I just wanted to let y'all know what I'm about to work on.
You all know that I coupon a bit, but there is a purpose behind this project.
Let me explain.....
I got into couponing on the advice of a friend, Catey. (Yes...the same one who comments and links up here.) She is a lovely woman with a large family. Seven beautiful children. When I got pregnant with my 4th, I decided to ask for advice on cutting my grocery bill. Since she obviously has more kidlets than I, and seems to be in control of spending, I consider her a reliable advisor. (Catey, feel free to jump in at any time when I do this stuff.)
Anyway, I have tried, to NO avail, to encourage, cajole, and inspire others to give couponing a try.
I have a friend who tried and states it's not worth her time.....OK.....I can understand that. Except I personally don't think she has given it enough time.
I have another friend (mutual to the aforementioned "try-er outer") who agrees that life is, indeed, too short to spend the hours that it takes to coupon, thus not making it worth the money you might save. I can understand that, too. Except, when you have your system in place, it really doesn't take much "extra" work over planning your menu and making a grocery list.
There is also the misunderstanding of stockpiling (referred by some as hoarding....um....no) and the benefit of that.....which is simply this: If you are going to use it in the next 12 weeks, get what you need for that 12 weeks at the LOWEST possible price instead of enough for 1 week at a time...only one of which would be at the lowest possible price. It adds up.
Some don't even want to consider couponing because they may only look at one newspaper's worth of coupons and not see what they want. Did you know that there are seasons of coupons? You don't see a lot of baking items in the summer....you DO see lots of condiments and barbecue related items. In the fall, when you DO see the baking items, you don't find a lot of ketchup....WHICH, to the true couponer is NOT an issue because you already have enough that you spent (in some cases) pennies for instead of a $1.79.
The couponers who are reading this (myself as editor and my friend Catey being the only 2 I can think of) are adamant in their stance that it IS worth the effort to coupon.
Non-couponers are just as adamant that it is NOT worth the effort.
So who is right? Obviously, there is some misconception out there. Of course being "worth it" is purely subjective. I think it is worth my time to save $100-$400/month. Others may not...and that is OK. But speaking for this house....I simply must try to do what I can to control spending. We have 4 kids who are expected to go to college and despite the promises of our new President, I really don't expect community college tuition to be free. I don't expect that we are in the "most" category that will receive this.
With all this in mind, this is what I'm planning on doing. Starting Sunday, I will really watch my time and money spent and saved in couponing. I am going to track it for 1 month. I will include the price of the 3 newspapers that I buy every week. I will note how long I spend making my lists and gathering coupons for it. Of course, I will document all savings. I will write down WHEN I do this so I can tell whether it interferes with family time or not.
After reading some blog entries and comments on this, I became curious about my own couponing practice. I want to know if it is truly worth my time. Maybe, I've just had a few really good runs that have skewed my view. I'm perfectly willing to admit that.
SO....give me a month and I'll be writing on this again.
**I know that this would be easy to "slant" in favor of the Q, so let me just say this:
- I am not cheap
- I do NOT do generic brands
- We do not keep "quick" items that are loaded with high fructose corn syrup
- We drink MANY gallons of milk per week
- We try to eat fresh fruits and veggies daily
- We buy natural and/or organic whenever we can
- I bake and cook quite a bit...I buy, what I consider, top-quality ingredients
- We entertain, or go to group functions often....I am always cooking for those
There you have it. What do you think?