Since I am no longer working outside of the home - still plenty busy though - I have taken up a new hobby. This is something I feel is going to take some time getting a grip on but I feel it will totally be worth it. I am learning how to work the couponing/sales thing. I tried to do it earlier this year but didn't have the time to really sit down and figure it out. Being that I am going to be a stay-at-home mom, I have decided to give myself the working title of "MONEY SAVER".
Yup! That's my job - well besides raising and nurturing our children - to save money. This is something I feel will contribute to our family more than my working out of the home ever would. Trav and I are both realistic enough to know that when the time comes for us to move out of my parents home, a teachers salary isn't much to live off of. So, I'm going to make it more of a reality for us by doing all I can to save money. We'll do this by shopping sales and couponing our groceries.
For the last three weeks I have been slowly, painstakingly looking through the Sunday adds, cutting out coupons, and trying to match the items on sale with the coupons I've collected. To help with this little endeavor, which I am determined to master, my mom has put me in charge of coming up with a grocery list (based on sales/coupons), purchasing the listed items (she goes with me so we can tag team this), and creating a menu for the week based off of what we bought. She gives me a weekly budget and I try to stick with this budget.
My hope is, with time and experience, I will have the budgeted amount down to a shockingly low amount. However, I am trying not to overwhelm myself, thus making me feel like a failure at this whole thing, so I am allowing myself time to master this. I'm hoping by the time our little girl comes I'll have things figured out, for the most part. The budget may not be down as low as I'd like but at least I should have a routine down so it doesn't take so long.
Today was the first day I actually went shopping with a pre-determined grocery list based off of sales and coupons. I had a couple of positive reinforcements along the way, which made me feel as if I'm doing things the way I should:
1) A woman smiled at me as I was walking down an aisle, looked down at my massive binder full of coupons and adds (I'm required to bring adds from the newspaper as proof the sales are legit) and said, "Ah, you must be couponing." I smiled and said, "I'm attempting. I am determined to learn how to do this! Today is my first attempt at it." She kindly responded, "Well good for you. Good luck!" That was nice!
2) I had decided I wanted to make this happen with as little bumps in the road as possible. So last night my mom and I sat down and wrote out a list. We organized that list according the categories I have in my coupon-binder (ex. dairy, meats, produce, hygiene, etc). I wrote the sale price and the name of the store next to the item we were planning to purchase. I then flipped through my binder and marked each item on our list with a large "C" if I had a coupon to go with the sale. Once at the store I taped each coupon to the item as we picked it off the selves (I brought my own tape...yes, I'm that OCD). This saved us and the cashier a HUGE headache because as she was scanning each item I told her to look for an attached coupon. If there was a coupon taped to the item, it was [obviously] applicable. This was awesome because when checking out my mom and I weren't fumbling through the binder looking for coupons; We had already found them.
3) We also put our groceries on the check-out register in the order we had them on our grocery list. This was awesome because when price matching (we price matched nearly every item we bought...trying to shop sales!) it was clean and efficient. I just followed my list and was able to tell the cashier the sale amount and what store was offering the sale. I had my nifty little newspaper adds on hand in case the cashier asked for proof (which she didn't).
4) After ringing everything up, the cashier honest-to-goodness looked at me and said, "Thank you. The way you did this was much easier then what others do."
This was awesome to hear because I didn't know if there was a more efficient way of checking out. And let's be honest, checking out is the thing that causes me more anxiety than anything else when it comes to couponing and shopping sales. The cashier can get annoyed, the people waiting in line can get annoyed (although I told those who got in line behind us we were price matching and couponing so they weren't surprised), etc. I'm please to say it took less than 10 minutes to check out, from beginning to end! Not bad for two carts full with nearly every item being price-matched plus applying coupons!!
5) Saved my parents nearly $100 bucks! Seriously. Not bad for a first run, eh?!
I'm excited to keep trying this out - and learning how to master this in a more efficient, clean way. It feels so good to help save money. Seriously, I'm on a high right now. =D
*All pics were taken off the Internet via google*