Friday, October 4, 2013

Extreme couponing

I remember watching my mom clip coupons from the Wednesday paper to use at the grocery store later in the week.  I don't think she did it a lot and she definitely wasn't "extreme" about it.  But she did clip them once in while.  Back then coupons had values like $.07 (7 cents!) or $.15  Maybe a $.25 coupon once in a while.  But of course, grocery prices were lower then, too (so were incomes).

I started using coupons while I was in graduate school.  Anyone who has put themselves through college knows just how poor a college student can be!  Some of my friends teased me about clipping coupons, but I figured a few cents here and there added up and at least covered the cost of my gas to get to the store.

Throughout my married life, I have clipped coupons.  I tend to do it in spurts, sometimes being very faithful about clipping and organizing and other times not.  It does get to be  a hassle if you clip them and keep them in a folder in your purse.  Constantly missing coupons before they expire or standing in the aisle looking for a coupon to match the on sale item you just found. 

Recently, though, I watched a bunch of youtube videos on couponing.  One of my favorites to watch is "love2coupon2save".  This adoreable young wife and mother from New York goes over her latest couponing successes in detail so you can see how she came up with the deals she did.  I just love her videos.  Anyway, I decided to give it a try.  I looked at the recommended websites (couponmom.com and krazycouponlady.com) followed their suggestions.  It can be a little overwhelming at first, so follow their advice to start small and don't try to do some mega shopping spree the first time (or first dozen times!) you go. 

Here's some of the tips they suggest:

  • Save the entire insert from your Sunday papers and date them.  Don't clip anything until you decide what you want to buy with them.
  • Get more than one set of inserts if you can.  Either buy a few Sunday papers or see if you have friends who will give you their inserts.
  • Read the coupon blogs for leads on good deals with coupons.  For example, yesterday I went to Rite Aid and bought 2 bottles of Colgate mouthwash for $2.99 each.  I had 2 $2.00 off coupons which made each bottle only $.99 each.  PLUS Rite Aid gave me two "Up Rewards" of $2.00 for each bottle, which I can spend later on anything I want.  This makes the two bottles of mouthwash not only free, but actually I made $1.00 on each bottle!   Next week I will use those Up Rewards to pay for the out of pocket costs on another deal and probably get more rewards.  It kind of keeps snowballing so you can keep the rewards coming and stock your cabinets with things you use every day for free or nearly free.
Am I now going to become a hoarder and have storage units filled with stuff I don't need?  Absolutely not.  However, I will keep an eye out for things that are a super good deal and stock up when I can.  If I have more than I need, I'll donate the items to the foodbank or to the shelters which can always use donations.  I don't have babies anymore but one of my ideas is to keep an eye out for really good prices on diapers and donate them to the shelters.  They are always needing diapers for families that use their services.

Anyway, that's my idea for the day--happy couponing!

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"Unplugging" by seeing a movie

Tonight my daughter and I went to see the movie "Runner Runner" starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck.  I won the tickets to the movie through a contest on a local radio station.  The movie was pretty good, and I probably wouldn't have bothered to go if it hadn't been free.  Ben Affleck looked stunning in the movie and it was a good story.  I won't spoil the ending for you, but if you're looking for something to see this weekend, I recommend it.

Anyway, after we got back home, I realized how nice it was to take a break from the world by going to the movies.  I hadn't really thought of it that way  before, but it really is.  You get to sit in a dark theater and you are not allowed to use your phone (!).  It's too dark for me to crochet or anything like that while I watch, so there is absolutely no multi-tasking going on.  I think because you can't talk during the movie and it's dark, you have two choices:  watch the movie or sleep.  Before I know it, I'm engrossed in the movie and not thinking about anything else, really.  The the movie's over, the lights come on, and  I'm back in "reality".

It really is a nice way to create some "space" in our day to day thoughts once in a while.  The cost of movie tickets is kind of high, but if you can resist the over priced concessions, it's not a bad way to pamper yourself a little.


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