Yes, I coupon. Is that a verb now? Coupon? I know it is a noun but can I use it as a verb? I think so. So, I coupon. I collect coupons, save coupons (the noun) and then use coupons to buy the things we need. That is couponing, right? See a verb again.
Yesterday I talked about Food Storage here. I talked about wanting to increase our food storage in our house to three months worth of food. That is a lot of food, especially for a family of 5. How can I just go out and purchase three months worth of food with our budget? That is where couponing comes in to full force.
I used to think that using a coupon here or there really wasn't worth the time. By the time I paid for my Sunday paper ($1.75) and then the hour or so cutting out the coupons that I wanted to use or at least the coupons of the products that we actually use, then going to the store and seeing that the coupon for the specific brand really didn't make it cheaper than the generic label I was already buying normally, made no sense to me. Seriously, NO SENSE! So for a long time I stopped and was happy with just reading the ads in the Sunday paper, tossing the coupons and then buying the generic of whatever we needed. This made sense to me. I figured I was saving money buying generic and then using my Valued Customer Card on top of that for other items. This satisfied me.
Then it occurred to me, after reading a post in a forum, I was doing it completely wrong! ACK!!! I could be saving a ton more money and I wasn't getting the whole idea of couponing (the verb).
Now I am going to let you in on a little secret: Have you seen the TLC show "Extreme Couponing"? These women go out with their coupons and buy up a shelf full of deoderant, or mustard, or apple sauce, or whatever. A. SHELF. FULL! Then come home and organize it on their pantry shelves (or the shelves in the basement or garage, or under their kids' beds) and sit back and glow from their experience. Now this is extreme! And yes, I think they have an addiction problem too! However, the basic premise is this.
When you begin couponing you start to collect coupons for the items you use, pasta sauce, salad dressings, deoderant. Then when the stores put these items on sale you take all your coupons and buy up enough that you feel comfortable with. It could be a couple of the item or it could be a shelf full. I am not judging. Then that item comes off your weekly shopping list for a while. So if you are going through a bottle of salad dressing a week and it is on your weekly shopping list and you buy 8 bottles then you won't need to shop for it for 8 weeks. Slowly, and I mean slowly you will see your weekly shopping list dwindle and your stock up list (the items that are on super sale and you have a coupon for) will increase. You begin shopping your pantry for the items you need weekly and not the grocery store. These are for the items that are shelf stable, like packaged, jarred and canned items as well as items you can freeze if you have a big enough freezer. Eventually you will begin to run low of salad dressing so you start looking for the sale again and you use your coupons you have been gathering all this time.
There are several websites and blogs that can help you find the rock bottom prices on items in your area. I began with http://www.thegrocerygame.com/. This is a great site and includes a forum for couponers (people who coupon) to chat with each other and beginners to learn from the experts. There is a charge however for the site and you get to pick the stores that you want the information from. The less number of stores then the cheaper your membership is. However, I have found that http://www.couponmom.com/ gives you the same information and it is completely and utterly free! How cool is that, and saving you money too! Happy couponing!!