Hello, my name is Janna and I am a couponer.
Yes it is true. I, Janna Anne Haynes, spend a few hours every Sunday (or Monday if I am strapped for time) clipping, printing and sorting coupons. Actual paper coupons.
I have a coupon binder that if filled with baseball card holders to help keep my coupons organized.
I have a small and slowly growing “stockpile” as it has become know as thanks to TLC’s new show “Extreme Couponing.”
Before I go any further, for those of you that have watched that show let me make a few editorial comments about it.
1. No, I am not THAT kind of couponer. I have never had an $800 grocery bill dwindle down to $32 because of coupons.
2. If the coupons laws in California were like those depicted in the show, I might try it. California does not “double or triple” coupons, so savings just like that isn’t even possible.
3. I do not buy items that I do not need or will NEVER use just because they are on-sale or even FREE. Yes I said that I do not buy items I do not need just because they are free. Why, you ask, would I not get them if they are free?
(answer) if I get them, that is less product to be purchased by someone who might actually use it. There is only a finite amount of product to go around and once it is out, it is gone. If I buy it because I am obsessed with getting deals, I am screwing over someone who might actually have been waitting for that very product to GO on sale because they need it.
4. Although “stockpiling” (or buying in slight bulk) is often a necessity in order to get the right deal, buying 25-50 or even 100 of any given product is NEVER ok. NEVER.
I currently house our stockpiled items in cabinets that were not being used for anything else. If I ever get so much stuff that I will consider taking over actual bedroom or living space, it is time to get rid of some of our stuff. I will not allow body wash and BBQ sauce to take up residence in my bedroom, bathroom floor or living room.
I like to save money. Derek likes saving money and is all for this couponing thing. But we are in agreement about “the rules.”
As I already mentioned we only buy items we already use or have been wanting to try. If we find something on a killer deal that we use regularly and might get stuck buying at full price, we’ll buy more of it than usual.
Example: shredded cheese. We use a LOT of shredded cheese so when I can buy it for a really good deal (when I would have paid full price for it anyway) I will buy 4 bags of it and freeze three of them. Not too extreme right?
How much time and effort do I put into this a week? At the level I coupon at (which is pretty low compared to some people) I would say I spend anywhere from 2-6 hours a week on cutting, sorting and finding the deals.
There are HUNDREDS of blogs dedicated to deal match-ups that all I have to do is read them and see if I have the coupons. I don’t actually have to find the deals myself. It makes it 100x easier.
It takes time to get into it. You need at least 1 month (four Sundays) worth of coupons before you can really start saving. Most coupons have a shelf life of 1 month-3 months so you might find a sale that pairs up with a coupon from 2 months ago. As long as it is still in your collection, you are good to go!
Couponing is a culture and once you find someone else who does it, you can talk about it for hours. I got
DRAGGED IN sucked in by a few friends who were doing it. They were saving money hand over fist and even though I didn’t think I had the time or even cared that much, my competitive nature took over.
If THEY can save money, so can I.
So I began following two blogs in particular:
These two women both live in Northern California and frequent a lot of the same stores that we have here in Sacramento. They list the sales and coupon match ups every week at Target, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Raleys and Safeway.
They even give you a buying guide of how low these sale prices are compared with what you MIGHT be able to grab them for if you wait. These ladies have been doing this for a few years so they know how low you can buy items for and if something is REALLY on sale or not.
I have been involved in these shenanigans for about 6-8 months now. Maybe not that long…
I now know that I should NEVER pay more than $1 for most bath and body items (except for some make-up products) and most of these items I can get for free.
Why wouldn’t I?
So, do you think I am insane or kind of genius?