Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's just a game, people!

Ok, so I have been using coupons for a while now, but only fairly recently did I figure out the secret. You have to buy things when they are on sale, and use a coupon with the sale. Price match, do a little comparison shopping, and when you stumble upon an amazing deal-stock up. I mentioned that I was recently able to get dawn dish soap and hand renewal dish soap for super cheap (49 cents a bottle). The way I did that way I saw it was on sale for $1.49 I had been saving up my coupons for a while- this is not an item I needed right now, so the only reason I bought it was it was so cheap. I bought 1 bottle of the regular dish soap, 3 of the hand renewal and one of the pump foam ones-just to try. This honestly, will likely last us at least 6 months, possibly even a year. We have a dishwasher, so the only thing I use liquid soap for is to wash my hands or when we have alot of dishes, or to clean the kitchen. These aren't the tiny bottles either, they are the regular size. Anyways, I also snagged a couple different types of olay lotion for $1 each--I make lotion, but I can't even make it that cheap!! I only bought 2 bottles though, and I bought 2 bottles of herbal essences for $1 each, and two bottles of pantene proV @ $1 each. Realistically, I use about 1 bottle of shampoo and conditioner a month, so does my husband (though I don't think he uses the conditioner). So I just bought him shampoo for 2 months, and me a supply for a month, for $4. Normally it would have cost us about $5-6 for the cheap brand, and likely upwards of $15 if I bought the same kind not on sale (like I used to do whenever I needed something, I just bought it.)

Now, I was so excited to have spent so little and saved/gotten so much in my opinion, for what it was worth. I posted a couple pictures on facebook and got alot of friends asking how I did it, that they never seemed to be able to make it work. I am just learning still so I am not going to say I did all of it by myself, I had help. There are several sites, and blogs that post things for you that make it easy to know what to do and where the good deals are. I will get to that next post. But first I want to say this: Someone made the comment "am I going to be the next person on Extreme Couponers?". At the time, I didn't know what they were talking about. I have since seen the show. I think that those people (first of all, it seemed to show varying degrees and while I wouldn't agree that all those people were obsessed/addicted (at least not in a serious 'need help' kinda way) that I can very easily see how for some people it can take over. All things in moderation I say.

I stay at home, so yes, I have a little more time than most moms. Joanie Demer ( has had that couponers average $85/hour. That to me, is incredible. My husband is employed outside the home, and I only work from home to make a little extra money at this point. I homeschool my daughter, I take care of all 3 kids under 5 on a daily basis, I enjoy playing video games with my husband, I attend church on a regular basis, and I have a lot of other things I enjoy doing through the week. My time is very valuable. And I have no doubt that the $85/hour is accurate-to a point. I think you could to it to an unnecessary extreme. When you are buying things you don't need without giving that excess to those who do need-I don't see how that is necessary. When you are buying things you don't need in excess with money you don't have, that is not necessary.

When you are spending SO MUCH time, doing all this research there is a point where you need to take a step back and think, is this worth my time? What I think is neat is while I am still learning this, I haven't really spent any more time than I did before, and I managed to save money. Before, shopping for a family of 5, I could spent nearly 200 and 2 hours in one trip to the grocery store. That did not include planning, gas or anything else. And that also didn't include the addition 1 or 2 more (throughout the 2 weeks) trips back to the store or gas or time, because I was out of something, or we needed to pick up something for dinner or ...whatever! Hopefully within a few months those trips will stop. I will make just a couple planned trips every week/few weeks and save money also. Since I stocked up on things like TP, hand soap, dish tabs, air freshener (scored some apple cinnamon glad air freshener for .17 the other day!!!), toothpaste etc for all we'll need for a month or more, and pennies on the dollar, I won't be buying those items again for a while, thus saving me money.

That being said, I can see the point, to some extent, of having a stock pile. Plan ahead. When you see toilet paper for 75% off what you normally pay, and you have the money, buy a 3 months supply or whatever. People do that kind of thing at Sam's or Costco all the time and no one harasses them about it. Buy in bulk, save money. If you can buy the same number of items individually and save the money even moreso, and you have that money to do it, then go for it! The economy is still not the greatest shape, and who knows what could happen. My husband could lose his job tomorrow, you just never know. So if I had a nice stockpile of a or two worth of food storage to be prepared for that, or even just to offset the cost of rising food prices, it might be helpful. But do you really need to store 150 deodorants in your basement-probably not. Do you really need so much that you need to take out insurance on your stored items, probably not. Although I have often dreamed about a blast from the past-esque scene of me shopping from my own personal grocery store...who didn't drool over that? If you find great deals, use that chance to donate to your neighbors & family, church, or local food pantry.

You can easily save with coupons, and shop the store sales in just a few minutes a week. After a while. you can just replenish your stash and you won't have to buy something regardless of the price just because you ran out and needed it. Hopefully some day I will get to that point. I would love to have a small stockpile to shop from instead of having to buy something every week, and then that money is all savings. Just take into account these things. How often am I buying this item? What are the items I use for my family that I have to buy them on a weekly/bi weekly basis? How much money do I spend on groceries? What are the shelf life of those items? When is the item likely to go on sale again? If its something that goes on sale every couple weeks and has a relatively short shelf life, like yogurt or canned biscuits, just buy what your family will use in that period of time. Don't buy more than you have places to store, or that you won't be able to use (unless, again, you intend to donate it).

Ok, so yeh. That's my "vent" post about the show. All things in moderation. I'm not saying those people were/weren't as KRAZY as they seemed-I don't personally know them. I just think that anyone can do this, and you can do this without having it have to be your whole life. You can just use a few minutes a week to make the savings still equal big bucks!

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