Couponing & Bargain Hunting: Finding a balance

I have no shame in sharing that I LOVE a good deal. Where someone may thing 50% off is good I want an even better deal. My goal when I shop is 70-90% off. I learned from my mom to not buy things full price & to coupon. My mom would typically save $1-$5 on her purchases. She wasn’t an extreme couponer, but she was aware of the best deals.

I took it a step further last year when my husband wasn’t working. My goal was to only pay $1 -$5 for my purchases. As a result I became an extreme couponer. I LOVED it. The rush of getting so many items for free and not just crap, we got the actual items we needed.I had watched Extreme Couponing on TLC, I read Thekrazycouponlady blog and watched instagram like a hawk for deals. Last November I started extreme couponing and went hard for 3 months. Within those three months I was able to accumulate 2-3 years worth of every beauty/personal & housekeeping item we would need from Toilet Paper to shavers, from body wash to swiffers. 3 months of extreme couponing set up our family of two for success. After our closets were brimming full of everything we would need for 2+ years I began looking at what we had. It is SO EASY to “buy” something simply because it is free.

Here in America I think it is so easy to collect things. We have an obsession with having things. However having things does not define who we are, or our social status no matter how much society may try to make us believe it.  This can be hard to see in the moment when you are able to score something for free, or make money off of it.

So early spring this year we went from having a huge 5 shelf shelving unit stuffed with beauty & personal care items. Our closets were no longer used for just clothing instead bin upon bin was stuffed with shampoos, hair color, hair gels…the list goes on and on. While I loved seeing our little “store” it was a little much. I am someone who likes clean and organized. Closets were made for clothes. So I began going through what we would actually need within the next two years. Everything else had to go. Trash bag upon trash bag were donated to women’s shelters, and friends in need. This is something I do love about couponing and bargain hunting. I can help those in need.

At this point I still coupon and bargain hunt but not as much as I use too. I use to “run” for every deal. I have now found a balance between bargain shopping & couponing that keeps us still spending what I budget for us each week. When we first got married I asked around of what people spent per month on food & household items. I wanted to make sure and spend less than the average as saving money and investing is huge to me and my husband. We want to be able to take trips every year and to enjoy life. In order to do this we must be financially responsible.

One of the most important things that I found to help me keep the balance of how much I coupon and how I spend is I budget how much I would spend on each item and only spend that. For example, say I needed clorox cleaning wipes. They retail for $2.99. Last winter they went on clearance for $1.28. I had coupons for $2/2. So each container cost me .28/ea. I was able to get 10 CONTAINERS for the price of 1. I go through these wipes like crazy, they are my best friend. (I personally prefer clorox wipes, to lysol wipes)

With this method I am able to get what I need, not overspend and I am able to stockpile. I think this is important. You can easily go over your budget when couponing and bargain hunting because you see good deals and while you are “saving money”. However if you are spending more than you budgeted that month what is the point? You must think long term. This is just how I do things. After couponing for almost a year now I know what clearances out and when so I know how much to buy of each item. There are certain items that do not clearance out quarterly and for those items I may go over budget, however most everything clearances out at some point because companies are always re-doing branding. So I do not have to clear shelves to get a good deal. Figure out how many of each item you use each month and go from there. If you go through something alot, then you may want to have more of that item in your stockpile.

 

Hope this helps a little on finding balance with couponing. If you have any questions, please leave a comment!

 

Next post will be on starting a stockpile.

 

 

 

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