It has taken me awhile to figure out a way to tackle this subject on our website. I finally decided that if I put it off any longer then it would never happen so here it goes...
Couponing is only a piece of the puzzle.
Yep, that's what I said. A piece of the puzzle.
Now you are saying, 'What on earth is she even talking about?'
I'm glad you asked.
I grew up in a frugal family and when I say frugal, I mean a couponing, garage sale hunting, flea market selling, auction buying kinda family. In fact, right after I was married, I took my husband to Brandon's Auction (in Tulsa) and we sat for 8 hours until the couches I wanted went up for bid. Then, we managed to get so excited that we ended up with couches, end tables and a couple of lamps too.
Were coupons involved in that process? Uh, no. Just a whole lot of patience, price calculating and sweat. Mega amounts of sweat. Oh, and did I mention some guy thought he was going to get my couches? Yeah, not going to happen, bro. Don't ever bid against a woman and her furniture.
Buying furniture at auctions is frugal. Making my own laundry detergent is frugal. Buying clothes at Goodwill and other thrift stores is frugal. Growing my own vegetables is frugal. There are many, many aspects to living a frugal life and most of them do not involve coupons.
Why am I saying this? Because I am well aware many couponers fell off the wagon after being hit in the face with Extreme Couponing. In fact, if it were up to me, I would take Extreme Couponing outside to the backyard and rough it up a bit.
I think those of us who have been couponing for years have just sat back and watched it all pass by. But I do know many people got a bad taste in their mouth after watching people clear shelves, jump in dumpsters, stock up like it's 1999 and have had to deal with stores changing their coupon policies like no tomorrow. Because of those things, many just decided to forget it. But, that is the part that bothers me personally.
Couponing is only a piece of the puzzle. If you want to save money, you have to step outside the coupon box and adopt a frugal lifestyle. That is what I love about it. If you are a little tired of couponing or if you have taken it down a few notches, there are so many other things you can do to continue to save money. Or, maybe you are like me and you still coupon but you also do other things as well so you can save double the money?
For our family, we have really built our life around living frugally. In order to send my son to private school, we have to save money in other areas too not just groceries. For example, my husband told me a few months ago that he would be running a half marathon in Oklahoma City. Because of the time of the event, I knew we would need a hotel room.
Two weeks later he spoke to me again asking about the hotel and I told him I had not booked one yet. Why? Because I was not happy with the rates I was finding. I told him everything was $120 or more per night.
He said, 'Well, isn't that normal?' Uh, yes, of course it is normal, but that does not mean I want to pay it. By the time we factor in food and the cost of running the race, gas, etc then we really don't have $120 for a hotel so I have to do better than that.
Well, it took two weeks and a lot of prayer. I didn't think it was going to happen but then...a money saving miracle occurred. I forgot about an old credit card we had and that day, a note came in the mail explaining that you can earn points to redeem for hotels. It dawned on me that we might have earned points years ago that I had never redeemed.
My heart sank and I jumped online. Sure enough, I found out we had earned enough points over the years to get the hotel room down to only $14.95. YES! Score one for the Queen!
Gotta think outside the box.
If you are someone who felt like Extreme Couponing just burned you out then step out into a new direction. Check out our Frugal Living page where I have been posting homemade products like crazy and other frugal ideas. Try going to garage sales this season and check out the post I wrote about 5 Ways to Get the Best Deals at Garage Sales.
Keep balance in your life and try to avoid putting all of your money saving eggs in one basket. In fact, don't even buy the eggs, check out this post and find out how to raise your own chickens! HA!
Seriously though, even if you are in a slow coupon season, don't forget about the many ways you can save without coupons. There are so many pieces to the frugal puzzle, use what works for you and your family. Saving money is not a trend that will be going away anytime soon but you have to make it work for you.
So tell me, what have been your feelings towards couponing? What other ways are you saving money?