Do you have time to coupon? Let me re-phrase the question, do you have time to save money?
The last few weeks we have been writing about living below your means. We’ve shared several ways to cut your expenses, including how to save on groceries.
If you recall, I mentioned that I learned to coupon to save on groceries in an effort to help us balance our budget. And if you read our story, you would know that there was a time we lost all that we had.
It was during that time when we discovered the TV show “Extreme Couponing.” I have to admit, what I saw on TV was…EXTREME. I mean, who really needs 100 candy bars, a stock pile of processed foods, and cat food for a cat they don’t have?
However, in that season we were living on a 72% decrease of our income, and I was asking God for wisdom related to our finances.
My Coupon Revelation
At the same time, we were walking through some health challenges and decided to start eating organically. That alone increased our grocery bill, so this was an area we need the wisdom from God.
One day, Andre came across the TV show and recorded it for me. I stayed up many nights watching episode after episode. As I began to understand the principles of couponing they were using, I decided to tailor it for our family.
We may not eat a lot of sweets, and processed foods, but I knew I could apply the same principles to what we needed. I made up my mind, that I would focus on couponing the most expensive items on our grocery list; so that it would free up our budget for eating natural and organic foods.
I started to coupon toiletries, paper goods (paper towels and toilet paper, etc.) and cleaning supplies, since those items are usually the most expensive. In the season we were in, those items were scarce and sometimes a luxury when we didn’t even have enough for groceries.
If I had to choose between buying food and toothpaste, I would only buy one tube of toothpaste for the 4 of us to share, in order to buy the food we needed.
How did I successfully coupon these items? Here are 3 principles I followed:
You can’t coupon without having any coupons, so collect them. Coupons can be found in the Sunday paper, have friends and family who get coupons, save them for you. In addition, you can also print coupons online at: coupons.com, redplum.com, and smartsource.com.
Match Your Coupons With Items On Sale
Some people don’t see the value in couponing because they don’t see a great return. Where they go wrong is that they use coupons for items that are not on sale. If you absolutely need the item, then using a coupon is better than not.
However, when couponing, the ultimate goal is to pay the least amount as possible. In order to do that, wait for the item to go on sale, then use your coupon. This will help you pay the least amount of money for that item.
Don’t Be Product Loyal
Be willing to try different products, especially if you can get it at a great price or even for free.
For example, let’s say you only use Crest toothpaste but Colgate happens to be on sale this week. And with your coupon, you could be getting it free. Nevertheless, you decide to purchase the Crest anyway. Well, as a result of being product loyal, you’ve missed the opportunity to reduce your grocery expenses.
Bottom line is, why pay for toothpaste when you can get it free?
This was difficult for me at first, but it didn’t take long to break the habit when I started to see the savings. This is why I choose to live by the 11th commandment (yes, I made that up)…
“Thou shall not pay retail.”
It really is that simple; collect coupons, match your sale items with your coupons, and be willing to try new products.
I used these principles to build what I call our stock pile. If you’re getting free toothpaste, you don’t want just one toothpaste, you want as many as you can.
This is where having more than one coupon becomes important. If you have 4 toothpaste coupons now you can take advantage of the discounted price and build a stock pile.
While this seems simple, and it is, there are some other tips I have for you, for those who are serious about couponing.
In our FREE COMMUNITY LIBRARY you can download the complete Couponing 101 document from a class I used to teach on couponing. It will give you specifics about how to collect coupons, when to use your coupons, how to build a stock pile and the do’s and don’ts of couponing.
Even if you just start with these simple steps I promise you, it will help reduce your grocery bill. And when the savings start trickling in, you will want to keep saving on everything.
Couponing Is Good Stewardship
Learning to coupon, opened my eyes to practicing good stewardship on everything. I’ve come to know that: “if you can google it, you can coupon it.” Many times I will google coupons for retail stores, amusement parks, and even prescriptions.
Yes, there is a prescription that Andre takes that cost $400 a month. With our insurance, our co-pay is $125 a month. However, after I googled his medication. I came across a coupon that can be used in conjunction with our insurance. Now we only pay $5 month!
Many times, we have not, because we ask not. I asked God to give us wisdom to live on our reduced income in a way that did not compromise our eating standard. And God showed us through couponing.
As a result, we are able to maintain a stock pile in our home of toiletries, cleaning products, and paper products. Our stock pile not only benefits our family, but we have been able to help other families who may have lost their jobs, or had a need.
My Favorite Mobile App
Because we serve an AND / ALSO God, not only did He show us wisdom in couponing; I discovered a mobile app called ibotta, that actually pays you cash for purchasing groceries, and household items you already buy!
Often times, the items I purchase are on sale, and I use a coupon. So I’m already buying them at a great price. However, when I upload my receipts to the app, I get paid for purchasing those items.
The pay-outs result in either a bigger discount for the item I purchased. In some cases, my items end up being free or a money maker, when I take into consideration what I got paid to purchase them.
The cool thing about ibotta is that ibotta pays you a bonus for referring friends. In addition, they run bonuses weekly and monthly for team spending.
There’s nothing extra you or your referred friends have to do other than your normal shopping.
It’s not a multi-level marketing company. It’s a mobile app that gives you cash back for items you are already buying.
This is also a good alternative for those who don’t have the time to coupon. It’s a way to reduce your total out of pocket cost without doing the leg work of couponing.
If you want to join our team and start earning cash back for products you’re already buying, click here!
In The End
If we had not been in a challenge, we would not have been looking for a way out. Sometimes the answer God gives us isn’t always money. There are times God will place solutions before us that requires a little work. And if we jump all in, we will not only get what we need, but God will use us to be a blessing to others.
By watching how you spend the resources God gives you; it frees up finances so that you can be a blessing to your family and others. After all, the Bible tells us we are blessed to be blessing.
“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:11(NLT)
I ask you again, do you have time to save money?
Download Couponing 101
Head over to our FREE COMMUNITY LIBRARY to download Couponing 101 or fill out the form below!
PIN FOR LATER
~ Timberley Gray