Thursday, April 11, 2013

What is Couponing and Is It Worth It?

About four years ago, I decided to dive into that crazy world of couponing?  I had seen little things here and there on serious couponing and I was interested to see if I could figure it all out and really save money.  I had certainly used coupons on items I purchased, but I only saved a dollar here and there.  I had also heard that many times people began to buy things they would not normally buy because of coupons and therefore, spent more money on their groceries than they would have without the coupons.  However, I had read some blogs of people who were seeing big savings and even saw a woman once pay $.14 for a whole cart of I knew there was some piece I was missing.
     I started doing some research on couponing and surprisingly found that there really was a method to this couponing thing and along with it, some serious money to be saved.  The key things I found out were as follows:
  1. The prime time to use a coupon is when an item goes on sale.  So hold on to those coupons.
  2. Sales and coupons are cyclical.  Items will go on sale about every 6 weeks and coupons    come out about every 4 weeks.
  3. Some items and coupons come out during certain seasons (condiments around Memorial Day).
  4. When a product is new, high dollar coupons come out to entice you to try them.
With this knowledge, I was able to understand how some people were saving hundreds of dollars at the store every week.  I began to put this knowledge to good use and quickly cut our grocery budget from $800 to $300-400 per month (for a family of five).  Pretty amazing!  Not only was my bill lower, but I also began filling my cabinets and freezer!  I decided this couponing thing was definitely worth my time.
     In a very short amount of time, I was saving money and had a very modest "stockpile" of everything we, toiletries and cleaning supplies.  I loved this game of going into a store and coming out with tons of stuff that did not kill my bank account.  Every time I would go into a store and get something for free, I felt like I had won...and I will say I enjoyed it.
     So in short, my method is to buy three papers each week so I have three sets of coupons.  I wait to use coupons until the item is on sale and then I "stock up" so I will not have to buy that item again until it is on sale and I have a coupon again.  Pretty simple!  I do not spend tons of time couponing...maybe an hour or two researching sales and then about 20 minutes in the store.   So is it worth it?  ABSOLUTELY!

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