I get asked a lot about saving money by couponing. Most women ask me because they know I have couponed for years and almost never shop without a list and my coupons. Now that the internet is posting so many coupons, it is almost silly that more people don't use coupons as a viable way to save money.
Since I am currently a stay-home mom, I really jumped back into couponing and budgeting a few months ago. It wasn't that I was just throwing money around like I was rich or anything, I just had gotten out of the 'if we don't have a coupon, we don't need it' mantra that the kids so often hear me utter. I would buy cereal even when it wasn't on sale and I didn't have a coupon! Now that is something I never do!
It didn't take but just a few weeks to rebuild my coupons once I started looking at websites. You really don't even need to buy the sunday papers anymore to use coupons! I take the local paper just because I actually like to read the newspaper. I use a few rules for my couponing because I have known people who actually end up spending more money after they coupon.
1. I only purchase things my family will eat. It's not a good deal if no one in the family will eat the item and it ends up being thrown away. I will try new things one time if I think we may eat it but I'm pretty picky.
2. I keep a stockpile of certain things like cereal, coffee, soups, general pantry items that we eat very regularly. I have a set limit of how many of those items I will allow in the house. Most of us have a limited amount of storage space and a thousand rolls of toilet paper just doesn't fit into my storage closet no matter how cheap they were!
3. I don't buy prepared cookies and junk food (unless it's free with a coupon!) OK, I do have a few rules I break! I just got two free oreo's cookies because I had free coupons for them, normally, I wouldn't even buy them on sale!
4. I won't buy something with a coupon if the store brand I usually buy is still cheaper. There are some items, like canned tomatoes, that are still cheaper to buy without coupons most of the time.
With smart shopping, I can normally cut $30-$50 off my grocery bill every two weeks. If you do the math, that's almost $100 a month, off of things that we use and eat! That type of saving can really add up over the course of a year.
If you need motivation to start, begin charting how much you save when you shop. Set a goal, like dinner out or a family get-away when you save so much. It will suprise you how fast those coupons add up!