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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Confessions of an Extreme Couponer

A Haul I Earned Money On
You get an awful lot of odd looks when you trudge into a store with a couple of ten pound binders in one hand and a battle plan, I mean 'list,' in the other.

Some people are friendly. . .they come right on up and ask questions about how couponing works, how much I save, and what the hot deals are at the moment.  Some even go so far as to ask if I will teach them how to do it.

Some, though it's definitely the minority, regard me through deeply suspicious eyes.  They believe I will clear shelves, clog up checkouts, and get stuff I simply do not need.  Some even believe that couponers are the reason that prices are so high. . .it's clearly because we are 'stealing' so much from retailers.

So let me clear up a few things:

  • I don't neglect family, friends, or social events to clip coupons or run to the store.
  • I NEVER clear shelves (I even pre-order stuff if I want more than 4 of something)
  • I NEVER clog up a line. . .I will wait for ages until a line empties before entering it just so no one has to wait.  And if I have more than one transaction and someone comes up behind me, I will go back to the end of the line to do the next transaction.  Plus, I am always prepared to the point I am as quick and efficient as possible.
  • I'm not 'stealing' from stores.  Stores actually earn more when they receive coupons. . .not only do they get the full face value of the coupon from the manufacturer, but they also get a per-coupon handling fee.
  • I'm not stealing from the manufacturer, either.  Gaining a customer at the cost of a coupon is one of the cheapest forms of advertising a manufacturer can utilize.  And they are still making a profit.
  • I'm not a hoarder. . .what my family can't use, I donate.  And I donate a LOT.
  • I'm not a shopaholic.  I kind of wish I didn't have to ever shop.  But, since I do have to, I want to do it well.

I hope that clears things up a bit.

The truth is, couponing is very important to me.  And not just for the copious amounts of savings, either, no matter how fab they are.  (and, just to quell the inevitable curiosity I am sure is rising, I save between $1500 and $2000 per month on our total average monthly household budget.  This includes food, cleaning products, tp, birthday and Christmas gifts, medicines, and basically EVERYTHING I buy for the running of our house)

So, if it's not the savings, what is it?

Part of it is the peace of mind I have knowing that, if we needed to, our family of six could live for a significant amount of time just dipping into our stockpile.  We recently had to test that little theory, over a period of about eight months.  It felt so awesome knowing that the effort I had made couponing meant I didn't have to worry about feeding my family, or even about such things as deodorant, shampoo, soaps, toothpaste, and even makeup.

But it's also a powerful tangible lesson in the direct connection between effort and reward for my children.

When parents go to work, kids don't really understand the effort they are exerting in order to earn a living.  That disconnect is powerful.  All kids see is that 'stuff' appears from nowhere.

But whenever we can demonstrate that when you put in some work, a direct benefit results, we are connecting the dots for our children in a tangible way that, hopefully, will influence their understanding of the value of money.

So I love to coupon.

I love walking my kids through the process of collecting, collating, cutting and filing coupons.  I love letting them help me compile shopping lists and see the savings.  I love the look on their faces when they get a treat or a little luxury that a little effort bought (but money didn't!).  I love seeing their understanding of work, money, saving and patience grow.

Cutting coupons can be a little tedious.

Pouring into your kids never does.

Another Money Maker Haul

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