Tuesday, January 20, 2009


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?


Catherine said...

My sister-in-law is a serious coupon woman and has tried to get me into doing it. She does double coupons and shops a couple of different stores. Here's my problem - I don't have time to shop more than 1 store (I have a chronic illness), there are very few items I buy with coupons, and the two stores where I buy groceries don't do double coupons. I am, though, going to read your experiment with interest. I'd like to see how much you save and how you make it work.

Anonymous said...

Yea, I say good luck. I have been sucessfully couponing for about 8 months now and it has changed my way of thinking quite a bit. I too love lots of fruit and veggies and healthy foods, and couponing is possible. You can check out my blog for my grocery, walgreens, and CVS shopping tips.

LRFK said...

I think you took my blog too personally. I believe I clearly stated that I must be "special" because I am not getting this. Obviously, I know people save money or they wouldn't do it. I am just not seeing it for me. I have asked for help but only get a one or two sentence answer from people. For the record, I buy lots of generic items because they are just as good as name brand. I have had other friends that tried their hand at couponing and they said, they found it just as easy to buy generic. I have no idea, so that is why I was trying the couponing. I wasn't accusing you of buying bad food. I just said, that is what I am getting coupons for. Anyway, sorry if my blog offended you.

Anonymous said...

i can't chime in on all this coupon fun. For about the past 10 years, I've gotten pretty much all my food from CSAs and food co-ops. everything is way cheaper...no need for coupons!

But, I did want to point out that the "free" tuition on Obama's education platform is community service based, and unrelated to family income or perceived financial need. It's not a new idea. There are several programs like this that are already in existence and thriving! Teach for America, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, serving as a teacher in under-served school districts. In 2007, a public service loan forgiveness program was introduced that allows for extended income-sensitive payment plans for public service workers and completely erases remaining student loan debt after 10 years in a public service job! I will personally benefit from that, but can't give Obama credit. yay! --b

Catey said...

You go!

I am totally behind-getting caught up was going to be my MHHMonday this week, but the office was in dire need. Obviously! ha! : )

Really, if you do stay caught up (like do it each week and it only take a few minutes!) and if you have a good system down-or if you cheat and have someone else do it FOR you (I use pinchingyourpennies.com), it can be great!
My favorite days are walking out of the grocery store with two carts overflowing, spending less than $100, and the cashier calling people over to see how little I actually spent. Makes me all warm inside! :P

And no, it's not hording, it's PREPARING, just in case. How many storms have you been through when you can't get to the store for however long? Nice to know you have enough to live on and not be relying on getting to the store every few days to have enough to feed your family!

Shutting up now..... : )

~LL~ said...

LRFK....don't misunderstand. I wasn't offended. but after your blog (I've encountered your points before from others) and reading the comments of others, I decided that I did, for myself, want to look at it and make sure that it isn't some fluke...that it is worth my time. If I do well, maybe you can come out, the boys can play and I'll talk to you more. :)

B - you are right about the Obama thing....that's why I put the link so others could see what I was talking about.

~LL~ said...

Catherine - I see your point. That is something I do...I go to 2 grocery stores and 2 drug stores. You have to take every circumstance into account. Doing a but shop in different stores just isn't possible for some.

Anonymous said...
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Reflections in My Mirror said...

I am working on the coupon thing myself - but I have yet to see the BIG savings. We live in a small town with a CVS, Brookshires and a Davids Supermarket (that is NOT clean!) I mainly shop at the Brookshires. I have figured out their rotation on sale items and I have stocked my freezer with meats - I like to cook dinner for my family and we are the meat and tater kind of family. It only takes me about an hour to get the coupons figured and the list made. I have had better luck saving at CVS. The nearest Kroger is 22 miles!! I know I could save more there - but you figure gas and time it can actually cost MORE. I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out for you. maybe you can help me!
Amy Q

jo@blog-diggidy said...

i'm thinking about jumping on the coupon band wagon myself, but don't really know where to start....i'll be checking back to see how you do!! ;)

Alicia @ refinedisaiah648.blogspot.com said...

Hey LL, a few weeks ago I decided to give couponing a try and it saved me quite a bit! I just dont know where to look for lots of coupons other than the sunday newspaper...any ideas?? Sometimes the coupons are buy two get one free, and for me I dont want to spend over a certain amount each week. I think there are pros and cons. When I go grocery shopping I tend to stick to the produce that is on sale that week. BUt if you can give me places to look for coupons I would be thrilled!! I LOVE saving money!!

When I was little my mom would go through the coupons and put a little stamp on the ones she would use and then my sister and i would cut them out. It was our little "chore" and it helped us with using scissors!! Just an idea for your boys!

Anonymous said...

couponing I have started to really get into it and so has hubby so hopefully we can become pros like you!!!

R and R Stacy said...

I need to get back to clipping coupons.
Wow - your good!!

momto3_jjj said...

If you're willing to put forth some effort and learn "how to coupon" it is very much worth the time you spend on couponing. It can also be fun if you make it that way.

I am so excited to start doing it again and this time I'll be even better with the help of my good friend! When do we get started????

Anonymous said...

Everybody!! Keep clipping the Smart Source coupons in your Sunday paper!! It will keep my DH employed!!!