I haven’t been a couponer my whole life. Saving money wasn’t even close a priority when it came to shopping. Actually, I used to be petrified of clearance sections. Me, being a control freak and somewhat of a perfectionist, would look at the mess and disorganization of the racks and shelves and immediately get overwhelmed. My mom could spend hours in the clearance section. My grandma raids the sales racks throughout the year to put together overflowing boxes of STUFF as Christmas gifts. That was not me.
I used to think that only little old ladies used coupons. I mean really, 35 cents here, 50 cents there…that doesn’t really add up to much, right? Is it even really worth the time to find the coupons and cut them from the paper just to save a buck or two?
It wasn’t until we got rid of our cable and I was looking for mindless TV shows to watch on Netflix that I found “Extreme Couponing”, and I decided to watch for a laugh. But wait…these people were getting over $700 worth of items for like eight bucks. Totally not possible. But I had to keep watching. These people had stock piles of food that could last them up to a year and they’re telling me that they paid $25 for the loot! No way! I became addicted. How was this possible?
My curiosity kicked into overdrive and I started researching. I came across blog after blog of people proving to me that it is possible! There is a science to it and (believe it or not) you can save money…A LOT of money!
So, I started taking notes. Tips and tricks on how to get started with couponing. I started small. Getting two newspapers every Sunday and looking through the coupon books to see if they had money savers for the things that we normally eat. The first time I used coupons at the grocery store, I think it saved us about $4. My husband, being the overwhelmingly caring and supportive man that he is, told me how proud he was of me. It was like a spark went off in my head! Four bucks? That’s nothing…next time I’ll make it ten!
I’m not going to lie. It escalated…quickly.
We still get two newspapers every Sunday. Sometimes, if the coupons are really good (like the beginning of summer or when school started again) I’ll send the hubs out for a couple more. I’ve also started searching the internet and found sites like coupons.com to print even more. The beauty of this is that you can use these coupons with ones that are printed in the paper. Sometimes, companies will send you a dollar off coupon if you do something as simple as liking their Facebook page or reposting something good about their product on Twitter! And instead of me looking for coupons on things that we eat, we’ve learned to branch out and try new things that we have coupons for. Oh, and we can’t just buy something when we get the coupon. We have to wait for it to go on sale to get the best deal possible! Sometimes it’s a waiting game. That’s why you have to invest in one of these…
A coupon binder.
I know. It’s pathetic…but I’m truly obsessed with this thing! I have it categorized between cold items, dry items, non-perishable items, frozen items, paper products, candy, cookies, chips and snacks…well, you get it. If I had the time, I would categorize them by aisle at the grocery store…but I’m trying to stay away from being a total nutcase!
Every time we are finished at the grocery store, I try to get the percentage saved to be greater than our last trip. It’s kind of like a game I’m playing with only myself! Then I look at the dollar amount saved and I feel relief. There’s a tank of gas for the week, or an extra $50 for the kids’ savings accounts, or a meal at our favorite restaurant without feeling guilty about having spent that money.