Lookie what I found!

In CategoryCooking

A guest poster! After I talked a little trash about Extreme Couponers, Nicole left a comment saying, “…I coupon and feel that I do pretty well – I average 60-70% savings…”

Sixty to Seventy percent savings? I emailed her to elaborate. She says her grocery budget is $60 a week. Sixty dollars! For a family of four! How that is even possible, I do not know. I shop the sales and buy in bulk, but (being completely, painfully, honest here) we spend more on groceries and Walmart-y stuff than we spend on our mortgage.

I know.

I’m horrified too. I just don’t know what to do about it. But I want to do better if I can. I am a little skeptical that a food nazi like myself can really lower my food bill with couponing. I have observed that the people on Extreme Couponing buy a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t consider food. I don’t need 600 liters of off-brand orange soda, or 350 frozen pizzas, or 17 boxes of candy bars. Don’t get me wrong – before kids, we slammed down our fair share of Totinos and big-ass sodas from the corner store. But I am at a different place in my life now, a place where I want to feed my family Real Food. Minimally processed, organic if possible, mostly made from scratch, real food. Cooking 3 scratch meals for 4 people every day is a big enough pain in my butt, I can’t devote 30 hours a week to clipping coupons on top of it. Furthermore, the stores around here don’t allow coupon stacking, which seems to be an integral part of the Extreme Couponers plan.

But! Nicole was not daunted and says even with all those requirements, I can make coupons work for us. I asked her if she’d like to do a guest post on the subject, and she agreed.

Soon we’ll all be RICH! Richer than our wildest dreams!

Maybe not. But Amazon’s not getting enough of my money and I feel bad about it. If I can shave my grocery budget, I can recify that.

So here is a little introduction from Nicole:

I started couponing just over 5 years ago, when I changed jobs from early childhood to teaching elementary education.  I had made more money in the private sector and I needed a way to increase my family’s income without adding a second job. I learned by trial and error, and over the years I’ve gotten pretty good. I have a family of four, my soul mate of almost 10 years and our two sons, Bug (5) and Dash (8). My budget for the week is $60, but I like to keep it around $35/$40 to leave me room for eating out (which comes out of the same budget).

Over the next few weeks I’ll talk to you about how to understand the couponing mindset, choosing the best store, the power of coupons and how to shop smart.  I’ll share what works and what doesn’t, and try to help each of you find what works best for you.  I won’t teach you how to spend hours poring over inserts or websites to do this (although if you have that kind of time, kudos to you).  I spend no more than 1½-2 hours total a week on my couponing (not counting shopping), never more than a half hour at a time, and always while I’m doing something else. 

If you have any questions along the way, be sure to post them in the comments and I’ll try to get them all answered.  This weekend is an awesome weekend for couponing.  Depending on your region, you could get up to 6 inserts in your Sunday newspaper.  This many inserts is normally reserved for the beginning of the year and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it (wow, that’s kinda sad, really).  So I’d like each of you to go out and get a paper or two (actually, if you really want to do the couponing up right, you need to get one paper for each person in your family always in even numbers – I’ll explain why in the first post but if one is all you can do, then by all means do one.)  With my family of 4, I normally buy 4 or 6 newspapers (this week will be a 6 paper week) to get the coupons I’ll need to support my family.

Hopefully by now you’re as excited about this as I am about this.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I’ll get them all answered.  Our first post will be up early next week and will be on getting into the coupon mindset, I’ll also talk about how to plan ahead and organize your coupons.

Thank you, Nicole! I, for one, am very excited about this. Even if I only save 30% off what I spend now, that will still be hundreds of dollars a month.

Now to remember to get a paper on Sunday….