I have always been a couponer, to some degree. Thanks to some great blogs like Southern Savers, I am learning to be an Xtreme Couponer. I just finished tallying my January shopping totals, spending $440 on $1235 worth of grocery and personal care items over the 5-week month. That is an average of less than $90 a week, and a savings of 64%. Now, I do not intend to spend that much per week in the future. My January purchases have been replenishing my reserves. (We travel for an extended period during the holidays, so I intentionally cleaned out my pantry and freezer beforehand, only buying perishables for the entire month of December.)
But, I have gone beyond replenishing what I had. I have a true stockpile for the first time ever. I have all of the personal care, laundry detergent, dish detergent, and other cleaners that I need for the next 6-12 months. I also have a 2-3 month supply of most of our staple food items, including meat.
Here are some things that I have learned in the past month:
1. Xtreme Couponing = Stockpiling. It is the only way to truly get the best value out of your money.
2. Stockpiling creates a ready environment for giving. If I am aware of a need, I can meet it. I simply go shopping in my stockpile.
3. Many of the things that I bring home for free or nearly free are purchased at full price by other people in the same store, on the same day. (This was a true revelation.)
4. I don't have to worry about emergencies. If I get sick or there is a snowstorm (like now), we have all that we need in the house to get us through it.
5. It is ridiculous to pay $2.69 for a jar of peanut butter weekly when I can buy six now at $.99, and do the same thing again, six weeks from now. (Think about it, Full price- $2.69 x 6 = $16.14. Xtreme Couponing price- $.99 x 6 = $5.94. That's a savings of $10.20, Now, think about saving that much for every staple grocery item.)
6. The money that I save gives me freedom for little splurges, to save up for something special, or to bless someone else. In other words, I've become a better steward of what God has given me.
7. Shopping three stores with a plan is quicker and cheaper than shopping one with no plan. Yesterday, I hit 4 stores in 1 hour, 15 minutes. I spent $40 on $160 worth of merchandise.
8. People look at me funny when I walk through a store with a big ol' coupon binder. Some come back and ask me how it works ;)
9. Some cashiers will actually celebrate with me when I save 80% on an order, some will not.
10. If I am already getting a huge discount on an order, I usually don't get picky over a small coupon dispute, although I may ask for the item to be removed from my order. I would rather keep a great rapport with my stores than become known as that "Pushy Coupon Lady".
11. The amount of stuff that I can bring home FOR FREE is truly astounding.
12. Just for kicks, I kept up with the number of coupons that I used. 241 Coupons! (I know, I'm a nerd for keeping up with it.) And I used to think that store brands were a better buy, HA!
I'm certainly not a pro, yet. My coupon filing system still needs tweaking. But, overall I am very pleased with where all of this is heading. Everyone does it a little differently, and that is okay. The key is to find your own system and go with it.
This post is linked to Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.