I used to be a heavy duty coupon clipper in my younger days. I had an accordian file and the whole deal. I carried my little folder with me to the grocery store and would take hours going through my folder to see what I had coupons for and what I didn't. There's nothing more gratifying than being able to buy a product that you normally buy and not having to pay full price. In our leaner years coupons were lifesavers...and many times enabled me to buy products that I would not necessarily be able to buy.
I was so proud of myself.
All the time I spent on organizing, clipping and shopping came to a screeching halt when I had two children 16 months apart. For 3 years of my life I was tied to my offspring. I was either pregnant, nursing or giving birth for those long years that are really a blur to me now, and we were over 6 hours away from our nearest relative.
Coupons were the least of my worries.
Over the years the Head of My Household and I have been blessed with well paying jobs. The cost of food (while always a concern...especially in today's economy) is not a "worry" per say for us today.
However, being good stewards of what we have been given and caring about the rest of the world as much as we care about ourselves has become a major worry. I have also become majorly concerned about the quality of the food my family eats. We, like many other busy families, spend way too much time in a drive thru...eating preservatives, chemicals and added sugars that have made our country (specifically our children) the fattest and sickest ever. These concerns have led me to pay very close attention to the ingredients in the food we eat and to try and prepare healthier fresher food at home.
Have you ever compared the price of fresh food to processed food? Processed food, which is unhealthy, is scads cheaper than fresh food.
I'm not sure right this minute that we as a country are being good stewards of what we've been given...and it's going to eventually catch up with us. But, that's for another post :(
Melanie at Coupon Goddess was the first to get me thinking about coupons again and how they could help me on my quest to buy the best food for my family while spending wiser and being able to give back more. The time and organization it takes to efficiently use coupons was a little overwhelming to think about when I first began mulling over how to add couponing to my already overflowing cup of daily tasks.
Could I really sacrifice any more time from my days and nights?
One day Melanie posted about how through couponing she was able to give back to U.S. soldiers sent overseas. Please read this post and look at the pictures of all the stuff Melanie has been able to pick up at little to no cost. She sends this stuff in care packages to our soldiers so far away from home.
This post stopped me in my tracks.
Once I picked my jaw up off the ground I made the final decision. If a little extra time and organization on my part could help my own family as well as my fellow man, the decision was a no-brainer.
I've signed up for several coupon newsletters and blogs that I've read through and watched for a while now. Several of them even post regularly to tell you where the sales are and which coupons you can use to double up and get things for free...and even make a little sometimes!! I have been stunned at how much time these ladies spend putting all this info together for the rest of us. My favorites so far are Coupon Goddess (of course), Southern Savers and Frugal Girls. I've registered at Kroger and Coupon.com. I can load coupons directly onto my Kroger Super Savers card from the Kroger site and print manufacturers coupons straight off the Coupons.com site.
I ventured to town yesterday to pick up a prescription at CVS and stopped in to see what was happening at Kroger. I really didn't have time for a major shopping trip, but we needed a few staples like milk, OJ and fresh fruit. My coupons just happened to be in my purse, unorganized of course, and I figured if I saw something I knew I had a coupon for I would grab it on my way out.
Even on this quick trip through the store, I was able to save $20.18 by using coupons on top of the Kroger Super Saver prices that were good this week. Here's a picture of the things I picked up in my drive by Kroger stop:
Of the items in the picture I was especially proud of these purchases:
Newman's Own Ranch dressing is one of our family favorites; it is all natural and all the proceeds go to charity. Another no-brainer for me. The Kroger Super Saver price was $2.99 (regular $3.49), and I had three .50 cent off coupons. My beloved Kroger DOUBLES coupons, which means each of these three bottles of our favorite dressing only cost $1.99.
Yoplait yogurt is also a staple at my house. Kroger Super Saver price yesterday was $3.00 for 6, and I had another .50 cent coupon for buying 6. With doubled coupons, these 6 containers of yogurt cost a total of $2.00 or about .31 cents each.
Tidy Cat was Super Saver price $1.99, and I had yet another .50 cent coupon to make this bag .99 cents. Uh-Oh and Beneigt will be so happy :)
The major deal of the night was Cheerios. I had .55 cent coupons for these, and they were Super Saver priced at $2.00 per box. With doubled coupons these 3 boxes of Cheerios were only .90 cents each!
Now, this might be chicken feed to the lifelong couponer, but a girl's gotta start somewhere. I go to the grocery store at least twice each week, and if I can save at least $20 each trip, that's $40 per week, $160 per month...almost $2000 per year!!!! When you think about it like that, every penny counts!!
I'm also going to put 2 of the boxes of Cheerios in our food pantry at church this Sunday and try to make stocking the pantry a weekly habit of mine, if not twice weekly :) 2 items per week is 104 items added to our community food pantry each year (and that's a minimum). I'm going to let my daughters help me with this project as well.
Thanks, Melanie and all you other smart ladies for paving the way for the rest of us to make our world a better place for everybody and to teach our daughters how to be smart with their money.