pay off!
If you have more questions or comments please feel free to email us!