August 9, 2011

Tip of the day--What would you do with extra money?

A lot of people ask me about how much money I save when they find out I'm a couponer. Many are skeptical about the savings, and I often hear the comment, "Yeah, but there are never coupons available for the things that I want to buy." I won't argue. While there are more and more coupons available for organic, natural, gluten free, and/or basic foods like fruits and vegetables, they aren't nearly as easy to find as ones for sugary yogurt, snack foods, and boxed meals.
Our family currently saves around 50-60% per month by using coupons. A good chunk of the food we buy is organic, and we try to buy from local sources when we can. How does a couponer reconcile spending $5/lb on locally grown, pastured ground beef from a farmer? I think you have to change the way you shop.

What would you do with extra money in your budget? What if all of the sudden, you weren't paying for toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, lotions, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, razors, shaving cream, over the counter medications, toilet cleaner, all purpose cleaners, or dish soap? How much money are you already spending per month on those products? Well, when you start actively couponing, you'll soon find that it is easy to pick up those products for free.

What about those moneymakers that you see on coupon matchups? If I make $1 or $2 by purchasing certain products with coupons, that is money that I can use for some other part of our budget. "But I don't use..." If the deal is a moneymaker but you won't use the item, DONATE IT or give it to someone you know who will use it. Would you walk by $2 if it were on the ground? Of course not, and by working the moneymaker deals you are able to put that money in your pocket to use for other things.

What about stockpiling? By focusing on the big savings and stocking up, you are setting the price that you pay instead of letting the grocery determine what you'll pay. Let's use the example of laundry detergent. If I run out, I might pay $4 or $5 a jug for detergent. In contrast, if I watch for a sale and use a coupon, I might pay $1.50 or less. Let's now say I buy 10 of those for a total of $15. On sale I pay $15 for 10 or I could buy 3 at full price--which would you rather do?

By using coupons, working moneymakers, scoring freebies, and altering the way you shop, you'll find that you are able to save quite a bit. What you do with that money is up to you. You could pay down debt, put the money in your vacation fund, go out to a restaurant, or use it to buy more expensive, healthier foods for your family.

Next time you plan a shopping trip, I encourage you to look over matchups. Hone in on those deals that are free, super inexpensive, or moneymakers. After a few months of shopping with coupons and focusing on the sales, you'll start to see progress in how much you save. Coupons allow our family to eat better, give more, and have more food in the pantry as part of emergency preparedness. I hope that as you start couponing more actively, you'll see similar benefits!

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