Believe it or not, I used to be an “extreme” couponer and coupon blogger. I dug through the recycling baskets at Meijer for catalinas, I had two subscriptions to our local newspaper, I swapped coupons with friends and coworkers. I came home with gloriously impressive cartloads of groceries for next to nothing. I always felt a sense of pride with those big grocery hauls, daring my husband to guess how much money I saved. But one day things changed. As concisely as possible, I’m going to explain why I don’t “extreme” coupon anymore and what our family does instead to save money.
1.) Time. When Ladybug was little and napped a lot, I had plenty of time to print coupons and look for deals. But as Ladybug got older and stopped napping, there was only so much time I had to clip coupons. Then, our family of three grew to a family of four, my “free time” went away for a while.
2.) Getting Good Deals Became Tough Because EVERYONE Wanted to Coupon. Thanks to that unrealistic show on TLC which will not be named (seriously, let’s just call it Voldemort), everyone wanted to get a cartload of groceries for $1. Deals started to dwindle and coupon values started to drop due to the popularity. I noticed the “good” coupons stop showing up at Coupons.com or in the paper. It became increasingly harder to get cheap or free stuff; and at times, a full time job.
3.) Amazon. Amazon made it very attractive to “set it and forget it” with Subscribe and Save. Trying to balance motherhood, being a wife, and a career was tough enough, let alone digging around for deals on toothpaste. I just wanted to make sure diapers and toothpaste stayed in stock, and Amazon fulfilled that need.
Obviously I didn’t want to just throw our money out the window, so I had to find creative ways to still pinch pennies.
1.) I Still Check Out Sales. Jolyn at Bargains to Bounty has the best matchups. I check her Meijer and Aldi deals regularly.
2.) I Primarily Shop at Aldi. Aldi makes my heart happy. The prices are typically really good and I don’t have to clip a single coupon. Plus I get in and out of the store so much faster.
3.) I Meal Plan Like No Other. Meal planning and making sure every dollar is stretched is key. It ensures that we’re not wasting any of our hard earned money.
4.) Ibotta. Ibotta is an app that offers cashback on certain deals on items each week. Then you buy the item, scan your receipt and the barcode of the item, and bam, you save money. It sits in a holding area until you reach a payout amount, and then you can have it payout to different types of gift cards or Paypal. If you’re new to Ibotta, you can sign up using my referral link and we’ll both get $10!
5.) If a Recipe has a Crazy Expensive Ingredient, I Try to Substitute or Omit. There are some things that just don’t add value to the recipe, and quite frankly, I don’t want to shell out extra cash for. The more I cook, the more I’m able to identify these items. And a quick google search will tell me how to replace the flavor.
6.) I Use Coupons from Store Loyalty Programs, Catalinas, Magazines, or Coupons that are Given to Me. I’ll still use them, I’m just not going to scour the earth looking for them!
There are days where I really miss the deals I used to get, and how small our grocery budget was. But I know that my time is just plain better spent making memories with my husband and children. Couponing kept me pretty busy, and I can’t say that I miss the work that was involved.
Are you a recovering couponer like me? What do you do to save money instead?