Monday, January 2, 2012

Couponing, Really? You Don't Have To Be An Extreme Couponer To Save Money

That's me, top right, with my NYC besties.  This was our
Christmas dinner at Serendipity 3 - home of the famous
$8.95 frozen hot chocolate (who needs coupons!).
Couponing, really?  For those of you who really know me, I’m sure you’re thinking this can’t be true.  Yes, I am the same woman who used to tell my friendset when I lived in New York City, “C’mon, we can afford to eat there and go see a show…let's pretend we're on vacation!”  My credit cards seemed like my best friend back then, or at least a boyfriend who paid for everything and didn’t pressure me to put out.  There was no way I could live in New York City and not go out and do all of the exciting things there were to do…shopping, great restaurants, Broadway!  I was in heaven but didn’t have the cash to support my habits.  So when I tell you now that my new hobby is couponing, trying to save my family hundreds when it comes to grocery shopping; you just have to take my word on it.

My mom couponed.  Even when I left the house and started grocery shopping, she tried to teach me about coupons and how much she saved.  All I saw were coupons for thirty-five cents off Hershey bars, ten cents off of Cocoa Puffs and twenty-five cents off Prell shampoo…not only did I not buy those products regularly, I could care less about taking the time to clip coupons just to save seventy cents at the end of it all.  It just didn’t seem like something that was for me. 

Once I had my children, I still didn’t think much about it.  Even going from two incomes to one in our new life in South Carolina.  It wasn’t until I spoke with a real life do-it-all mom of four little girls that I realized not only could I find the time to do it; it really, truly saves you money if you’re organized enough.  Then just two weeks ago, a co-worker who admitted to being addicted pulled me into a CVS, showed me the sales paper and the handy dandy machine where you scan your card to get instantaneous coupons and had me sign up for a CVS ExtraCare Rewards card.  Five minutes later, I bought a Visa gift card I was planning on buying at Walmart later that day and walked out of the store with a store credit for $10 (CVS CashCard, I think).  The next day, using that credit and a $2.00 off Huggies manufacturer coupon, I spent $4.77 on a box of pull-ups and a gallon of milk.    

I was hooked.  I decided I wanted to give it a shot just in case it could make an impact on our lives.  So over the holidays, I started really researching this couponing business and talking in depth with all my girlfriends who actively play this game….it is a game after all, why do you think so many of these playahs carry around these baseball card binders all the time?    

So here it is ladies, I am a beginner couponer.  Or couponess.  Or couponista.  I’m secretly excited.  I'm not trying to achieve extreme couponer status.  I have no desire to start a stockpile of Dial soap or cereal that tastes stale to me after a few weeks.  I just want to save a little money and share what I learn with you as I am in my apprenticeship.  If you have advice for me or anyone reading this, please leave a comment!  I want to learn!  If you want to learn, leave a comment and let me know I’m not alone in my new obsession.

***My first tips for other newbies…my friends have directed me to and and they’ve been great, but I have found to be very informative and easy to use.