Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CONTEST: Me+Coupons=Changed Woman!

When I think back to my pre-coupon days, my weekly triple-digit trips to the grocery store and my budgeting ignorance, I see just how far I have come. The change has been overwhelming to so many aspects of my life:
  1. My budget: the belt is loosened and I can do more things with the surplus money I'm saving!
  2. My stockpile: is a far cry from what it used to be. Come flood, hurricane, pestilence, swine flu, whatever! The pillsbury biscuits will be a-roastin' over the campfire and the juicy juice will be flowing, come on over!
  3. My confidence to talk to store managers and confidence in my knowledge of policies.
  4. My menu: the way I cook revolves around my coupon budget and acquisitions, and it's working out just fine!
  5. My other stockpiles: the way I shop for clothes and other necessities: I stock pile everything now! I'm working on a year's supply of clothes, shoes, jackets for my kids and a reserve "in case of emergency" savings account.
  6. My role as head of the family finances: my husband thinks I'm cool and I'm wheeling and dealing like a stockbroker, getting the best deals I can wherever I go!
What's your story?
How has couponing CHANGED your life?
if you've shared your story in the past, in a comment or otherwise, please feel free to share again. Make me laugh or make me cry and you'll surely win!

Leave a comment and tell your story! You have until Monday, June 1st to enter the contest. We'll select a winner or two who will receive 4 extra coupon inserts- packed with money saving kraziness!
We'll also announce the winner to the overdue song contest!


S Semon said...

I am so much more aware of what I spend money on. I now only walk out of things I came for or that I found a STEAL on....nothing more. I love the feeling of getting way more stuff for my money and that I am doing my part to help our finances but still survive!

The Keevy Family said...

I love that I have learned the art of buying things when they are at their lowest price and stocking up! Couponing has changed my life and helped our family cope with a $400 increase in housing when we moved to a bigger city last year. Thanks to coupons our budget has not changed even though our expenses have.
It's just one more way that God has taught me to use what I have and that he will provide for us. I believe sometimes he provides for us in giving us different opportunities, including learning something new!
I am forever a coupon girl now!
Thanks for the giveaway!

Sarah said...

I used to hate the feeling of standing at the cash register as (beep after beep) my fate was decided. Now I love watching how high my bill goes before it plummets down the cliff of coupons and catalinas. As I stand there I know that I am in control, and that, miracle of miracles, I am more than happy to pay the bottom line. It's a reward for what I do daily. I tell the cash register what is an acceptable amount. I am not his victim.

The Tinsley Family said...

I remember growing up, we never had "name-brand" stuff. It was always the cheap version. Then taste just isn't the same sometimes. So when I started using the coupons, and getting boxes of Lucky Charms for like $.25 I called my mom almost crying. I enjoy sharing my savings with others and creating a food storage. I also get a little pride out of the cashiers when they see my previous total drop down to an unbelievable total. I have even had other shoppers comment!

Amber Red said...

I have only been couponing for a couple months now and lets just say I am addicted. I have always loved to stretch the ole pocket book, but I never realized how much you can do it with groceries. Recently my daughter (who is 6) has really been on the lookout for coupons as well. If we get a magazine she will instantly grab the scissors and go for the coupons. I love rubbing off on them this way. We are also putting grass in our front yard and we had to rent a tool. When we got there my daughter ask "mom did you have a coupon for that?" I laughed and said no, but made sure she new i did call around for the best deal :) So thanks to you and other blogs we are going to coupon ourselves to Disneyland...heck with retirement!! Oh and by the way I spent 430.16 last month and saved 679.00!! I think with no stock pile that is pretty stinkin cook!

nomadicspud said...

I just started this coupon thing 2 weeks ago. I echo a lot of things everyone else has said. I love being able to build up a cache of food and other things for emergency.

Unlike others though I have a brother-in-law who has struggled with stage 4 melanoma for the last 4 years. He is unable to work and his outcome in very uncertain. My sister has to be the sole breadwinner in her family. They were a young couple and had no life insurance when he was diagnosed. Often times we want to do more for them besides watch the kids and clean their house.

This couponing allows me to not only let her know about these easy deals like the mac and cheese but to also send food her way to ease some of those burdens.

So thank you KCL's!!!! There's many ways you make a difference. You've given me an opportunity to help them.

Glaston Totes said...

