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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Economizing

Money has been our minds a lot lately. Not just because of the current state of the economy or the Monopoly game at McDonalds. We want to be good stewards of the money God has given us...we want to continue having me stay at home to raise the kids, we want to save money for retirement and childrens' college educations, we want to be able to give when we see a need, we want to pay our off mortgage as quickly as possible to get out of debt, and we want Corian countertops.

Oops. How did that one slip in there?

So one of the ways I've decided to economize is to start cutting coupons. I know this sounds like a waste of time (I mean, really - all that cutting just to save like $.50? Is it really worth the time and effort?), but there are serious "couponers" out there who take this very seriously. Like some Olympic sport. Just read some of their blogs and you'll see what I mean. They talk about their "stash" (of coupons), their CVS ECBs (huh?), and how they're able to get money back just for buying things they need anyway (come again?). I figured so long as it's something I'm able to do successfully in a short amount of time - because let's face it, with two little ones, time is at a major shortage around here - I would give it a try.

Ever the classic female multitasker, I'm always on the hunt for things to do while watching TV at night to maximize my time, like crocheting (I would love to learn how to make cute baby hats or pants or booties - anyone giving lessons? or patterns? or yarn?), planning the meals for the week, making Ryan's lunch for the next day, or fixing the hole in Lily's socks/sweater/tights/you-name-it...again. Cutting coupons takes no brainpower, and with all the new episodes of Chuck and Heroes and America's Next Top Model on now, I'm sure I'll have a "stash" built up in no time.

It seems one of the popular goals is to have a coupon for anything that is on sale so you can buy it at a store that doubles or triples coupons, and end up with an overage that puts money in your pocket.

Sounds easy, but the deals didn't really add up after one week's worth of coupons, no matter how many different grocery circulars I looked through. And the idea of buying a whole bunch of stuff I don't really need just because it's free or will put $.23 in my pocket sounds kind of silly, but there's probably good deals in the long-run, especially if you're pretty on-top of your family's regular grocery habits.

Note to self: Stay on top of family's regular grocery habits.

We'll see how it goes. Every little bit counts, right? I took my first trip to CVS today to rack up some ECBs (more on this phenomenon later), but Lily and Jacob decided this would be a good time to present a unified front of fussiness for all the world to see...and hear (and Mama forgot someone's pacifier, so I just kept giving the one I had to whomever was complaining the loudest...ahh yes, family germ sharing), so I couldn't really concentrate and figure out what I was doing. I ended up spending more money than I wanted to and having a whole bunch of ECBs that I couldn't spend on anything.

Oh well, at least I have them for next time...

7 comments :

Lisa said...

I've never posted here- but I've followed your rtr site and somehow ended up reading the sweet stories of your growing brood.

Couponing can be a waste of time...-OR-...it can be a major money saver for someone who can be vigilantly organized.

Please see sites such as the Grocery Game or couponmom. Iheartcvs also has a great explanation for that particular store. Most couponers don't actually cut the coupons, rather they save them in a three ring binder or a folder and write the date at the top. Both sites listed above will give you a list of things you can get for free (or next to free). They will list the date of the coupon packs, the coupon and the amount and even the total amount you will pay at the store. They also advocate using online coupons.

1) Only buy what you need
2) If it's cheap or free, consider buying it and giving it to charity(food banks, battered women's shelters, etc.)

One last word..Be careful not to let this eat up your time because it can. However if you keep at it for four weeks (there is a grocery sale pattern in the stores) you will see that it can work for your family, thus giving you more money for diapers, seeds for the garden or even, yes, a corian countertop.

Good Luck!

sue said...

Funny you posted this, I've just gotten into coupons myself.

I've also thought they were a waste of time for just a few cents off (especially for things we normally don't eat), but I've also heard those stories of mega-couponers who cut their grocery bill in half.

There's a great explanation of how this all works at thegrocerygame.com. Once I stock up on some coupons I think I'm going to do their $1 4-week trial to get the hang of it.

Oh, and you can get free online coupons at couponmom.com.

I'm not sure how it will work for me. We don't eat a lot of processed food, and none of our grocery stores double coupons. But I'm giving it a try.

I think I see corian in your future!

Angela said...

Nah, I don't believe it. Well, maybe if you actually buy brand names (which unfortunately I'm starting to do... there's no generic version of fruit and veggie juice yet!). Generic is always cheaper in my opinion. And it leaves my evening free to fold laundry or crochet scarves for Christmas presents. (That's about as much as I can crochet!)

mama k said...

Yeah, I did the CVS thing for awhile and it takes a couple trips for it to start paying off. You use the ECB from your first trip to pay for most of your next trip and so on.

Overall though, I do feel that couponing is a waste of time for our family. We don't like to use a lot of processed convience foods, which are the ones that you can get the deals on. I do snag coupons for organic products here and there to make them more affordable, but I'm sure not making any money on them.

Angela said...

I might change my mind. I just noticed how many name brands we're using when I went grocery shopping. I guess I could use a few coupons for the "oh, that brand is better tasting/works better" items.

Brent and Abigail said...

what are these ebc's and how can i get them :)

we also clip coupons but i find that usually i can find another brand cheaper than the coupon. but the other day i saved $4!

Amanda said...

Hmmm..don't really ever purchase any of the stuff that coupons are made for...now if I could find coupons for our local market, that would be great...;)

How's it going with this? I always get a little chuckle when I read all about your domesticity...I don't know why...lol