Couponing is 75% fun, 25% necessity for me. Not true for all.

christa in dairy aisleI love free stuff. Plop me at the International Plowing Match or a good Trade Show for a day and I`ll float home with half a dozen new cloth bags filled a joyous array of new pens, post-its, and sample size products to try, usually with coupons attached.  It`s fun!

When it comes to snagging FPCs (free product coupons) through facebook offers, I`ll play along and “sell my soul”* for a FREE pack of bacon or full size bottle of body wash. If I can match a sale to a $1 or $2 OFF coupon and get a product for FREE, I`ll do it, even if it means driving a bit out of the way (within economic sense) or spending a few extra minutes at the checkout while the cashier scrutinizes the coupon and the flyer I`m price-matching with. It`s rewarding!

We don`t NEED to coupon in our family. I could easily return to my professional career as a teacher trainer but we`ve decided to adjust our spending habits and make-do on one and a half incomes so I can be here with the kids before and after school. And so, I spend at least a couple of hours each week ordering, clipping and organizing coupons and carefully planning my shopping trips, consistently saving 50-80% on our grocery bills and maintaining a small stockpile of dry goods and household products so that we`re never caught having to pay full-price. This is the 25% necessity for me, and even at that, it`s still a lifestyle choice for our family.

My heart bled today when reading Jennifer Pinarski`s post on the Today`s Parent blog about The emotional truth of grocery shopping on a budget.

The pent-up emotions of having to make difficult decisions at the grocery store, plus envisioning the disappointed faces of my children when I come home without their favourite snacks, breaks my heart.

My children have never wanted for anything (except a trip to Disney.  We`re reminded weekly that time is running out since 8 year olds don`t likely care about seeing the Princesses).   They don`t get everything they want, though, and just recently we`ve started to hear requests like “Can you get this cereal when it`s on sale?” or “Do you have a coupon for those yogurt drinks?”.  I`m pleased that our children (5+7) have a sense that we choose the timing of certain items, especially seasonal fruit, and that we try not to waste money by buying things that will be less expensive on a later trip.

I was blown away by the raw and naked emotions that the author shared in her article and more than ever, am determined to keep spreading the Save-at-Home-Mom story, keeping in mind that couponing, savvy shopping, and frugal living are not necessarily hobbies for everyone who might be reading.

That, and dropping more items that I get for FREE into the food bank bins at the grocery store:  items that will reassure families who are peeking in not knowing “whether or not our meal next month will come from that bin.”

Thanks for sharing your story, Jennifer – we all needed to hear it.

*selling one`s soul on facebook: 1) like the page 2) give permission for the brand to access your friends list 3) allow the brand to post on your behalf. The latter borders on `deal-breaker` for me, but I always change my settings to Only Me so no-one will ever see the spammy auto post should the brand ever decide to act on their new permission to “be me”.


About christaclips

Christa is a Save-at-Home-Mom who writes about money saving tips with hopes of inspiring other families who might want to keep one parent at home but aren't sure they can swing it financially. Christa left her career as a teacher trainer when it started costing her $47,000/yr to work outside the home and now works from home as a social media consultant and freelance writer. She shares her full story and money saving tips here on her blog and as co-host of the weekly #cdnmoney twitter chat on Tuesdays from 7-8pm ET. Wife, and mother of 2, Christa lives in Rockland, Ontario and loves skating & nordic skiing on the Ottawa River.

Posted on May 2, 2013, in Christa Clips, Couponing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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