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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Does Couponing Really work????

So, I've been thinking a lot lately. Not to worry, I know this is a real danger for me LOL! But seriously, I have been doing a lot of that and here's my thoughts. Many of you have probably heard of the tv show TLC's Extreme Couponing right? Well, I thought I would share some of our story as far as that goes.

While we do not live in a state that allows coupon doubling, we do get some great deals here in Florida. So great that I have been asked by my mom and her friend Bev to mentor them in couponing, therefore I am up for the challenge :) Now, basically, I want to share how I got involved and why. Then I will share some of my successes and how couponing really has helped us in the last few months.

First, I was one of those ladies who casually clipped coupons for years and never cashed in on ANY of the deals. Ring a bell? Well, I am hoping that at the end of this post I will have you interested in learning how to do it and do it well for your family. So, our background goes like this. I am a married stay at home mom. We have 2 beautiful little girls and times are tough right now. We all know that! So, in the beginning of the year, I got to thinking, what can I do as a stay at home mom to help make things easier financially. So the first thing I did due to my husband loosing his job and taking a cut in pay at the next one was (GASP!) apply for food stamps. Yes I said it! This to me was a huge insult that I had to even think about applying, however I really didn't see any other way to help our family out, so I went to the computer and applied. Low and Behold, we were approved and quick due to the lack of funds coming into our house. Now, this did help some, but I wanted more! Isn't that how it always is. We have what we have BUT WE WANT MORE! So, I ran across my church's bulletin and found out that later that month, there was going to be a workshop in the Ministry Center there on the grounds. That's awesome right? Well, this workshop cost $8.00. Where was I going to come up with that much money? This sounds like a small amount, but when you live paycheck to paycheck every penny matters. So I talked with my husband who agreed that it would be worth it to do the $8.00 and we would pray that it would pay off in the end. So I attended this workshop given by Kimberly of The Savvy Coupon Lady
What did I learn? Well, I learned that the deals I was looking for were at the store I had for so long BOYCOTTED because I thought it was too expensive! Publix is a great store and I can't believe I allowed our family to suffer by making them eat such lower quality foods! I learned that if I match coupons with the buy one get one free's that I can and do provide great food at a fraction of the cost. I also learned that even though there are so many out there hoarding the deals, you don't have to do that. I never in my life saw the mess that I saw on the above mentioned show! I was discusted! I haven't watched it since that first time! I will probably never again! See, there is a thing called ethics. This thing is one of the big things in the workshop. Yes, it is great to get great deals, but save some for others! Also, if you need a large quantity, (more than 10) the store manager is more than happy to fill out a special order and if they are running low or out of somethign, get a raincheck! It really is that easy.

Now for the fast forward, I have since that workshop saved HUNDREDS of dollars at Publix! Still wondering how I do it? Well, I have started a blog just for that, so head on over to CentSavers to find out more info on it. I am no where near as organized with it as Kimberly, but I do like sharing the huge deals you can get. If you want to do the step by step how to I suggest you go learn from Kimberly, but I will be trying to post a lot of how I do things on my blog as well. Kimberly is doing the match ups and I have not started that but hope to do so in the future.

And, why am I sharing so much? Because I want to see everyone save money and do it ethically. Also, there was a story on the news last night that really disgusted me! Why are people stealing newspapers just to get their coupons? This makes all of us look bad. :( Really, start small and then work up to what you need for your family. I started wtih 1 paper and my mother in law gave me the 2nd one I needed. Then as I can I buy 4 papers a week. 4 is my limit because even with just doing 2 I get AMAZING SAVINGS!

It's not uncommon for me to come home from the store with 60 plus dollars in savings! The other week I actually scored Splenda for free plus an overage! It is doable but just like everything else it takes work to do. If you think that you can get these deals immediately, please, just read my other blog or Kimberly's because it just isn't possible, you have to work up your stash and then take 1/2 hour before you go to the store to get the coupons you need and make your list. Simple!

My kids have never been happier with the choices they have for cereal and we have made a stock pile of it :) So, this week, we are at my mother in law's as they are out of town and we are doing a few things for them. I noticed they are out of a few things. I simply asked my husband to go home and "shop" in our stockpile! So I have been able to provide things for my in laws when before they were the ones helping us!!!

Feels great to help others!

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