Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Couponing with a Congressman's Wife!

I had the unique privilege of growing up with a pretty cool guy!  But, enough about Mat!   And don’t even get me started on Chris!  :)

No, this time I’m going to cue you in on my other brother – Marlin.  You may have heard of him??  He works somewhere in DC… Capitol Hill?  Maybe… something like that anyway?  But enough about him, too!  Let me tell you about the real hero - Marlin’s wife, my SIL, Christy!  (Gotta get my jabs in when I can!  I was the only girl in a family of three boys after all!)

If you want to talk about saving money or balancing the budget, Christy is your woman!  Recently, she has joined the growing number of women and men across America who are stepping into the world of COUPONING!  I am learning with her, and love the changes coupons have made to my own grocery budget.

This week, Christy and I had a chat about our new favorite subject, and I thought I’d share part of our conversation with you.

When did you start couponing? Just recently when food prices started going up and I needed to find ways to stretch my grocery money further.

How has it helped your family budget?  It has helped us to save more money to put toward other things, plus it has even helped our kids be more aware of the cost of food.  I saw a big improvement after the first month.  Once I got some experience, I started to be able to gauge how much I could save on certain items with coupons and sales combined. 

How much time does it take for you to coupon?  Every Sunday afternoon, I spend about 2 hours clipping, organizing and cleaning out coupons.  Then throughout the week I spend about 4 hours looking through sales circulars, checking emails for weekly deals, adding electronic coupons to my store cards and making out my weekly shopping lists.

Tell me about your most successful shopping trip.   I was able to save 50 percent off the total price of all of my groceries.  I found several items for free or for 50 cents or less using coupons.  One month, I was able to save over $400.

How do you keep it all organized?  I used a free template from the Krazy Coupon Lady.  It works well, but now that I'm getting the hang of couponing, I have a few personal preferences I might add to it.

Then, I followed your lead, Lynette, and borrowed some of Marlin's old Baseball Card storage sleeves to start.  Once my collection grew larger than the 10 pages he felt he could "spare", I bought my own at Walmart. (This is Lynette, and I feel I must interject here at the risk of having several hundred divorces on my hands.  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT remove your husbands old baseball cards from their sleeves and stick them in a Velveeta box!  It matters not the age of the Trapper Keeper you found them in, or the times you've packed and unpacked them in the seven moves you've made over your thirteen year marriage.  They are off limits and you would be wise to take your couponing self off to Walmart and buy your own - not that I'm speaking from experience.  Counseling costs much more than new baseball card sleeves!  Now back to Christy).  There are instructional videos from the KQL on various methods of organizing: by circular and date, by expiration date, alphabetically, etc...  I found Food Categories to be an easy way to do it, but I plan to re-arrange the food categories from aisle order to alphabetical order.

What are your favorite coupon links?   I sign up for emails from the Krazy Coupon Lady, CouponMom, and Bargains to Bounty.  I also sign up for emails from my favorite brands like Kellogg's, Betty Crocker, Johnson&  Johnson, Lysol and others.

Any final tips?  Don't quit.  The longer you try, the better you'll get at saving money and finding good deals.  Stick with it!  Also, save all expired coupons in a separate envelope to send to our military families.  Military grocery stores will honor coupons until they are 6 months passed their expiration date.

Canning is something else our family does together (I plan to blog more about this in the future).  We can or freeze corn, jams, beans, vegetable soup, tomato soup, tomato juice, peaches, applesauce, apple pie filling, chicken, beef...  I'm sure I'm forgetting something.  Just yesterday I spent only $25 on jam jars, lids, sugar and strawberries and now I have enough strawberry jam to last us up to two years.

Thanks Christy for letting us peek into your world a little bit.

 Here's the crew Christy and I are trying to feed:

 It's been a blessing to share lots of precious family time with Marlin and Christy - swimming at Meemaw's, canning days, and laughter, almost always laughter (have I ever told you how my carefully chosen dress for Marlin's swearing-in ceremony malfunctioned?  Sigh... Oh the woes of being the red-headed second born!  It always happens to me!).

I, personally, am not very good about keeping track of the numbers, so I don't know how much I've saved with couponing, but I do see a difference in how much I'm able to buy while staying within budget.    In fact, I've been able to donate to charity as well as start a small stockpile for my family.

I love knowing I can use this method to provide not only for my family, but also for those in need.  And hey, if a Congressman's wife does it...

1 comment:

Debbie Davis said...

May I also suggest Passion for Savings and frugal coupon living. they are on facebook and will post deals and coupons as they are found :)