I know some of you have been around since day one (figuratively speaking) and many of you are new readers here and I want each one of you to get to know me just as I want to get to know you:) Each week on Sunday’s I will share some information on me, my family and things that I enjoy so you can get to know me better:) Feel free to send me a question that you have and I will happily answer it in one of the Sunday Getting to Know Me posts.
Many times I have been asked the question “What lead you to couponing?” Well there are a few things that have gotten me to the stage of couponing that I am in now, I would not call it extreme but it is not bear minimal either, it works for my family and it did take time for it to get to where we are now. Growing up my mom couponed, and I always shopped sales and one of my favorite stores was TJ Maxx to buy clothes. When Tom and I got married in 2004, I was pregnant with my oldest, he was getting ready to go off to basic training for the Air Force and money was tight. We used coupons just to get by, we used them on the products we needed and never bought things we did not need. We continued to use coupons this way once we moved to New Jersey in 2005 when we got stationed there. Things were tight money wise but it was just the 3 of us and we were able to get by and still have extra money so it worked. It worked until our son was born, and when he was 6 months old I went and got a job, it was one of the worst jobs I have ever had, it was a a Wendy’s and at night while Tom worked during the day. Our house was a mad house at 6pm, he came home from work and I left to go to work. Me working nights left no time for family time and so we had to find another solution. I remember the night I told Tom “I’m using coupons for everything, I will plan everything we eat and buy around the sale ads and I am quitting my job”, I am pretty sure he thought I was crazy but for me I was missing my babies growing up, I was missing family time and I hated smelling like a fry everyday that I got home!
So I was sitting in our living room on a Thursday night scanning through the coupons I had with the sales fliers for Acme and ShopRite (up until then I was shopping only at the commissary and had yet to venture out to find other stores) and I saw New York Crutons 10 for $10…and sitting in front of me was 7 .50/1 coupons, I am sure Tom thought I had lost it when at 11:30 at night I said I am going to Acme, wrote down the directions from Map Quest (It is sad I didn’t know where it was when it was only a 10 minute drive but I had never been on that side of town) and headed out the door (it may seem crazy that I left at 11:30 at night but Acme sales run Friday-Thursday). Walking in the door when I got home with my 7 FREE bags of crutons felt great, I had been paying almost $2 a bag each week($1.50 if I had a coupon) when I went grocery shopping and now I was set for 7 weeks saving myself $14 which may not seem like a lot but at the time any amount of savings was needed since I had quit my job. I know the next day I went to CVS, I do not remember exactly what I bought but I know it was the week of summer clearance and I got bubbles for .09 each!
There was also a time that I “had to get every deal” we had 2 deep freezers and a garage full of food (thankfully I also had great friends who didn’t mind shopping for free at my house and places I could donate a lot of stuff when things got to full) and it was sometimes to much and my kids were tired of being at the store everyday to get the best deals. I then started school to finish getting my Associates Degree in teaching and slowed down on my couponing. When we moved to Pennsylvania this past October I slowed down even more and became more picky about the deals I was buying. (you can see posts from my shopping trips in 2008-2009 that would be considered extreme). Having the balance and where we are now is so much better for all of us and we still have quality food in our house and large savings just with what we always need.
You may be wondering why is I am telling you the stages of my couponing, and it is because it was a learning time for me. The excitement of getting things for free and having huge amounts of grocery items was thrilling (and thankfully none went to waste) but it did take time for the perfect balance to be found for our household. It is important that you learn what your family will use and won’t use and do what is best for your family.
How did you start couponing? Do you remember what your first YES! moment when couponing was? What type of couponer do you consider yourself to be?
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