April 20, 2012

I have been an avid couponer for about 2 years.  Before I used coupons I used to think 'Aren't coupons just for junk food?' or 'I don't want to buy 5 of something just so I can save $.50'.  Oh, how wrong I was!

I do my best to feed my family a natural and basic diet.  No processed foods, no sugar snacks or cereal, no soda.  I just don't buy these things on a regular basis, and I always assumed that coupons were only for those items.  But I have discovered that you can find a coupon for almost everything under the sun.  In the past two years, I have taken my grocery budget ($400 per month) and I am able to buy 5 times what I was able to buy-without spending a penny more! I still do not purchase processed foods, and the money I now save on toiletries and cleaning supplies I am able to put towards more vegetables, fruits, and meats-at a better quality and bigger quantity. 

No, I do not have a massive wall of toilet paper in my house, or have 5 thousand toothbrushes.  But I do have a nice size stockpile that stores neatly in my pantries, freezers, and bathroom cabinets.  Couponing has enabled me to stretch my grocery budget exponentially! Here are some pointers to get started couponing:

*Start collecting Sunday newspaper coupon inserts (Ask your neighbors, your gym, coffee shop, or buy a few newspapers at the store)

*Get a 3 ring binder and baseball card holders to store and organize your coupons

*Only use a coupon if an item is on sale. (This is the whole point! If toothpaste is on sale for $1.25 and you have a 5 coupons for $1 off, you can purchase 5 toothpastes for the price you would have paid for 1! Sometimes toothpaste is completely free and you just pay sales tax!)

*Shop around.  (You will no longer do your shopping at one store, once a week.  You will make a couple trips a week to different stores, but you will only be grabbing a couple things at each store, so the trips will be short)

*Don't be brand loyal. (OK, maybe on some of your favorite things, but if pasta is on sale for $.49 and you have a $.50 coupon, that's free pasta, who cares what brand it is!)

*Check clearance shelves. (I have bought so many items for free or close to it, because it was marked down and I had a coupon!)

*Email your favorite products. (Last week I wanted to buy a specialty item for a recipe, but it was $9.00 at the store. So I emailed them to see if they had any coupons, and today in the mail was a coupon from them for one free item of my choice, up to $9.99!)

*Don't stress.  (If you miss a deal, don't worry, another deal is right around the corner!)

*Have fun! (It is great to take the money we work hard to earn and stretch it further! I love walking out of the store with $80 in groceries and only spending $20 or less!)

*Share with others.  (having a stockpile of stuff is great.  I have been able to give bags of stuff to families we know, or to my college age sister who needs razors and shampoo!)

Here are a few websites dedicated to helping you use your coupons and find good deals.  They do all the work for you, all you have to do is go to the store and get it!

www.hip2save.com

www.moneysavingmom.com

www.krazycouponlady.com

But Beware.....Once you start couponing and see all the money you save, you'll never go back!!

 

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