May 11, 2014 by The Perfectly Imperfect One
Today I am going to tell you about my short road to couponing. I started a few months ago at the beginning of 2014, and am still very new to it. I began one day after deciding that it was time to save money on food and supplies, especially after learning about some of the girls at work couponing and after watching all of Extreme Couponing on Netflix.
I am no extreme couponer by any means, I have saved money so far, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t see myself ever really saving 90% off my grocery trip at any given time like they show on t.v.. I think that any amount I save is worth every penny. I love being able to know that I am not spending all of my hard earned money on food (which I know is a necessity). I also love the idea of not paying full price for bathroom type product like shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant. (because let’s face it, that shit is expensive when you have to buy 3 different types for 3 different people).
There a few things one needs to know about couponing; one of those would be that you really do need to have a stockpile of items that you regularly purchase. This is not to say you need 5,000 rolls of paper towels or toilet paper, nor does one need 100 plus boxes of cereal, I mean c’mon unless you are stockpiling for a homeless shelter or church, you don’t need to have that many boxes of cereal taking up space in your house. When I talk about stockpiling, I am talking about having enough of an item in your house until the next sale and coupon match up to make a great deal.
Sale and coupon match up; this is when you have a coupon (or 5) for an item and the store has a great sale on the same item that you have the coupon for, you would want to stock up on this item.
Stocking up; this is calculating how much of an item you are going to need until there is a coupon and a sale again on the item. For example; store sales go in 6-8 week cycles, meaning a certain item will go on sale every 6-8 weeks. Coupons will usually have an expiration date of 4-6 weeks or so, so what you need to do is wait for the sale and have a coupon for the item, or multiple coupons for the item (as many coupons as you need to purchase the amount your family will use until the next match up).
Here is an example of how to do this….you need to calculate how much of a certain item your family will use, so say you go through 1 deodorant a month and the store has a sale every 8 weeks on the deodorant you use, you are going to need 2 to 3 deodorants on hand until you have another coupon to use with a store sale to make the item as close to free as possible.
Right now, I have a stockpile of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, and feminine products to last my family for 6 months (I don’t recommend having more than a 6 months supply because it just takes up way too much space). Now, because coupons and sales are on a 6-8 week cycle, when I open a new shampoo or other product, I will watch for the coupon and sale match up to save the most money on an item to replenish my stockpile in order to always have a 6 months supply. This means that I will never run out of the item at an inopportune time and have to rush to the store and pay **gasp** (four letter word coming up) FULL Price!!!!
I started my stockpile of things that don’t expire first because then I could get used to couponing and stockpiling. Especially since I wanted to save money sooner and these items are expensive without coupons and sales and I did not want to have to budget that into my food budget and spend that money on lame stuff that I cannot eat LOL.
Lastly, I want to say something about brand loyalty. I am still a brand loyal customer. This means that I love the brand of toothpaste I use and I do not want to use anything else. I am also brand loyal to my deodorant because I have some skin issues and right now the brand I use is the only one I can use for now (until I become allergic to it like others in the past). The problem with brand loyalty is that sometimes you can not find a coupon for that product, or the product almost never goes on sale, or even the coupon and the sale never seem to match up together. So I will leave you with this note if you don’t particularly care what brand of toothpaste, feminine product, toilet paper, etc you use, then I suggest shopping the stores, trying out something new and matching up those coupons with those sales!
***Couponing Tip: Use your coupon for the smallest size possible to get the item as close to free as possible!