I have been wanting to write a mini series on “How to Coupon” and “How to Bargain Shop” for awhile. However I have no idea just how long something like this will take. So over the next couple months-year I am going to be going over IN-DEPTH how to effectively coupon and bargain shop. Anyone can coupon, and anyone can bargain shop. However, it takes patience and wisdom to do it well without overspending in the long end. I want to show you how to coupon and bargain hunt thinking about the “long term” effects for your family.
Typically when people think about couponers they think about people that are poor, or cannot afford most things so they coupon. For us, that could not be further from the truth. I personally like to hunt for treasures, and it makes me feel great knowing I am providing for out small family in an extravagant way because of a couple extra hours a week.
So here is what I want YOU to do:
1. Figure out how much you spend per month on:
- Groceries (NOT HOUSEHOLD ITEMS like paper towels, cleaners…)
- Household Items (Paper Goods, Cleaning Supplies…)
- Health/Beauty Items: (Cosmetics, Nail Polish, Cotton Balls, Qtips, Deodorant, Body Sprays, Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Spray/Gel/Mousse…)
- Party Supplies
- Gifts (especially if you have kids this number is extremely important. This can add up quick with the more friends your kid has)
Okay now that you have that number determine if that number is a good number against what your income is. Would you like to decrease that number? Maintain it? By how much? Take some time to figure out what you would like to spend per month.
Your week to week spending may drastically change as you become a couponer and bargain hunter. However your bottom line of what you spend per month should not waiver (I will go into more details regarding this as we go along)
Now I want you to take the next month and track how much you spend on each of these categories I mentioned above. If you keep your receipts then you are in luck. Start going through them and see how much you are spending per week and per month. I also want you to know how much each of these things cost individually. So look at your receipts and write it out so that you know.
How much are you spending per month and per year on deodorant? I will tell you right now, way to much! The last time I bought deodorant for me and my husband was over a year ago and we both have 5-10 deodorants in our stockpile for when we run out. Oh yeah the best part? They were all completely FREE.
- Paper Goods: Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Paper Plates, Paper Napkins…
- Cleaners: Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, Kitchen Cleaner, Clorox/Lysol Wipes, Swiffer refills
- Health/Beauty: Makeup, Nail Polish, Cotton Balls, Qtips, Deodorant, Body Sprays, Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Spray/Gel/Mousse
- Party Supplies: Paper Plates, Cups, plastic flatware, streamers, favors, gift bags
- Gifts: How much do you spend on each gift? How much for the bag and wrapping paper
>>> We will get to food another day.
The key to be an effective couponer is to be a knowledgeable couponer so that when you see a “sale” price you can determine right away if it is actually a good price.
So that is your task for the next couple weeks. Start tracking your spending if you do not already and start educating yourself on what the things you buy cost. I am not looking for you to go to the store and memorize how much every product costs. JUST what you YOU BUY. We are creating a financial spending plan FOR YOU specifically not all of the world. So just look at what you are buying. Or maybe in addition to that what you are wanting to buy (ie: say you always buy the generic target brand diapers but really want to switch to pampers…)
Next up will be all about the numbers of couponing.
>>>> Would love to hear your goals on what you want to change on your spending habits. Don’t be shy. Comment!