Today I’m excited to be linking up with Crystal Stine in her first ever Behind the Scenes link-up. If you want to play along, go visit Crystal here: http://www.crystalstine.me/p/behind-scenes.html
I used to be a coupon shopper before I went back to work. I wasn’t what anyone would consider hardcore, but I did buy 4 copies of the Sunday paper every week and subscribe to a coupon website that did some of the heavy lifting for me by matching up the available coupons to the items on sale that week.
I was pretty good at it, too. I loved the thrill of the hunt and the charge I got from a bargain. I kept my coupon flyers organized by date and instead of cutting all of the coupons out, each week I pulled out the flyers and only cut out the coupons I was going to use. I stored the flyers in my bakers rack, neatly turned counterpoint to each other so as not to mix the dates up.
I think that if couponing had been available then, the Proverbs 31 woman would have totally been a couponer. Verse 18 says “she sees that her trading is profitable” – saving money is profitable, right? So I was saving the household money AND getting to feel a little spiritual about it too.
In fact, I was so good at coupon shopping that my house began to resemble an episode of “Hoarders” far more than an episode of “Extreme Couponing”. My kitchen pantry was so packed I couldn’t find anything. Woe unto anyone who moved the wrong box, because it could unleash a sit-com worthy closet avalanche. I had an extra fridge with freezer in the garage, also full, and a set of shelving in the laundry room for overflow. If there was no other space I’d put it on the upper shelves in the laundry room. For some reason I felt compelled to buy 4 of something if I had a coupon for it and/or was getting it for a great price, never mind that no one in my house actually likes bacon flavored processed cheese slices (true story). I have thrown away so much expired food that I’m ashamed to tell you just how much. (However in my defense I have also given quite a bit to food banks. For the record, my stash has mostly diminished now and my laundry room is beginning to look more like a laundry room than a convenience store.)
All that couponing stopped when I went back to work last August. Even though I was only working part-time I just couldn’t keep up with it, and the extra income meant it didn’t hurt as much to buy whatever we needed whenever we needed it, no matter the price. But while I wasn’t using any coupons, I still kept thinking I was going to at any moment, so I continued buying the newspapers and keeping the coupon sections. Oh yeah. And now it’s June, I’m not working this summer, and I’m ready to start up with the coupons again. And I have 10 months of coupons stockpiled, 90% of which are expired.
So what you see in this picture is what it looked like once I culled out the expired coupons and sorted the flyers by date. What you can’t see is the wobbly 3-foot high stack of trash in the chair just to the right of the frame. What you also can’t tell from the picture is how long it took me to separate the flyers by date because they were all jumbled up and crammed together, and that doesn’t even include the ones I found laying in various places all over the house. But you know what? This girl who has always had the great ideas but struggled with the follow-through DID it. I got them sorted, clipped what I needed, and got myself to the grocery store. I didn’t save a fortune (I never do) but I do feel good about at least trying to get the most from our grocery budget. Less money spent on groceries also means more money to spend on other essentials, like… pedicures. And frapuccinos. And books.
Now if I could only figure out how to use 32 slices of bacon flavored processed cheese…