When I first began using coupons it was somewhat discouraging. I think that most of us are part of what I like to call the instant gratification generation and I had trouble with exactly that. I figured that once I committed, I would wake up with a ginormous stockpile and not have to do very much work. After all, how hard could it be, right? WRONG! I couldn’t have been more wrong. I bought a binder and some misc organizational tools, went to the stores, read some blogs and I scored some really good things for pretty cheap. But, it was all mostly toiletries. I needed to save on food, too. I was frustrated and I almost gave up. Lots of times. My husband dove in wholeheartedly with me and his support helped a lot. I would get easily flustered as we walked around target for two hours looking for deals, numbers were flying around my head like a tornado and ya, I cried on the way home from the store sometimes because I thought that I wasn’t cut out for this, couldn’t figure out the secret to it’s success and felt like I was wasting money on the one copy of the sunday paper I would get . I was meant to work my butt off and have very little to show for it. This was not ok with me. I am stubborn and persistent. What I needed was patience. What a concept! A virtue that I was not blessed with much of. Crap.
So I watched countless hours of youtube videos determined to master it. I soon moved from one newspaper to three. I had a little baby stockpile before I knew it.
And then I started getting five papers a week and concentrated on two stores at a time. I started with Target and Albertsons and told myself that I couldn’t even pay attention to any other stores until I mastered those. Best. Idea. Ever. I was way less overwhelmed and by not concentrating on this big mass of hundreds of kinds of information and taking a step back, it clicked for me. Yes!
Five papers moved to ten and I moved on to other stores. Now that I had the hang of those two, understanding the others was somewhat of a breeze. I was now up to three computers so that I could print 6 of every coupon instead of just the two that are allowed per IP address. I was going through printer ink like you wouldn’t believe and on one of my trips to get my cartridges refilled, the man that owns the local ink refill store finally asked why I used so much ink. I told him and he mentioned to me that he had a laser printer that he used for testing the cartridges that he would sell me for the cost of the refill cartridge. I was overjoyed! 7 reams of paper on 1 ink cartridge? Heck yeah! So I bought the $200 printer for $40. Total life saver! I’ve replaced it once in almost two years.
What once was my baby stockpile was getting bigger and biggger and….. you get the point. I loved not having to worry about when we ran out if something and it was a new feeling for me.
I was raised by a single mother who worked very hard at a mediocre (at best) job that she hated just to support us. Scraping by was second nature to me. I spent the better part of 5 years being a single mother myself. My boys never went without by any means but that was hard stuff! If I had only known then what I know now.
A year had come and gone since I started this journey and I tallied up the boxes of receipts I had saved the previous year and to my amazement, we had saved around $8,000.00! Omg! I was doing it!
Between what I saved on regular groceries and on building the stockpile, we actually saved that much?!!!!
At that point, I started looking at other ways to save money. We got rid of both of our new, massively expensive vehicles that cost over $1,000 per month to drive and bought a used suv and paid CASH for it!!!!! Blew my mind!
I also started making my own laundry detergent for a fraction of what it would cost to buy even with coupons and before you start thinking that I’ve lost my mind, it actually works the same if not better. So eat your heart out, laundry soap manufacturing companies. I don’t need or want you anymore! It’s over! I am breaking up with you forever and you can’t stop me with your lavender, lilac, spring meadow smelling goo! And so on…
It has been 2 years and 7 months since I started using coupons and being more conscious of where our money went and why. We have saved almost $20,000 on food, hygeine and household products. Our debts are paid. We have a full pantry, freezer and stockpile. Not only am I doing it, but I am also able to donate to others. Call me what you will, I don’t care. This is one if the best feelings. Freedom!