Thursday, May 19, 2011

Week 1 -- The Learning Curve


Welcome to my coupon journey :)

My name is Rosemary Graham; I am 26 and married to my wonderful husband Drew, and we are expecting our first child.  My husband is in the Army and we recently bought a new home in Alabama (near Ft. Benning).  With a baby on the way my husband and I want to work even harder to get out of debt.  We also want to buy a few things like new furniture for the living room and bedroom and of course furniture for the nursery.  But, we are already on a tight budget, so we weren't really sure what to do.

Everyone wants to get out of debt, save money, and buy that extra big ticket item that always seems just out of reach.  I want this too!  The last few weeks I have been brainstorming ways to help my growing family save money every month.  My first thought was a budget and my second was a small home based business making and selling diaper cakes.  Also, my husband is working hard for a promotion at work, thank you baby :) So, that will greatly help our finances.  But, what about the money we have to spend every month on the things we need.  How could I save more?

I’ve been bombarded by friends, family, Facebook, TV shows, and the internet.  What is everyone talking about COUPONS!  Yes, coupons have been around for 100+ years, but in the past few years they have made a comeback.  Everyone wants to be an EXTREME coupon cutter and save 75, 80, even 90% off their grocery bill.  It sounded too good to be true, but I thought any claim that a person could save an average of $600-800 per month on anything was worth looking into.  So, I googled it.

I looked at some sights that allow you to print off coupons and I used a few, but how were people getting all these deals?  I googled that too.  I quickly found that everyone had their own ideas about how to save big at the grocery store, but mostly people just wanted to complain that their local grocery store would accept a certain type of competitor coupon but not another type or that they didn't live near a store that doubled coupons or that their local store recently changed their coupon policy.  My head was spinning, and I had no idea where to begin! 

So, I went to and read some book reviews.  I found two that sounded good "Pick Another Checkout Lane, honey" by Joanie Demer & Heather Wheeler and "How to Shop for Free: Shopping Secrets for Smart Women Who Love to get Something for Nothing" by Kathy Spencer with Samantha Rose.  I started with "Pick Another Checkout Lane" because it was reviewed as a fun and easy read.  It is! And it has all the pointers I've been searching for to start saving BIG! (BTW it is an easy read.  I read half the book in a day, but it could easily be finished in one or two sittings.  I have been taking it slow trying to absorb as much information as possible.  I will probably read it two or three times before I am ready to pass it on).

My goal is to start small, save a little and over the next few months on my grocery bill and then start saving in the triple digits.  My short term goal is $100/month, but I hope to save way more than that once I get the hang of couponing.  This week I bought once Sunday paper.  After reading "Pick Another Checkout Lane" I now know that is not nearly enough, next week I plan to buy 4 newspapers.  I am also working on my coupon binder.  I have the list of what I need to buy and later this week I hope to get my binder all set up.

Today, I took what few coupons I clipped from the Sunday paper and headed to Winn Dixie.  This is not how a Krazy Coupon Lady shops, but our pantry and fridge is on the verge of empty so I had to shop either way might as well save a little while I'm doing it.  I saved $23.99 and spent $79.37. Ok, not so great! But, it was better than I expected my first time out with a fist full of coupons. (Thank you Drew for all your patience today at the grocery store).

I expect my savings to increase by leaps and bounds over the next few weeks so STAY TUNED!

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