My wife has caught the couponing bug and I have to say how incredibly excited I am about it. We got sucked in like so many others, flipping through the channels and landed on “Extreme Couponing”. To say that we were utterly astonished is an understatement. It was more like, “Oh my… how on earth are they doing that?!?” And we were hooked.
With gas prices continuing to rise and make everyone miserable along with all other kinds of stuff that we need to live getting more and more expensive at the same time, it&’s time to take some action. The only thing that doesn’t go up as quickly as these things is income! I&’m working on that part too, but couponing is going to be a way for my family to start making every dollar scream as it&’s stretched as far as possible. Budgeting is a learning process for sure (and we really do need to get better at it), but as costs rise we have to find creative ways to reduce what you spend.
We live in Florida. Tallahassee, Florida. Summers here feel like living in a desert (and before you ask, I&’ve spent time in an actual desert so I know what I’m talking about). But it’s worse because the air is so thick when it’s one hundred degrees outside that it sticks to you and even when the breeze is blowing it’s like running a hair dryer on yourself to cool off. But I digress. The point is as a family we’re already cutting back in a lot of areas, some areas just can’t get cut much further. Enter the mad dash to the Sunday paper for the coupons.
So after we saw our first episode, we watched again and again and again. We picked up our jaws off the floor and started researching to find out ways to get started. We quickly found out that there are numerous couponing websites out there so we started to sift through and find the ones we liked and started to get after it.
We started learning on things on our own. We combed through the Sunday paper with vigor as we searched for coupons. As we started to figure all this out my wife quickly blew past me like I was standing still in terms of understanding. And off she went to the grocery store, stacks of coupons in hand off to wreak havoc. Sales cycles, manufacturer coupons, store coupons, competitor coupons etc. are all now part of our grocery shopping lexicon. No more paying full retail!
We found SouthernSavers.com amongst others to be fantastic resources. It’s a bit ironic, because I’d run across a write-up via Twitter on their brand redesign and website a few months back but at the time didn’t think anything about it (other than the folks at Squared Eye who did the work did a fantastic job!). We quickly found out that Jenny from Southern Savers was coming through town to do a very reasonably priced workshop, but it was already sold out!
We found thus far that there aren’t any grocery stores in our area that double coupons which makes this so effective. On the show, you can see people doing triple coupons sometimes and get their stuff virtually for free or even getting “paid” to buy some of this stuff! But our local stores are accepting their own coupons combined with manufacturer coupons and that is absolutely awesome. I now understand how addicting this can be and how much it hurts to pay regular retail for something!
We have a long way to go, but I think this is a trend that is going to stick. Just yesterday morning as my wife was heading out the door she asked me about her coupons which had been temporarily misplaced. She was searching for them like lost keys when you’re late for an appointment. I love it. She&’s hooked too.
Thus far we’ve already started saving well north of 35% or more percent on our bills. That’s a mere pittance compared with the zealots on the show, but we’re getting there. We have to build up our coupon stock too. I look forward to the time when we have a stock pile in the spare room like these crazy people on TV. But I love it even more when our budget isn’t completely and absolutely wrecked by an expensive trip to the grocery store. Now, if they only had coupons that you could use the gas pump.