Sometimes the motivation you need to succeed is by hearing about other people’s victories.
This story comes from my reader Carmen:
I attended the Frugal Gals Couponing class on Monday, January 18th, 2010 and began my couponing adventures the next day.
Since that time I have received many emails and phone calls asking, “How do you do it?” “Is it legal?” “What are you doing with all of that “stuff?” “Are you really saving money since you are buying so much?” “How many stores do you go to?” Additionally, I get just as many comments like, “you are obsessed”, “couponing is taking over your life”, “I don’t have time to clip coupons”, “I can’t go from store to store like you do”, “I tried it and I didn’t save any money using coupons” and the list goes on and on.
The purpose of this writing is to give you a little insight about what I do, why I do it, and why I enjoy it so much.
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Like many people, our budget has been affected by the downfall of the economy. While all our needs have been met (Praise God!), there hasn’t been room for a lot of the extras that we had grown accustomed to. I personally do not work outside the home so we depend totally on my husband’s income. I have a VERY part time Pampered Chef business but to be quite honest, I have saved more in groceries since January than I earned in commissions last year as a consultant. To accommodate the “extras” that we were beginning to miss, I was looking for creative ways to either increase our income or decrease our expenditures. That’s when I learned of and literally invited myself to the Frugal Gals Couponing Class. J Quite honestly, those three hours changed my life.
I walked away from class that evening on fire and ready to save. I found it hard to sleep that night and woke up extra early the next morning armed with ammunition to save money. And I did. And I have been saving with every trip I have made to the grocery store since then. I will be completely transparent with you concerning my spending habits (surrounding my groceries, of course.) My husband gets paid on the 15th and the last day of the month and that is when I would do my major grocery shopping. Prior to couponing, I would spend between $250-$350 on groceries on payday alone. I would also make 4-5 trips per week to the store to replenish fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy products. So on average; I was ALREADY going to the grocery store 5-6 days a week. That’s an important fact for you to know. During those additional trips, I would spend between $10-$30 depending on the need for that day.
Now, I spend $60-$80 on major trips on payday and between $0-$20 on the additional days. The most important difference is every time I go to the store now; I purchase $120-$300 worth of groceries while only paying $0-$35 for them. Would I typically pay $20-$300 for groceries 5 days a week? Absolutely not! But thanks to couponing, I am able to purchase that much food for a fraction of the cost. Ordinarily, would I walk into a store and purchase 30 bottles of laundry detergent? Again, absolutely not! However, if I could get them free & only pay $4.61 tax, why wouldn’t I? There have also been several occasions when I received my purchases FREE and got money back. So for those who ask me why do I get so much, my question for you is, “If I can get exponentially more for less than the cost of one, Why not?!”
Many of you are probably asking, what is she doing with all of that food? Well, I’ll tell you that too. I do have a decent stockpile in my pantry, in storage cabinets in my garage and all three of my freezers (yes, I said three freezers) are full. However, the majority of my purchases have been given away. My church has an initiative called “All Things In Common” in which food, toiletries, clothing, and domestic products are given to anyone that needs them. This initiative is not funded by the church but depends solely on the donations it receives. Because of the economy, donations have been low and we have not been able to serve the community the way we used to in the past. A lot of the items I have purchased have been donated to this cause. When I first joined Total Grace 9 years ago, I remember my Senior Pastor, Bishop Alvarado saying that everything that comes into your hands is not yours to keep. (As a matter of fact, he said it again today.) I have adopted that philosophy as my own and it is one of the principles that govern my life. My couponing has allowed me to be a vehicle in which to bless others. That alone is reason enough for me to invest time into couponing successfully. As I bless God’s people, He continuously blesses me.
Couponing has also given me the opportunity to try new things that I ordinarily would not have tried: either because of cost or because I just didn’t know the item existed. Now, we are able to try new foods for a quarter or less and I don’t feel as if we’re being wasteful if we don’t like it and throw it away. Admittedly, some things we didn’t like and couldn’t even swallow while others we absolutely loved and those have become part of our diet.
I do go to the stores several times a week and I do go to several stores…but understand, that’s what works for me. As I mentioned earlier in this writing, it was my habit long before I began couponing. It may not and most likely, probably will not work for you. But the beauty of couponing is that everyone does what is best for them. The class exposed me to many methodologies. I tried several and utilize the ones that best fit my lifestyle.
I read an article in the Wall Street Journal several weeks ago that suggested that the savings from couponing equated to an hourly rate of $86.40. I haven’t been in the workforce for quite some time but even with an undergraduate degree, several certifications, as well as specialized classes and many years of experience under my belt, I never made close to $86.40 an hour! The article goes on to state, “Furthermore, money saved comes with an additional benefit. Unlike the money you earn at work, it is tax free. No payroll taxes. No federal or state income tax. If your marginal tax rate were, say, 20 percent, you would have to earn $108 before tax to take home $86.40. If your marginal tax rate were 30 percent, you’d have to earn $123.”
I only included that information for those that say that they don’t have time to coupon. And that is fine for you but my response to you is that, “I can’t afford not to.” Couponing is the highest paying and most rewarding position I have ever held. My only regret is that I didn’t learn this art sooner.
Do you have an inspirational story to share? If so, please email it to me so I can feature it on the blog!