I am Cathy, a wife to Roman, and a mother to SEVEN (as of October 2009 - the picture is now out of date!) pretty awesome kidlets, ages 13 to newborn. In addition to (trying to) cooking, 11 loads of laundry per week, changing diapers, and being a mommy cab, I have a small bookkeping job for a local non-profit youth football organization. When I'm feeling indulgent (because I never have "spare time"), I enjoy reading, digital scrapbooking, photography, videography, working in the yard, and going to dinner and a movie with my hubby of 15 years. I'm a thrill seeker and would love to one day go skydiving!
As my family grew, grocery shopping became a dreaded chore. I would go do my 2 week shopping and easily spend $300. And of course, I'd always have to go out again through out the two weeks to pick up a few things I forgot, needed, or ran out of. Then I started noticing grocery prices increasing - not to mention the cost of fuel! We were running out of money every month, and I couldn't figure out what to cut. We had already cut out satellite TV, land line, and were limiting our date night spending. Then in the spring of 2008, I fell into the world of blogging. Oh yes, that was a whole new world to me. So many great ideas and tips I was finding! As I was blog jogging, I started running into these money saving/frugal living/coupon blogs. I. Was. Amazed. People were REALLY saving a LOT of money using coupons! Prior to this, I felt that coupons were nothing but clutter and if you used them, you may save .35 here, or .50 there. Big whoop, right? Not any more. When I realized what it meant to STACK coupons, and that you could actually have a coupon for every item in your cart, I was floored! And to top it all off, there were blogs and websites that would tell me WHAT coupons to use, and WHEN to use them! ALL FOR FREE!!! So I started collecting coupons and printing them. My first shopping trip, I got about 20 boxes of cereal for .87 each and I was hooked. I learned to fill my pantry, and then plan my meals from what was in there, because the items in my pantry were things I got at a great price! I still have some Cream of Chicken soup that I purchased in the fall of 2008 at a great price. I won't purchase it again, until I see that great price again!
Now here I am. Couponing and stock piling has become a way of life for me. I can confidently say I've cut my grocery budget in half (if not more). I'm so grateful for this blessing, because in April of 2009, thanks to these economic times, my husband lost his job. Needless to say, it was such a blessing to have the the nice stockpile of food storage AND I am grateful that I had learned the art of couponing and had incorporated it into my weekly shopping.
I've enjoyed sharing what I've learned with other people. There's nothing quite like "sharing the couponing love"! I know it can bless the lives of others too!
Photo by Jammie Elkins Photography
Hi, my name is Monica. I am a mother of two little boys. I am also a dental hygienist and work 2 days a week. My husband and I manage our own rental properties. We are a busy family, and have always made it a priority to be careful with the way we spend our money. I like photography, good food, digital scrapbooking, love volleyball, like to play out doors, ride dirt bikes, white water raft. Although I don't get to do those things as much since I had children.
Here is my coupon story: Two summers ago we attended a family reunion and my uncle from Texas was there telling me all about his new "hobbie" couponing. I was amazed and confused. You get paid to buy things? You have a ton of razors that you got for free? You clip coupons from multiple papers and organized them in baseball card holders? You can stack coupons? You get free stuff in the mail for Mr. Cou Pon? Companies just send you free stuff? I was very interested, but very overwhelmed. I went home and tried to print coupons, it wanted me to download a coupon printer and I was scared of getting a virus or something. My mom came over and downloaded the coupon printer and told me it would not give me a virus. Then I printed some coupons and either forgot to use them, forgot to take them and one time tried to use them at Winco and they would not take them. I picked up the Walgreens easy saver booklet and the ad and tried to see what I could get for free. I couldn't figure out what was so great about it. I searched for web sites that could help me and had no luck. I gave up.
In the spring of 2008, we started getting the paper everyday, I guess as a free trial or something because I had not ordered it. On Sunday I would look through the ads and the coupons. I would clip out coupons I thought I might use, but when I looked through them I thought: whoopie, I can save $1/3 boxes of sugar cereal, and it will still be more than the kind I normally buy. I can get all these personal care items at Costco and save a lot more than .50 a product. Needless to say the coupons sat in a drawer and I don't think I ever used a single one.
At the end of the summer of 2008 I started to stress. The stock market was falling, the housing market had fallen and I felt on urgent need to save more money in case we lost our jobs. What was I going to cut? We don't have cell phones, don't have cable, no car payment, no more student loans, I buy generic at the store, and buy in bulk, I shop the store ads, no gym membership, I never go to the salon, I shop garage sales for kids clothes and toys, we always try to fix things ourselves, we only eat out 1-2 time a month. I am so glad I found restaurants.com. The only thing I could come up with was getting rid of the Internet. Who lives with out the Internet? I can do it right? Heck I live with out a cell phone. Can you believe it? I decided I really did not want to go to the library every time I wanted to check my email. I would live with out if I had to, but I was not ready to give it up. So I decided to try the coupon thing again. I got coupons from my mom's paper and they sat in a drawer. I found out about coupon blogs and I put about 6 in my google reader. From time to time I would look them over and see if there was anything I needed or wanted. First of all I was not sure what they meant with all of this $1/2, WYB, 9/5SS and I did not have the coupons or didn't want to take the time to get only a few items. Well I kept reading and trying to figure the whole thing out and Cathy started this blog to help out some of her friends and family save. By this time I had been browsing blogs long enough that I thought I could try it. I started doing some of the things Cathy wrote about and even emailing her a few deals I had found. In November she invited me to write on the blog and I got a little organizer for coupons and decided to dive in. Give it a month and if it did not work for me then, oh well.
Well it totally works for me. After only a few weeks I was getting things for free and I was ready to upgrade my organization to my binder. For months I felt anxiety that the store employees would get annoyed, or that coupons would not print at check out. I still feel that way from time to time, but it has gone way down. I have become more organized and a little more choosy about the stores I shop and the checkers I pick.
Now my pantry is full and so is the spare bedroom closet. We have a food storage of things we actually use and I can easily cook from my pantry. My husbands hours have been cut way back since the fall of 2008, but we are making up for it with the money I am not spending on groceries. His company has laid off more than 3/4 of the employee's if he is next we will now be more prepared.