Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How Did I Begin Spending Coupons?

I've have been spending coupons for 18 months and I have been unbelievably successful in lowering the financial impact that groceries/household items places on our family's budget.

I used to purchase a Sunday paper after church each week, back when I was single. Once Dave and I were married, the few dollars that I managed to save each week with coupons seemed like a waste of my time, so I quit clipping.

Shopping without coupons meant that I was constantly at the store's mercy for the prices that I was obligated to pay. If an item that we needed was on sale I was thrilled to get a 'deal,' but if the items that we needed were full price, then I was stuck with the sticker price of those items.

I hated that I felt swindled when I would leave the grocery store. I felt like prices were so unreasonable, but that I was option less- we still needed to eat, to care for our bodies and our home.

I began the weekly ritual of apologizing to my husband after returning from the grocery store. I hated telling Dave how much I had spent and showing him how little I had actually bagged and brought home from the store with me. I began shopping twice a week so that I would feel like I was spending less, but really I was just shopping more often and still spending just as much!

Just before Thanksgiving 2007, my small group from my church (242community.com) decided to adopt a family through the Salvation Army for the holiday. Each member of our 10 person group gave $5 towards the Thanksgiving meal for the 4 person family that we had adopted.

All 10 of us grocery shopped together before we delivered the meal to our family. We had $50 to spend, but we miraculously were able to purchase $150 worth of groceries since one member of our group brought her coupons and we shopped by the sales flyers. WOW! We tripled our spending power by applying some simple skills with our shopping!

I personally was amazed by the power of coupons... I needed to start applying these skills to my own spending habits!

I was 37 weeks pregnant when we shopped for our adopted family, and the only thing that I was looking forward to learning was how to be a new mom, so I placed my coupon learning on hold for a few weeks.

During my first few weeks of motherhood both of my boys (Dave and my son Boaz) were guaranteed to sleep between midnight and two in the morning- and it was then that I began scouring the Internet for coupon spending skills.

I literally spent weeks learning by the glow of my computer screen. I found several very helpful blogs and I carefully memorized the coupon policies for the stores that I frequented.

I started small, I carefully planned my grocery shopping trips to include coupons that were included with the Sunday papers that I had resumed purchasing, and I began spending coupons that I had printed from the Internet. I also began shopping at CVS, a store that I had previously proclaimed was far to expensive for my blood.

Week after week I became more encouraged by my savings... and I now proclaim loudly that I will forever be a coupon spender!