A slightly boring week in the life of a fairly average couponer

by Melody on May 23, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since becoming a serious coupon shopper a few years ago, this is the first time I have really seen the tides completely shift.  My friend and I used to meet up to do our Rite Aid shopping in the middle of the week or casually drop into Albertsons for some Twice the Value deals.  There was never any issue with finding items in stock and definitely no pre-orders, midnight coupon runs or arguments about “who is clearing the shelf”.

There seems to be this mentality lately that the only way you can save money on your grocery budget is to get all your items for free.  I can almost guarantee you if an item is 50 cents, even if that is a FABULOUS price, I will find it on the shelf.  I think for some, couponing has turned into a competition, more so than just a way to save money for your family.  Coupon shopping is a means to an end, not a full time job.

This post series is for those of you who want to learn to save money, but can’t imagine yourself going shopping at midnight just to snag a few free rolls of toilet paper.  The vast majority of  us are just average, everyday folks who are trying to stretch our budget and help our families live a better life for less.

Starting Monday 5/23, I am going to give you a daily breakdown of everything I do related to couponing, grocery shopping or trying to save my family money in general.  I won’t add in what I do on the blog for the most part, as that would probably bore you to tears.

This won’t be some lengthy, drawn-out post about what I’m doing every minute of every day, but I just want you to get a general idea of what an average week for me looks like.  How much time do I spend planning a grocery trip?  How often do I actually go to the grocery store?  Does my life have to revolve around couponing just to feed my family?  What other methods do I use to save money?

I know we are all in different stages of life, but here’s a quick bio on me just so you know where I’m at:

  • I’m a married, stay-at-home Mom to two boys, ages 1 and 3
  • My husband works full time Monday through Friday (gets home around 4:30 PM)
  • I work on the blog early mornings and evenings and try to never be on the computer when my kids are awake (including planning shopping trips)
  • I take care of our entire family budget and pay all the household bills
  • I clean, cook, shop, visit with friends, play, cook, clean, do laundry, manage a blog, manage our family calendar and cook some more.  Did I mention I have a blog?

After this week is up, I will give you a general recap on how much money I spent and how much TIME I spent trying to save my family money.  I want you to get a glimpse of the non-glamorous, totally average life of a coupon shopper.

This will be the launch to a weekly series that will explore different ways to save your family money, including eating out and entertainment, travel, clothes shopping, buying gifts for everyone in your family and much more.

There is SO much more you can do to save money that doesn’t require Black Friday trips to the grocery store.

Leave a comment if there is anything you’d like more information on or if you have any ideas on how to save your family money outside of the grocery store.

Welcome to a week in the life..

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy May 23, 2011 at 4:57 am

I’ve been seriously couponing for less than a year, but quickly learned that I don’t want to spend my precious time chasing deals for products we don’t use (honestly, it took a couple of months because couponing/free stuff is quite enticing!!). One thing I would really like to see more of in the deal listing is a highlight when something is truly a stock up price or when you don’t see it on sale often. I realize some blogs include a symbol when it is a stock up price, and that other blogger shall remain nameless, but puhleeezzze…$3.25 for Pantene is NOT a stock up price! I like seeing in your posts the hints like “you won’t see another sale like this for 5 months on XXXX item” or “not a stock up price but okay if you need some.” I realized quickly that one or two jars of peanut butter was not enough when I got them for 55 cents, so when I saw them for $1 I bought them, but still mourn the better deal :-) Still learning!!

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Tamara May 23, 2011 at 5:10 am

Thanks for this posting. We can’t all get everything for fee, so thanks for making it real! I look forward to the week of blog posts.

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Miss Jay May 23, 2011 at 5:24 am

I love this idea Melody. Personally I think that shows like “Extreme Couponing” while entertaining, set up entirely unreasonable expectations. They encourage the mentality of buying more just because you can, and make it more about competition and the bottom line at the end of the receipt.

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frugal queen May 23, 2011 at 5:39 am

I’m fascinated in what you do, we don’t have coupons but the supermarkets here, often 2 for 1 or 3 for 2, I’ve never yet known them do that on the basics, such as flour, cheese, milk, bread, salad, vegetables, meat and I work on the basis, if it’s prewrapped, in a packet, then it’s not real food and I don’t need it. The media brainwashes people into thinking they need certain beauty products, where actually just the basics of shampoo, a spray of deodorant and any old moisturiser will do. It’s the same with pet food, feed them the cheapest and they won’t die!

Don’t get me wrong, I admire what you girls do, but ask yourself, do I actually need this? do I need all these calories and could I just save money by eating less, stopping shopping, using, what you all call ‘good will’ for clothing and all household items and only shopping once or twice a month. Do you subscribe the the ‘Economides’ website? there are some good ideas there, in the mean time, keep up the good work, as I said, I’m fascinated. Blog what you acutally buy, as I’m fascinated in that too. Love Froogs

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Katie May 23, 2011 at 10:44 am

I’m brand new to this and am looking forward to your “a day in the life of” piece. A lot of the sites I’ve seen are very overwhelming for a newby. But, after being such a massive consumer for so many years, I’m ready to start saving money because it’s silly to pay full price when you take a few minutes so safe yourself some cash.

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Melissa May 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I was just talking with Sarah yesterday about how I’ve been frustrated with couponing lately. I, too, have noticed a shift in couponing in the past year or so. Since I don’t shop on Sundays, I try to get to the stores on Monday afternoons, but even by that time all the “deals” are gone. I told Sarah that now I just pick up rain checks during my weekly shopping trips. Sometimes my coupons expire before the product is restocked. I’m looking forward to this series.

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Annye May 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Thank goodness: Some sanity in the couponing world! I watched a few of my first “Extreme Couponing” episodes this weekend and found myself yelling, “Yeah, right!” at the TV.

Massive pre-orders? Doubling hundreds of coupons? Eighteen transactions? Overriding the computer because the receipt had reached its line limit? Please. There is no way any store in my area would allow such nonsense.

I did have to laugh, though, when it seemed everyone’s “coupon” stash included numerous Catalinas and they all implied the coupons were free. Really? You get hundreds of newspapers absolutely free? (Even if they did, in my book you’re still spending money on gas to go around collecting them. )

Ah. Thank you for letting me vent, folks; I feel much better now.

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Trina May 24, 2011 at 6:33 am

I’m excited to see this series of posts – especially the comparison of how much TIME vs how much MONEY you spend. I’ve been couponing for about 4 years, and I’m still looking for that 80% solution of time vs. money vs. quality and still keep my sanity!

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Karen Rohn May 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I am definitely interested to see how your week ends up. I live in the chicago area, and no store here does double couponing, which means getting stuff for free is pretty rare. I feel like most extreme couponers on the show live in rural areas where the store will double.

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Melody May 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I will probably do some shopping on Sunday (our Albertsons is issuing double coupons again) so you can see what I buy. Truthfully, I end up passing up some of the “free” stuff and go for the things our family REALLY needs. I hope this will give you a good idea of what it’s like to coupon like an average human. :)

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