Adventures in Couponing

It’s been exactly one year since I first started this couponing/frugal shopping adventure. I have learned a lot about saving money and reading the fine print. I have also found some fun blogs and made some great friends in the process. Saving money does not have to be drudgery!

Prior to last February I thought we were pretty frugal already. We didn’t take fancy vacations or eat out very often. Target’s clearance section was my favorite spot for clothes shopping. But, a big wake up call made us sit up and take notice of some bad habits. Now that the economy has tanked, we’re so grateful that our finances busted so early in the game. We learned to adjust.

A year ago, we spent an average of $820 to feed our family of 7. Then, we made some changes in our eating and spending habits. The average for the last twelve months is now down to $620, this includes increasing our family size, diapering two children, dealing with pregnancy, and making a cross country move. While some months have been as low as $400, others have not. But, overall, it looks like a good trend to me. I’m hoping to decrease our average even more in the coming twelve month period.

Maybe you, too, are trying to figure out how you can reduce expenses. I am convinced that no matter where you are right now, you can still shave a little more off. I’ve talked to plenty of people in dire straights over the years, and there’s always been a little fat, even if it’s just a very little, that could be cut from expenses.

You may not be convinced, so let’s figure it out. Part of being a joyful mom is not being overdrawn!

So, what do you want to know about coupons and frugal shopping?

Leave your questions in the form below.

If I can’t answer them, I’ll find someone who can. And as a thanks for participating, each person who completes the form will be entered in a drawing for one of two coupon packages, valued at $25. So, please make sure you leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

(Giveaway is open until Sunday night, Mar 1, at midnight PST. Winners will be drawn at random.)

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  1. Outreach Oregon says:

    Would love any ideas on how to make coupon cutting and organizing times shorter. I have 5 kiddos 9 and under I could put to work in this area, but we have had so many times cutting off bar codes or expiration dates off of coupons that I’m a little reluctant to pay the price of the learning curve!

  2. What suggestions can you make for the person who lives in an area where NONE of the local grocery stores will double coupons and one of them won’t even accept internet printed coupons! We also don’t have a discount store such as Costco, Aldi’s, or Shop ‘n’ Save within 20 miles of us! No Walmart either! I do have a nearby Rite Aid drugstore and, maybe twice a month can get by a CVS pharmacy store. Also, my husband does not want us to subscribe to the one major newspaper available in our area so I don’t get coupons from the Sunday circulars. However, my mom sends me her unused coupons so I do have one source. Ideas for me?


  3. TeeThymeDiva says:

    @ Susan. Not all regions get all coupon packs. If you are in an area like this, you may want to check into having them mailed to you. I think Smart Source does this, don't know about the other. You can also sign up for coupon booklets to be mailed to you like the P& G booklets since one of your stores doesn't take printables. CVS and Rite Aid take printables, so try to incorporate their sales w/ the printables and if you can get there twice a month, you'll be able to use your bucks before they expire. Try to take advantage of the single check rebates at Rite Aid as well. Hope this helps!

  4. TeeThymeDiva says:

    @OO, when you get the packs of coupons, don't cut them out. Leave it as is and write the date on the front. Try to store them by type, e.g., Smart Sources togther and P&G together. Then, when you check your favorite coupon site, it should tell you when the coupon came out, what packet the coupon came from and when it expires. I have tried it this way and this has helped. Then, when you do your shopping, simply take w/ you the coupons that you'll be using along w/ your printed list from your coupon clipping site. Hope this helps!!

  5. I am using coupons with sales (doubling when possible), doing the Walgreens, Rite Aid, & CVS deals, and stockpiling. Also recycling and only buying when there is a need. My husband & I are both retired teachers (I actually just quit teaching after 25 years due to changes in teaching standards – No Child Left Behind) so I am actually waiting until I reach retirement age (2013)to get my retirment. We went from $90,000 a year to $40,000 and our cost in insurance has gone up BIG TIME until I reach retirement age. So…what else can we do to save $$$ so we can make it until I get retirement? Thanks.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

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