I love all of the new foods and other things that I have been able to try since I have been couponing. I always thought that I had to buy the no name brand or the store brand of everything. Now that I'm getting the good stuff, I really notice the difference. Some of my new favorites are: Skintimate shaving cream, the scrubbing bathroom cleaner, actual tiolet bowl cleaners, pringles!!!, chap stick, Bryers ice cream!!!, Hebrew National hot dogs, great shampoo, and many more.

Plus, we have always tried to shop at Winco since it is Boise based company, but since I have been couponing we have been shopping at Safeway. It is kinda nice to shop in a beautiful store that isn't so crowded.


Lynne said...

Short and sweet.......I hate buying ANYTHING without a coupon since I started couponing! My hubby is a police officer so we have to stretch whatever we can as far as we can! Thanks for all your help!

LIZZY said...

!Me+Coupons=Changed Woman!
My little story- This is my 18th month of Couponing!!!!! Yeah I am so happy so very happy! Lets back track 18 months ago....I thought i was a super smart shopper...Winco for almost everything, Costco for a little, bread store once a month, doller store for certain stuff, Walmart, Freddys & Targer on the occasion.........Believe it or not I had never stepped foot in a Wallgreens. Now i go to Winco once a month! I live in Safeway, followed by Albies. My husband had to build me a pantry....which is now overflowing. I feel POWERFUL!! I have been married to a wonderful guy for 15 years & he alone provides all household income. I stay at home & take care of our babies. Diapers used to be painful to i get them sooooooooo cheap. I used to use a dull razor until it was practically rusted out, now i get pretty green & pink ones for practically free. We have always entertained a lot & I would run down to our local (very expensive) store & easily spend 40 bucks a whack to feed our friends a snack or something, now i just dig around & pull out my freebie snackies, yippee i sit there & watch them eat the free/cheap food w/no worries....We Have been blessed........Lots of food... toiletry's...ect. Couponing Rocks!
Love your Blog

Snigger Fam said...

Me before couponing- :(
Me after couponing- :)

Your blog is awesome! I am so appreciative of all you coupon bloggers out there. It's because of you that I got started (just one month ago) and am saving so much money. For so long I knew there had to be a better way (buying bulk wasn't getting me anywhere, and we were already living as frugally as possible). Once I followed the advice/tips of you coupon gurus, I was hooked! I now have the beginnings of a stock pile that I so desired. It's weird, but extra toilet paper and food in my basement, all purchased super cheaply, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I'm just beginning this wild ride of couponing, but it sure has been fun so far! It's great to know, with a little hard work and studying, I can save my family a lot of money. We just moved across the county and taking our food storage was impossible so we arrived with nothing. It very comforting to see it start to grow again, a little at time. Thanks for all the advice!


Karilyn said...

We have always been a frugal family when it came to shopping for clothes-we were all about Clearance and 2nd hand. I just had NO idea food frugalness was even an option (without starving my 3 wee ones).

I am just starting out couponing. I've survived 3 rounds of doublers, and I'm learning how to get the most for my money. I think it's pretty funny that now I think paying over $1 for cereal is just too much. LOL And it kills me to have to buy something full price! I took my husband on one of my trips and he was excited at first and then discouraged after some of the items on our list were sold out...he wanted to give up and just buy whatever...I kept saying "we can only buy what we came for--that's how we keep the cost down". Now he is a believer!

Julie in KnoxTN said...

I've only been at this for 2 mos now but what a difference it has made. In 2 mos ALONE I've been able to purchase $750+ in groceries/supplies for under $350. That's only $175 a month and that's mostly b/c I've been stockpiling at the same time; in the mos to come I expect to spend less b/c we'll already have much of what we need. My husband was kind of iffy when he saw me putting my binder together and clipping inserts but now he asks me how we did as soon as I come home from the store -- and instead of awaiting "my doom" at the cash register as another poster put it, I'm all smiles when I sign that receipt. Thank you so much!

acmacy said...

I have been couponing for about 3 months and it has changed my life. I use to dread going to Winco everyweek and spending all that money to feed my family of 5. Now I shop at Safeway and get things for a fraction of the cost. I only shop Winco about twice a month now. And I have not been to Costco in about 2 months. I have a stockpile that I have built and it makes me feel so good to know that I'm saving our family money.
I just want to say thank you for providing this website. It have been a real blessing to me and my family.

Jennifer said...

