Thursday, September 29, 2011

Coupon Queen

Okay, well maybe "queen" is a little strong, but I am doing a darn good job of taking advantage of coupons and sales, if I do say so myself.

I grew up with green stamps and coupons.  My mom is of Scotch-Irish descent and considers that her gateway to thriftiness.  I obviously inherited the "thriftiness gene" from her (not to mention years of training at her knee) which has come in handy now that I am "mom-o-five!"

I used to think we could not really benefit much from coupons because we tend to shop the outer aisles of the store, making most things from scratch and not buying that much processed food.  However, though I serve healthy meals, I also have 5 really normal, hungry kids, so we do buy a lot of cereal, yogurt, milk, and occasional snack foods. 

I bought a Sunday paper for a houseguest a couple of days after watching an episode of Extreme Couponing  on TLC.
I pursued the coupons and found quite a few for things we could use.  The money-saving spark was kindled, and now it has fanned into a full-blown flame.

I only clip coupons for things we actually use -- so no crazy food, no air fresheners, nothing we don't need or want to use.  I use lots of cereal coupons, yogurt, crackers, and shampoo.  Those are my biggies.  I clip everything I think we will use and put it all in a binder.  Then each week I check the sales at our two closest grocery chains.  I still buy everything we want every single week, but my choices are guided more by what's on sale.

For example, this week big, juicy pork loins were on sale at Randalls so I picked one up;  it was so yummy.  I bought chicken thighs at HEB because they were $1/pound!  Most weeks, we have 3 to 8 boxes of cereal in storage;  all of which came for $1 to even 50% off.  It's so cool.  We also have tons of shampoo and other girly products; two teen girls use a lot of product!

I am by no means an extreme couponer.  But I am really proud of the progress I've made and how I am able to get us all our favorite foods at a considerable discount.  In early July, I started tracking my expenditures and savings. I now save between 14% and 50% every week on our groceries (80% from coupons alone), averaging exactly 30% savings in the last two months.  Just in case you think that isn't much, that's equated to our family not spending $652 since then and we have gotten to try new products (like whole-grain crackers) that I would not normally have purchased.  Or to put it another way, we have saved $652.  That's money in the bank!  Can you believe it?  That's a significant pile of money!  Maybe I really am the couponing queen!

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