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Happy Family Tips

Coupon How-To From a “Been There, Doing That” Mother and Wife

Having a family of eight, almost nine tends to cause you to look for ways that you can save money or cut costs. Many of us have a very fixed budget, especially with the economy now. This makes it difficult to see areas in your budget that are flexible or have any areas to give. Some of us have cut deeply out of our entertainment budget, or in my case, our coffee house budget because that is one area that can actually be cut. Even if you don’t have a large family like mine, doesn’t let you off the hook. We can all stand to make some changes. That led me to find a solid “coupon how-to,” and now I’m passing that on to you – free of charge, without the need for a coupon, this time.
For years I have been anti-coupon. I just never saw the point. Why would I waste all my time cutting out coupons for 35 cents off of a name-brand item, when I can still buy the store or generic brand item more inexpensively? I also thought that if I had cut all of these coupons, I would be compelled to buy things that I had coupons for that I would have never normally bought. I sort of thought this because I had done just that a few times when I had tried the “coupon thing”.
I could also envision mass amounts of coupons spilling out of the top of my wallet, or crumpled up at the bottom of my purse. Let’s face it, my purse doesn’t need any help in the crumpled up paper department. I do have 6 kids after all. I pictured myself standing at the check out with a mile long line behind me, three to four unruly children begging for candy, and me digging through the bottom of my purse in the hopes that I could find THE coupon that would save me a bunch of $$$ only to find it and realize it was expired. No thank you. I tend to be a spectacle of sorts, as it is, if I travel through the aisles with all of my children. Adding the vision of the coupon fiasco to the mix was something I was not interested in.
So, when my sister-in-law mentioned to my mom that she had started “couponing” I gave her the eye-roll. (Behind her back of course. I am not that rude!) As she was describing all of the free stuff and super inexpensive stuff that she had picked up, I couldn’t help but be curious enough to ask the one question you never want to pose to a couponer, unless you want to become one yourself: “How?”
Her answer has become this “coupon how-to,” a crash course in all things coupon. By the time the conversation was over, I was not sold per se. But, I was intrigued enough to do a little more investigating of my own.
**Warning!** If you don’t want anything to do with coupons, you should probably stop reading this article now. You just may be sucked into the coupon vortex like the rest of us.
What I discovered is that every idea I had about coupons was, well…wrong. I do so hate to be wrong. If it involves saving money, I can be big enough to admit it. Couponing is very strategic. It requires planning, organization, research and mad skills. Okay, perhaps that is an exaggeration of sorts. But, the 1st three are definitely required.
Coupon How-To
– Supplies –
A new attitude about frugality and spending – non-negotiable!
4-6 Sunday Papers, depending on family size (Make sure they have all coupon inserts!)
Organizer – a baseball card organizer (in a 2-3 inch three-ring binder) works great for coupons.
Notebook dividers for above
– Directions –
Every Sunday pull out the store ads and match up the deals to your coupons. Better yet, find blogs in your area that have done all of the work for you. There are a ton out there. Some in my area even host monthly classes on how to become a “coupon queen.”
Label the dividers with different categories: baby, beauty/haircare, first aid, dairy, etc. You will find categories that work for you – but the best way is to label them in such a way that the coupons reflect the store aisles. Then start cutting those coupons and loading up your binder.
The goal of the coupons is to know when to play them. You don’t want to just make a list and see if you have a coupon for it. You want to use your coupons on items that are already on sale and at rock-bottom price. Then you use multiple coupons to stock up on the item. Because you can also …