I am definitely a changed woman!! I used to spend soooo much money feeding my large family, but not anymore! I've been couponing for just over 2 months now and I've finally gotten to the point where I've got such a large stockpile that I've cut my weekly grocery bill by more then half!! Now I only buy what's on sale and the things we really NEED that week (like produce, dairy, or other perishables). Yes, couponing does take a lot of work, but its been WELL worth it! I love that I've not only been able to significantly cut back on my grocery budget, but that I also have a great food storage as well. THANKS KCL!!

Amber Schmidt said...

Coupons changed my life before I ever started using them! Last year my husband had a "mid life crisis" (at 28). I suddenly found myself a single mom to three kids. As if that were not hard enough, my youngest is medically fragile. She has had 15 surgeries in two years, and has spent a years worth of days in the hospital. We owe more in medical debt than the value of our home and the light of day seems FAR away sometimes.

I was in complete shock and was in a panic about how I was to provide for these kids, keep them in a house, with a job (photographer) that is NOT steady income. And then a friend of mine showed up on my doorstep with a near laundry basket sized LOAD of cleaning supplies, HBA, food etc. I tried to pay her for it and she simply said... WHY? I got most of it for FREE. I thought for sure that she was trying to make me FEEL better but I would later learn that she was serious.

I can remember coming home from my daughter's first open heart surgery. Our bank account was overdrawn, our credit cards were maxed out and we had a few spoiled items in the fridge. We had NOTHING to feed our kids. I remember how I felt like a complete failure.

I have only been seriously stockpiling for 2-3 months now but in that time we have been able to keep our food budget to $50/week. We are gradually chipping away at the debt and hope to soon be selling our stockpile (in pieces) to pay off Kyleigh's medical bills. Moreover my kids will NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN. No matter how long we are hospitalized now I know I can come home to a fully stocked freezer with meats and cheeses, cereal (brand name at that!), rice and pastas in the perishables pantry... and I know that I can provide for them, even if I had bought NOTHING else... for at least a month.

I am SO thankful for coupons. My husband is home now (thanks to some amazing prayer warriors) and we enjoying date night - COUPONING together. Coupons have inspired me, lifted my spirits, provided for my family, and have helped my husband and I bond again.

Whether or not I win... It doesn't really matter. Thank you for allowing us to share our stories!!! Coupons are so much more to me than a few bucks saved!

cksknitter said...

I've been using coupons consistently for 20 years, but the switch for me happened about 12 years ago when I figured out that just using coupons wasn't enough. I realized that I should be pairing coupons for products that are on sale at their rock bottom prices and stockpile items so that I never have to run to the store in the middle of preparing a meal or pay top dollar for toothpaste because we can't squeeze anymore out of the tube. I'm certain that I've saved tens of thousands of dollars over the past 20 years. I wish I had kept track!
Chrissy at knittoday(at)hotmail(dot)com

Lynn said...

So glad to see the post about yin and yang. As much as I love couponing, I'm about at the point you describe about giving it up. I seriously think I'm addicted. I know a lot of people throw that word around to describe their couponing behavior, but when I couldn't sleep one night after one of those totally awesome Albertsons deals, I began to wonder about this. I seriously was on a high! That reality has tempered me some. I'm going to try to keep on, but I know I need to back off. My husband just got laid off, and thankfully he's just received news he is being hired elsewhere. One thing we haven't been worried about is feeding the family for the next few months! We know lots of people who have been laid off, and we've been able to be a blessing to them. On the other side, this is my first year of homeschooling the kids and I must admit, that has suffered a bit. They are learning about math, advertising, finding a good deal and related things, but this is not a lesson they need to learn 3-4 times a week for the rest of their childhood. Like anything new, it takes time to develop a groove. I hope I'm close.

Kylie said...

This past year has been a total turn around for my little family of three. Last year we had a new baby and a brand new house, and along with that came a huge burden of debt. My husband was working retail management and putting in 60 hr weeks. I was working part time, and alone the rest of the day with my new (colicky) baby, depressed at the direction that my family was headed. We made some life changing decisions. We sold our house (for a loss, but we were lucky!), and moved to Utah to live with my parents. My husband started school again, and changed jobs to a steady 40hr work week.

But it wasn't enough, the debt was still there, and I still felt so hopeless and helpless about it. We weren't making any progress. My sister-in-law has always been frugal, but I began to see blog posts from her about these phenomenal deals. I was curious, and then she called me one Monday morning to tell me about the Albies rolling Pampers deal. She explained it to me, and I went down to Albies and did a few transactions. It was a rush! The lady in the aisle next to me had a huge binder of coupons, and a cart full of Dawn and Pampers, and right then I became aware of this whole lifestyle.

