Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reminders on couponing, frugal living and drugstore deals

Recently more and more of my friends caught the "coupons" and "drugstore" fever. I cannot tell you how elated and excited I am to hear about the deals they snagged and the money they saved. It really pumped me up.

Yet, I have this tingling concern at the base of my tummy...

I started this couponing/frugal/drugstore journey with the blessing and full involvement of my husband (he does the runs too). We talked about it, sometimes I run through my deals by him (because of my HORRIBLE math), laughed about it and celebrated together when we snatched some awesome deals.

However, I know I'm very blessed. Not all the sisters I know have that luxury. (I probably wouldn't have too, if not for my hubby starting to be CFO) So, I'm concerned if this frugal journey will cause dissensions among the couples which will be a BIGGEST loss!

OR...I was concerned that some of my friends would have to learn the hard way about drugstoring like me and suffer some losses (monetarily and time). I wish they can be spared of that.

So I thought of sharing some articles/blogs I read that was helpful and interesting (I'll post more when I read more) and also some of my learnings while on the journey.

Deal-seeking mom lately has some good blogs like:

Are you really saving?

To print and clip or not print and clip

Moneysavingmom (my favorite of all for she always keeps my values in check)! had some good archives:

Simple living

A good deal gone bad

And I read about this really really funny post: "I married a couponholic"

Alright. SOME of my learnings:

1. Discuss with hubby and make sure he at least gives you the blessing (MOST hubbies will not be able to participate and that's ok). OR let him give you the blessing with his "parameters". Every marriage is different you discuss and come to decisions about things. But every marriage should be more important than how much you earn/save.

2. Get your priorities right. Set time and budget aside for deals/couponing etc. Everyone has different needs and capacity. What's yours? I have 2 young kids and I realized when I first started I needed to learn about this and I need to get better. So I spent a lot of time. This year, one of my resolution is to cut down time to plan/strategize/etc on couponing/drugstoring to 15-20 mins a day. Do you have work? family? studies? hubby? hobby? ministry? Give those who deserve your attention the deserving attention. Also, remember this is about living simpler (yet I realized we're getting WAY MORE STUFF than we ever gotten, with much less money). Still to be willing to live simpler, eat simpler, use simpler is the key to saving (not the deals!!).

3. Remember your goals, never be greedy and be totally honest. It's SUPER hard esp when you start getting TONS of free stuff. But with some bad experiences, I realize, greed just doesn't get you anywhere. I always remember moneysavingmom's advice to pray about the deals (that makes me conscious to put God in all that I do in this journey). There are lots of ways to get free/cheap stuff but not all are honest. That's why I love moneysavingmom. When there are deals, I usually check her blog to see if she endorses it. She's on the journey for a much longer time than I do and I need her wisdom. I respect her values totally. That's also why I steer away from those online offers, special earning opportunities etc.

4. God knows what you need. My SIL loves to say this when we talked about deals (that we got or missed) and I think it's a wonderful reminder! God knows exactly what's good for you at this time, thus the deals you got/missed. In that light I no longer am anxious about "what if there is no stock??!!" "what if the coupon doesn't ring", etc's ok. Also, because of that I'm more willing to let go of good deals, $5/25 coupons and even some other great value coupons that I've printed (oh gosh, no!) but can't do the deal (no stock, no time, etc)

5. Never forget about giving. At this point in our journey, we have lots of household stuff stocked up, we are getting great deals (and many times I won't even do the deals unless it's overage or really free, or I can give away) and we are saving lots more. To the more God demands more. So we try to remember it's important to give to others. That keeps us in check.

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