Today I will be starting a post series on couponing basics which will cover some basic principles of couponing including coupon stacking, organizing, figuring out the best deals, buying coupons online, and stockpiling. If you have other topics or questions you would like me to cover please email me at [email protected] or leave a comment.
If you are new to couponing, i’m sure you are asking yourself all kinds of questions:
So what is all this couponing business? Are all couponers like those on Extreme Couponing? Can I really save 50-90% on my groceries and drugstore purchases regularly? Will this become a huge time suck? Will I become obsessed with saving money and penny pinching? Will I become protective and possessive of my coupon binder and stockpile? Is it even worth it? Where do I start?
It’s easier than you think, no it’s not a time suck, yes you can save tons!, and no, you do not need to go overboard and treasure your coupon binder as a member of the family. I have found couponing to be a valuable money saver and a new, fun hobby.
Here’s my story.
A few months before our wedding last year, my husband lost his job, I started a new job, and I started graduate school. It was an adjustment to say the least. I was crazy busy with wedding planning, learning the ropes at work, and wading through graduate school homework each week. When my husband lost his job we decided to take stock of where we were in our careers and financially and determined that there was no time like the present to get moving on our goals. So we decided that it would be best for my husband to finish his degree full time (while he was working full time he was taking one college class in the evening but it takes for-ev-ah to finish school that way) so that we could both be done with school in just 2-3 years.
We looked at our budget and figured that we could make do if we squeezed our as much as we could and cut out unnecessary expenses. So we got down to business hitting the books, getting super excited about our wedding, and paying the bills. But after the wedding we ran into unexpected expenses. My husband had some health problems and while we have health insurance, the bills still started piling up. We wanted to save for a house one day and realized that there was no way we would be able to do that while barely keeping our heads above water. The stress was definetely getting to us.
Then one day I saw Extreme Couponing on TLC. Yes, really. I know many people hate the show and think that it unfairly portrays couponers as product-obsessed hoarders who value their stockpiles and coupon binders more than their families (which are valid points about the show) but it blew..my..mind. I had used coupons for a couple of years but usually clipped a few and put them in an envelope and then forgot to fish them out of my purse while at the store. So I was quite intrigued by the show and realized that I had been doing it wrong.
For starters, I watched the show and saw them explain some basics of couponing such as coupon doubling, stacking coupons, and buying in bulk to stockpile. Then I jumped on the internet and surfed until I found Krazy Coupon Lady and Coupon Mom. Both are free sites, have helpful videos, great tutorials, and coupon matchups. I also got the Krazy Coupon Lady book