I started clipping every Sunday, and started scoring some good deals at Wags and Albies. I had some failed attempts too, but overall I am improving. I have made my own lists/scenarios for these past doublers, and did awesome. I think I am FINALLY getting the hang of it.

The best part is that my frugality is catching. My husband checks his deal forums every night, and tells me what he finds. I can tell he is excited about getting good deals and saving money, which is lightyears away from his previous mindset. He used to come home from work almost daily with a few new DVDs (at employee cost, but still a frivolous expense), now we redbox on free Mondays, or watch something from our vast DVD collection and eat our Target fruit snacks. :)

A few weeks ago my husband built food storage shelves in my parents basement, and already, they are full of applesauce, BBQ sauce, cereal and mayo! :) Its nice to help, without it hurting our wallets. I really feel like now is the time to prepare, and couponing has shown me how, and that it is possible.

Thanks for all your hard work and your positive attitudes!

Lyle and Jaime said...

$600 a month budget!!!! I never stayed within the $600 budget. It just was not do able for my family's name brand taste not to mention necessities.
I didn't even know where you would get coupons to clip out until I went to the class at the YMCA. My mom never had a coupon in the house growing up and always bought what food she wanted no matter what the Cost. Didn't work so well for us in School living off student loans and a fixed budget but I didn't have any clue how to fix it.
I have been doing this couponing stuff for almost 3 months now and spend 300-400 dollars a month on everything and come home with $1000plus worth of stuff for my family! I feel so empowered and excited about it! Thank you for sharing all the tricks!!!

The Fin's said...

I love your blog and it has helped me so much! I coupon ed once in Feb. thought, eh that was nice but really! I think I'll pass! Then I talked to my sister who started couponing, she helped me and I told myself, " do it for a month, and see how you feel about it" One of the reasons I started, Is that my hubby is in construction, Blah Blah Blah, Basically we are in trouble losing house, car up for sale, power bills late! I know I'm not the only one so no sob story really! I was having to borrow money to get milk, and gas, the daily stuff! I thought hey I have nothing to lose!

So starting the first of May I wrote down every penny spent every penny saved! Can I tell you WOW! I saved Enough money to not only pay other bills ontime, but make my car payment so I didn't have to sell it! What a blessing!

Not only that I LOVE to shop! But Couponing is like a scavanger hunt! haha! If I ever have an extra hour or two, I go to walmart or Albertsons, and just walk around see whats on sale, browse my book of coupons, sometimes I score big other times nothing! But I think thats the fun in it!

I had a really hard time this week when there were no ads in the paper! I really felt like they had taken Christmas away! I am so excited to get the paper this week, it feels like it's been to long! Yeah just thinking about it makes me giddy! hahah! :)

Thank you for all the hard work that you do to get us the deals and help us learn about saving money!

Funny story really fast! I take my 6 year old daughter shopping with me! I was cleaning her room, and found a stash of coupons in her purse! I asked her about it and she said mom I was saving them to help you next time we shop! Now she gets all excited when she sees the little boxes in front of products with the coupons sticking out of them! SO CUTE!

terri said...

I started couponing a few months ago. At first it was just something fun to do with a few friends who were also into it. We were going along nicely, getting great deals and building a stockpile of personal care items and foods when my husband was laid off (his second layoff within 8 months.) Like a lot of people, we are underwater on our house and there are no jobs out there in his industry. We are so grateful to have enough stored away to only have to purchase staple items like milk and bread on weekly basis. Couponing has literally helped us survive this trying time. Even with our drastically reduced income, I am still able to take piles of change to albie's and take advantage of doubles opportunities to continue building our stockpiles. I will never stop couponing!!! Thankfully, we were prepared when a financial hardship came up. If it weren't for that, we'd probably be using credit cards to buy our groceries putting us even further into debt.

I'm a big fan of your blog. Keep up the fantastic work!

Sarah R said...

Couponing has absolutely CHANGED my life! We always were living paycheck to paycheck and when we really sat down and looked at where our money was going we found the we were spending $1,400/month on Food and other Necessities! Yikes! In only 6 weeks of Couponing I was able to bring that cost down to only $90!!! WOW! I'm hoping my new hobby will allow us to feel a bit more relaxed about our Finances.

Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into this blog, it really helps our family!

Amber Red said...

Was there a winner picked??