About Me

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Nebraska, United States
A would-be stay at home mom working full-time as a teacher. I teach at my old Highschool, working side-by-side with my own teachers. I blog to keep the Texan grandparents updated and chronicle our life for future reference. (In other words, I don't have a real baby-book or diary.) Comments make my day. Thanks for stopping by! kimlepper at gmail.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm One of THOSE People Now

This past Christmas, while at the In-Laws in Texas- I saw a show called "Extreme Couponing." From what I can tell, it's quite popular, as anyone who I mention my new hobby to, they refer to this same show.

After watching this show, I was quite enthralled- if they can save hundreds, there's no reason I can't try this myself! Originally I didn't do the couponing thing for a few reasons:

1) Since I buy all of my cleaning/personal care items from Shaklee, I didn't really think there would be any good coupons for the stuff I buy

2) I really like getting fresh stuff- preferably organic- and there really aren't any coupons out there for that

3) Usually the off brand is cheaper anyway, but I really am picky about certain brands.

4) (and this was more of an excuse than anything) Samantha is on a dairy-free diet and Jeremy a low/no fiber diet. This makes for a very specialized grocery list- and specialized generally doesn't have an "off brand".

But then I realized- If I just watch for deals and coupons on the stuff we do buy, surely I'd be able to save us some money.

And my newest hobby was born.

A hobby that actually saves us money- by which I do not feel guilty for spending so much time on it (like knitting- oh, how I miss you).

I was very excited, decided to sign up for the Sunday paper and maybe do some dumpster diving when I take the recycling.

And then I talked to Julie. Julie informed me that her weekly grocery budget was half of what we have. My jaw was on the floor. We generally went over our weekly budget. How in the world could they survive on half of what we use?!

She opened my eyes to two new ways of thought:
1) Add/Coupon matching
2) Adjusting your grocery shopping to a stock-pile method, vs a weekly "needs" method

I, myself, do not do the match-ups. I've found a couple gals that do the work for me.
Long story short, we've cut our grocery/toiletries bill from $120+a week to $60-$80 a week.

That's roughly $200 a month! When you are living on rice and beans, that's a nice little chunk to add to your debt snowball.

Now, I spend around 3 hrs a week clipping coupons, checking blogs for deals and making a list/shopping plan. I originally made my own coupon binder that I carried in a plastic bag:

But was recently blessed with a much nicer (and less annoying) coupon binder for my birthday that I L.O.V.E

(Coupon Clutch on the left)

I'm still a novice and learning a great deal, and certainly have not made money off my endeavors yet, but I'm getting pretty darn close.

One of my "early" trips- don't remember the exact amount, but it was under $15 for all of this...pretty sure it was $10. Anyway, I was proud, so I took a picture.

Another proud moment- spent $5.78 at CVS

For those of you who think that using coupons really can't save you that much...

And my favorite endeavor thus far:

Yep- that reads FREE!


Julie said...

Yay!!! I will also try to encourage you that you are spending a lot of time now but I bet in 6 mos you'll be spending much less time. Keep up the good work!

Ashley said...

That's awesome, Kim! I want to do it too!

Kim said...

Julie- oh, but I LIKE spending that much time! It's fun for me :)

Ashley- DO it girl! and then blog about it :)

Granddad said...

Dear Coupon Cutter,


Renee said...

This is so awesome! Do you ask at every store you go to whether they will match competitor coupons/deals? I am also a newbie, and while I did drive all over town a few times to get ALL THE DEALS I'm starting to realize that HEB has consistently lower prices on more of the items I need. Have you found that the sunday paper saves at least what you spend on it? Sorry to barrage you with questions...

We're also working on a debt snowball, and we're SO CLOSE to paying it off that we're considering adding our small mortgage to the snowball, which would leave us with a much lower monthly house note and all that "extra" to spend on expensive Catholic Montessori school tuition! Oye vey, I'll eat rice and beans the rest of my life to pay that tuition... let me know if you find a coupon for THAT!

Kim said...

Woah, Catholic Montessori? Are you talking about your education or that for your kids?
Anyway, I love questions!
Price matching- yes and no. Some places have their policy online, but I've just flat out discovered the hard way (ie expecting that they did and they didn't) All places require that you have the ad in hand.
Sunday Paper- again, yes and no. I dumpster dive at the local recycling place in the newspapers (literally across the street) and find the multiples that I want. Getting one Sunday paper doesn't really do the trick, it's having 3, 5 or even 10 of the same coupon. There are coupon clipping services, but I find dumpster diving to be well worth it. As far as getting the paper- we'll probably renew it, simply because I'm more of a hands on reader (like, I can't read a book on-line). Plus, Jeremy LOVES the cooking section that we get on Wednesdays (we only get Wednesday and Sunday papers)But has it paid for itself? YES! Because I have the ads! Those I could find in the dumpster too, but the sale is usually done by then.

and, oh, you are so blessed to have HEB. Doing a quick google search of "HEB weekly price match up" I found a couple texas (or south) blogging mommies that do the price match-up for you!

Our student loans are our "mortgage" right now. As soon as those are gone, we'll know we're ready financially to buy a house, as we've been paying them dutifully for 5 years now! UG!

Good luck and post any amazing finds!


Renee said...

... Catholic Montessori for the kiddos (eventually I hope to return to work there, but openings are scarce because its a pretty hot spot)

So you can use multiples of the same coupon? I'm such a newbie. ...and where did you get the target coupons? THOSE would come in handy!

Kim said...

Catholic Montessori for them?!! I didn't know that existed! Oh, what I'd do for that here...
I'm just going to send you to my bookmarked page that answers all my questions. Not that I don't want to tell you myself, but she does a much better job- and it's the site that really got me going after I watched the couponing show.

google: target coupons for theirs :)

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