I am a couponer. No, I am not a crazy couponer who buys more product than a person could ever use in a lifetime, but I use coupons on a regular basis to save money and still be able to buy the products my family enjoys. In addition to couponing for things my family needs, I also regularly coupon for good.
There are always great deals to be found with coupons. In fact, for those who don’t coupon, you can regularly get products like shampoo, toothpaste, razors, soap, etc for free or just pennies. Don’t roll your eyes at me, it’s true. 🙂 But just because I can get brand XYZ shampoo for free this week doesn’t mean that my family will actually use that shampoo. (Like you, we have our favorite brands.) But I can’t pass up a deal like free! This is where couponing for good comes in. Whenever I can pick up free (or uber cheap products) I do so. I keep a bag under our laundry room sink and deposit said freebies in it.
I don’t often have to go looking for a cause to donate my items to, they are all around. So when an opportunity arises, I have a stash of products I can donate ready to go. In the past year, I have been able to donate to tornado victims, a US solider, a local shelter and more. These were all causes that came up and needed immediate attention. I raided my stash and provided a bag of toiletry items for each – exactly what was needed without spending another penny. My stash isn’t huge, its just one bag, but there always seems to be enough when I need it.
Even with couponing growing in popularity, there is still a stigma attached to it. (Perhaps more so with shows like Extreme Couponing painting couponers in such a bad light.) But it makes such a huge difference in our household budget (I haven’t paid more than $1 for toothpaste in three years and the majority of time I get it for free), that I can’t imagine not couponing.
When I learned that this month’s SIMPLE Service Project for Champions for Kids was all about using coupons from All You magazine to shop for kids, I couldn’t wait to get started. (By the way, if you aren’t familiar with All You magazine, every month it is filled with coupons and money saving tips. Great magazine!)
Since I have a baby in the house again, I decided to create a baby shower basket for a new baby for my project dedicated to my baby. Plus the timing was perfect, Walmart was nice enough to send me a coupon for free Parent’s Choice formula. Since I am exclusively breastfeeding, this was the perfect coupon to launch my basket.
I didn’t have many baby coupons in my stash (mostly because I keep using them), so I went online and hunted for coupons on Coupons.com, CouponNetwork.com and SmartSource.com. After printing my coupons I was off to Walmart in search of baby stuff.
I wanted to have a coupon for everything I bought, but unfortunately since I can’t control when manufactures release coupons that just wasn’t possible. The rule of couponing is that you buy what you can when it is on sale with a coupon for max savings. Typically, I don’t buy this many different baby items in one day, but this was a special project so I did the best I could. For the items I wasn’t able to use coupons on, I was pleased to see how economical Walmart branded items were. (Check out my Google+ story for more details about what I was thinking as I purchased each item for my baby basket.)
There were things that I had coupons for that I didn’t need. So I decided to do a little couponing it forward. First I noticed a mom buying Pull-Ups. Since I recently stocked up on these for my big girl, I handed over my $2 off coupon that was expiring soon. She was very thankful. I didn’t see anyone buying formula or Pediasure while I hung out in the baby section, so I left my coupons on the shelf for someone to find. Imagine the surprise on a mother’s face when she picks up a can of formula to find that someone left a coupon for $5 off two.
At the end of my trip, I had enough to fill a giant basket with tons of goodies for a new mom all for less than $30. If I purchased the same items not using coupons and buying name brand, a quick estimate tells me that I would have spent nearly $75. That’s bargain shopping.
Next time you see a flyer of coupons, take a look at what’s inside and see if you can save on your next shopping trip. If nothing else, perhaps you can “coupon it forward” or create your own “couponing for good” stickpile.
Learn more about how you can get involved with Champions for Kids SIMPLE Service projects by following them on Twitter (and follow the hashtag #AllYouCFK to see what other’s are doing for their projects) and on Facebook.
Disclosure – This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. #CBias