Friday, May 10, 2013

My Coupon Journey - Too Extreme??

Two years ago I began my coupon obsession. I dove in full speed ahead. I purchased at least 2 newspapers every Sunday. I also searched every recycle bin in our neighborhood for discarded coupon inserts. I started my journey with The Krazy Coupon Lady using her binder method. 

                I also printed coupons offline at, RedPlum and SmartSource. I even joined a coupon exchange. Every week a huge envelop of coupons arrived in my mailbox. I sifted through them. I took the ones I needed. I added coupons from my own collection that I would never use. Then I sent it off to the next person in our exchange.

                Every week I checked all the local grocery ads. I compared all sales with the coupons I had. And I usually went to at least four different stores on my designated shopping day.

                I saved…a lot. Many items I ended up getting for free or for mere pennies. It was a thrill. I loved it. I still do. But I had to make some changes. I think it just became too extreme. I was spending hours a day on couponing. It’s not just about getting coupons or going to store. You plan…a lot! You also have to stay organized and on top of your coupons. It’s a lot of work. It can definitely be worth it. But I learned that even now that I have downsized my couponing, I still save and still get a huge thrill. 

                First, I got rid of the binder. It just didn’t work for me. I am not against the coupon binder. But it’s a lot of work, and it gets pretty heavy. Now I use the box method. My own take on the method used by MoneySavingMom (Love her blog!!). 

                I also no longer spend a few hours searching through the trash bins. More than one neighbor has seen me do this. In the end, it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to be known as the dumpster diver of the community.

                I still get two papers every week. But I subscribe now because it saved me quite a bit verse buying the paper at the store each week. And I usually only shop at 1 or 2 stores. I may go to another if there is an awesome deal going on. 

                I still print coupons online. I still compare sale prices to my coupons. But I had to make changes and scale back. Extreme couponing can be a full time job, and it just isn’t for everyone. Some people have it down to a science. And some people just have more time than I do. I work full time. I have three young girls. So for me, there just wasn’t that much extra time. 

                Don’t get me wrong. Many couponers find a way to juggle the family, jobs and extreme couponing and stockpiling. And if you are interested in diving in completely, I will never tell you not to. I am just going to give you the basics and the resources you need to coupon successfully. You have to find your own balance and coupon in a way that works for you. Also, remember it doesn’t happen overnight. I made many mistakes in the beginning. A lot of couponing you only learn as you go through the process. I can’t tell you every situation you will encounter, or how to handle them. Some stores will just never carry the exact size or brand you need for an awesome coupon deal. Sometimes stores will change their coupon policy without letting their customers know. 

                At the end of the day…did you save any money? Ten dollars? Twenty? Fifty? Or a hundred? Any savings is an accomplishment. We are not all going to be on reality TV with a $1000 dollar grocery receipt and a 97% savings on it. And that’s okay. Because you are couponing to save you and your family money. You are improving your finances and in the end your happiness. So don’t put all your focus on the chore and not give yourself the time to enjoy the reward. Coupon is just a part of your life. A way to make life a little easier financially. It should NEVER be your life. 


Post a Comment