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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday's Tips - Common Couponing Questions Answered

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You probably already know if you are interested in frugal living or becoming debt free, couponing is another great way to save lots of money.  But, maybe you're not sure is it right for you.  Or maybe your friends and family have been asking you lots of questions about couponing.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions I've heard.
    Aren't coupons just for junk food?

    Absolutely not.  There are coupons for cheese, flour, fruit, milk, eggs, and bread.  Yes, there are coupons for all sorts of frozen meals and snacks, but they are certainly not the only ones available.  Just have to keep your eyes peeled at all times!

    Coupons are one of the best ways to save money on toiletries.  I don't know the last time I've paid for toothpaste!  Shampoo & Conditioner is often free or very cheap.  These are items used every day, so to be able to save on these is very important!

    While I will splurge on junk food when it's free, the majority of purchases are not packaged or junk food.  It's a treat, few and far between.

    Do you buy different things than you normally would have without coupons?

    For myself the answer would be yes.   Shower gel would be an example of this.  Before coupons because of the cost, it would never have been on my list.  However, I don't mind buying it when it's FREE or a moneymaker!  We will use this instead of bar soap, but I would never have paid more for it.

    Another change I've made is to buy the smaller sizes with my coupons, just in a larger quantity.  It usually is a much better deal that way.  For instance, bigger coffee creamers cost less per ounce than the smaller one at regular price and often on sale.  However, when using a coupon makes the smaller one cost a quarter or free, the big one just can't beat that!!!


    Do you really save much money?

    This was a question I had myself when I first started.  I had tried couponing years ago, but it didn't save me any money.  Store brands or Aldi were almost always cheaper.  Then I learned!  It's not simply using coupons that saves money.  It's using them in conjunction with a sale.  It's amazing how many things you are able to buy for FREE, when you use a coupon and pair it with a sale.

    Our grocery budget has been slashed by $150/month by using coupons.   It's a strong possibility that the budget may be cut even more, but with stocking up and gardening supplies, etc, it just hasn't happened yet.  I've been glad for the wiggle room.  Before, even on the larger budget, there was no wiggle room.


    Does Couponing change your shopping habits?

    Yes, shopping habits change when using coupons and watching the sales.  Especially since when finding a rock bottom price, it's great to stockpile so you don't have to pay full price again.  It's like anything else you decide to change in your life.  In order to do what's important to you, your habits will naturally change.

    Our food budget has always been small compared to many others.  Before couponing, I would watch sales and compare to Aldis.  Aldis was often cheaper, the majority of our groceries were purchased here.  I didn't have coupons, so it was rare for anything else to be cheaper than Aldis.  Meat buying habits haven't changed much, I would watch for meat to go on sale at Martin's and then stock up, the one thing I would not buy at Aldis!
     
    I was surprised when I started couponing how much cheaper things were!  I still frequent Aldis for produce and when I run out of something that's not on sale and can't be done without, but I buy much less there than before. I've been impressed at how much purchasing power I possess, especially of name brand products.  Aldis does have a pretty good quality, but the name brand products are a bit better.

    In Conclusion

    I believe my couponing has changed our shopping habits for the better.  My family gets good quality foods, on a small budget.  It has helped our budget immensely on our journey to live more frugally.

    To save the most I cannot be brand loyal, but I don't have a problem with that because the only brand used before was the Aldi store brand!

    Let's hear from you!

    Have your habits changed since you started couponing?  Do you have any great thoughts to add?  I'd love to hear them!  Are there other questions you would like to see answered?

    Changing Shopping Habits to save money Works for MeHere's another slip for the  Tip Jar.  This post is linked to 30 Minute Blog Challenge, and Tightwad Tuesday


    I hope you've found this post encouraging.
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    4 comments:

    Olivia said...

    Good tips; we're using coupons now, and though I'm not saving as much as some of my friends, we're saving a lot and eating better!

    Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package said...

    Olivia, Don't give up! It takes time! When I first started I was doing better than before, it took me almost a year before I was able to cut the budget by $150. It's been quite a while since I've done that.

    Back then my $300 was still very tight so I couldn't take advantage of all the RR & ECBs. But now, I'm able to take advantage of those things, buy my gardening and canning things on my grocery budget! I almost think I could cut it again, but not more than $20 until canning season is over.

    All that to say you will soon start seeing more savings;)

    Kim & Dave said...

    Great ideas!!!

    Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package said...

    Thanks Kim & Dave!

     
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