Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm Moving

Hi everyone! I'm moving this weekend and I want you to meet my new friend. She has made couponing a big part of her life. Stop by and tell her you said hi. It's going to be a great weekend. I have so much to share come next week and the stockpile starts over again from scratch.



Couponing & My Life
Years ago, I had heard how using coupons could help to save you a ton at the grocery store.  I had heard of people purchasing two carts of groceries and spending less than $100.  To me, at that time, it was shocking.  I had looked into coupons, and had even tried to use them; however, the savings just was not adding up.  (Please keep in mind that this was before our access to the Internet in the area where I am from.)
Then, about a year ago, after having 5 kids in the house, not counting my husband and I, I decided I desperately needed to check back into coupons and just exactly how everyone was saving so much on their general household items and groceries.  After spending about $175 or more per week on groceries, I was looking for a way to be able to still feed my family in the manner in which they were used to, while also being able to scale back on our grocery budget.  Little did I know at the time that I would be able to scale back by over $100 per week!! Talk about a major budget overhaul.
It took me a few months to get my coupon stock up to par to really be able to take advantage of all of the great deals out there and I had to learn to come up with the right amount of coupons that I needed to make the quantity purchase that I need in order to feed 7 people on a regular basis.  I found that couponing was fun and posed a challenge to me.  The challenge being just how many products could I purchase on my $75 per week budget?  That budget actually became too easy, so I raised the stakes a bit:  Could I feed 7 people on a $50 per week budget, which also was to include household supplies like toilet paper, laundry soap, etc?  I’m here to tell you, IT CAN BE DONE!!
My husband, I do believe at times, really considers me as being “nuts”.  Why?  He believes that I spend too much time printing coupons, cutting coupons, planning my shopping trips, shopping the stores, and going between different stores to get the best deals; however, he sure doesn’t complain about the money I have been able to save or about the name brand products that is filling our pantry and cabinets that, in the end, fills his belly.  (Before using coupons, I shopped at box stores, where I thought that I was getting the best deal; however, I was completely wrong!! Now, you won’t hardly ever see me walk into a box store because I can get name brand products, with my coupons, for cheaper that I can get an off brand product of the same category at the box stores!)
To be able to reach the budget that I had set for myself, there are a few simple things that you must remember:
1.  Do not be brand dependent!  I only buy products that I have a coupon for.  I do believe we have tried just about every brand of laundry detergent out there on the market, at some point in time.
2.  You have to cook!  Avoiding convenience foods does help to cut down on the grocery bill considerably.  Unless I have a coupon for frozen waffles, etc, you won’t see them in our freezer. 
3.  Watch for the meat sales!! When meat goes on sale, I stock up!  For example, right after the Holidays last year, I found $60 hams on sale at our local Kroger store for as low as $6!!! Believe me when I say, I bought all that I could for that price!  (Those weeks, your budget is blown; however, it all equals out in future weeks budgets when you don’t have to purchase expensive meat because it’s already in your freezer!)
In the end, couponing has changed my life in several different ways.  To begin with, boy have I sharpened my mathematical skills!! If you use coupons or play the drug store game, you definitely know what I’m talking about!  Furthermore, I have been able to save tons of money and I have learned to become more creative in the kitchen.  Many times, I think to myself, can I make an entire meal for all of us for around $5-7?  Guess what?  There are actually many meals that are capable of feeding a family like mine for that little!!  You just have to pay attention to the sales ads, the coupons that you have, and stock up when possible.  Plus, remember that the Internet is your best friend when it comes to the coupon game.  Not only through finding the deal posts and printing coupons, but also for finding those recipes that will allow you to feed your family on less, but still be tasty and fill the bellies!

About the Author:
My name is Tami Jackson and I’m from rural, Southern Illinois.  I write the blog, pennypinchingmommies.info, where I not only post the weekly grocery steals and deals, but also posts on frugality, crafts, recipes, and more. 
I am a wife, mother of 4, and stepmother to 1.  I am a stay-at-home mother who also operates a small writing business on the side, while my husband is a Southern Illinois Coal Miner.  I love crocheting, knitting, sewing, craft projects, hunting all kinds of game (and making sure, of course, that the meat goes in my freezer), photography, gardening, cooking, and too much more to be listed here. 
I learned growing up, from my grandmother, how to find the best deals on just about everything.  (If she were still around today, I truly believe she would be amazed at what she could find on the Internet!!)

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