Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How Couponing has Changed my Life.

How Couponing has Changed my Life

Two and a half years ago I was pregnant and stressing out. My husband had just got home from Afghanistan and found a job in Savannah requiring us to up and move while only having savings and unemployment to live off of until his pay started coming. We were very immature at the time and had three credit card bills, a phone bill, car payment, insurance, an apartment rent and all of the utilities and we were spending money frivolously. To make matters worse, I couldn't find a job. Drew was finally in Police Academy making money, but it was training pay which wasn't even $700 a paycheck (gets paid every other week). Some weeks money was really tight. We were so stressed because we never had extra money. We didn't even know how we were going to afford having a baby and God forbid if there were any emergencies. 

One day I saw where one of my friends had gotten tons of baby stuff for cheap and free. That was the turning point for me. I quickly started researching free baby stuff which led me to couponing. One trip I was able to get 20 packs of baby wipes for free thinking, I could make this work! My husband and I both wanted me to be a stay at home mom, but we just didn't see how we were going to make that possible. I remember coming home one day from one of my first couponing trips where I only spent $30 on groceries for the week and was so excited. I had found a loop hole. A way to spend less, get more, and save for baby. I started to make it a goal to spend around $30 a week on groceries. The hard part was that I had no clue how to cook. We were constantly having the same thing every week. 

We then found a different apartment that offered Drew a Police Discount. Making us move when I was 8 months pregnant, but saving us a little money. After Selah was born I slowed down on couponing and only used coupons for items I bought. It wasn't until after we bought our first home and I saw Ebony's Kroger trip where she got 30 boxes of mac and cheese and 30 boxes of mashed potatoes for free plus made money, that I decided to try it again. I immediately sent Ebony a message asking how she did it, and then I went and did it that same day. I will always be thankful for Ebony's patience she had with me. 

I learned to watch for when items are at their cheapest price and to stock up on it. I started doing that for everything that we use. After I stocked up on stuff, it was one less thing for my grocery list. I didn't make my grocery bill cheaper, I instead used that extra money to stock up on other items. Now when I go shopping I no longer have to buy everything that I will need for cooking. I only buy the necessities like meat, milk, and bread. 

I get made fun of for couponing and asked questions like "aren't you embarrassed?" No, no I am not embarrassed for saving my family money and getting to stay home with my daughter. I could ask them the same question. Aren't they embarrassed for spending money they don't have to spend? I spend 20 minutes a week looking up deals for my shopping trip and printing coupons. (Not counting my blog, that is something I choose to do) If you have 20 minutes to spare playing Candy Crush on your phone, then you can coupon. 

From me couponing and my husband and me being frugal we have paid off 3 credit cards, 3 hospital bills, sold and paid off our extra vehicle, and bought our first home which will be paid off in 1/2 the time of our loan. My husband was able to buy another motorcycle to replace the one he sold to help us get our home, and we finally have money in savings and aren't living paycheck to paycheck. 

Just this week I went to put my Mustang in my name and had to pay $603 for the new Tax/Tag fee. If it wasn't for me couponing and us being frugal, we wouldn't have had the extra money. 

Couponing has given me the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, it lets me go shopping for free, and it helps me support my family without having a full time job. It has turned into an addiction for me. I enjoy walking to the register with a buggy full of groceries and only paying a fraction of the price. Some people turn to drugs for a high, I turn to coupons. Call me crazy, I don't care. Free is fun! 

Some Items in my Stockpile
30+ Cans of Progresso Soup
30+ Jars of Bertolli Pasta Sauce
20+ Shaving Creams
15+ Bags of Rice
10+ Gallons of Hawaiian Punch
10+ 24 Packs of Waters
20+ Dish Soaps
30+ Toothbrushes
50+ Toothpastes 
20+ Razors
200+ Nail Polishes
50+ Make Up
10+ Hamburger Helpers
20+ Boxes Instant Potatoes
This is just the ones I can think of off the top of my head that are my "stock up" items. 

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