Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday – Coupon help and Financial stuff

I am feeling more like what doesn’t work for me. I am, again, in a coupon funk. I go back and forth about every other month trying to decide if couponing really is worth it. I know I have saved a lot of money buying different things and at some times it really is fun. I now have several family members doing it a lot more than they used to. I think I just need to challenge myself more to not have to get every deal (because sometimes I feel like I have to). I really, really like homemade stuff. I love to cook and bake from scratch. I know it takes more time, but I really enjoy doing it. I like making my own laundry detergent. I feel good every time I do a load of laundry (which is often).

I really want to chuck my massively huge coupon book out of the window, but then I’m afraid I may regret it.

My dad asked me why I don’t blog about money matters on my blog. I considered myself a Dave Ramsey groupie at one point. I worked for a financial firm for 5 years and I constantly preached at people that did not have a Roth IRA (I still love Roths by the way). I explained what a mutual fund was. I helped people pick out their mutual funds for their 401K’s. I like numbers; I just don’t think I’m very good at them. I love spreadsheets. I have tons of them. I just leave the frugal/saving money website blogs to others who really enjoy it more. Besides I’m not a fan of spilling ALL my dirty laundry, especially not my financial dirty laundry.

So, I guess I’m asking What Works for you as far as saving money? If you don’t use coupons what do you do and how well does it work?

For more Works for Me Wednesdays, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

8 comments:

  1. Hi, I saw you on Rocks In My Dryer. I use a 3 ring binder with baseball card holders to organize my coupons. Actually, my friends and I talked about money saving on our blog recently. Here is the link: Today's Housewife
    I also try to find deals for where we eat out--Tuesday half price Sonic burgers, coupons, etc. I went through an anti-coupon funk recently when I got really busy, but I am back into couponing now (I have quite a bit of free time before our baby arrives). I hope that saving money goes well for you!

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  2. Procrastination works for me.

    Not getting around to buying a new dryer, then finding one free on Craigslist two weeks later.

    Making do with a pickle jar for sun tea, because I kept forgetting to buy one, then finding out summer items are clearanced in July.

    Same with summer clothes for the kids.

    Waiting to eat out until Tuesday night, so the Kids Eat Free.

    Also, the envelope system works well. We moved to a new state, and I am hardly couponing at all here, because the deals are way different.

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  3. Something you said stuck out at me..."sometimes feeling like you have to get every deal". I have felt like that too. At one point and reading about everyone's great deals, I started going after every deal every week and instead of it saving me money I was spending more money. I found myself getting burned out from "chasing" the deals. So I just decided that chasing after every deal just because someone else said it was a good deal is NOT what works for me and my family. So I took a break from shopping and spending and just worked at using the items that I had. I actually made a challenge to myself to see how long I could go without shopping the deals and also sharing my "deal wealth" with others by giving it away to the local food pantries and such.

    Don't throw your coupon book out the window! Put it in a drawer for a while and take a break...this will save you money!!

    Take the time to use what you have on hand and enjoy making your homemade stuff. Find what will work for you and your family.

    Once you have taken a break, weed out your expired coupons, and even those coupons for things that you are never going to use! Just keep the coupons that you know without a doubt that you and family will use. This will help you to not go after every deal out there but just for those deals of things that you use. And you can continue to enjoy the thrill of getting deals and your homemade goodness. :)

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  4. Couponing only when it's an item that I regularly use is what works for me. I don't put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into all that deal finding because I feel like it takes time, precious time, that I could be spending with my kids, away from me. I already take time out for cleaning, laundry, menu planning, etc. I don't need another time consuming project in there.

    And while I applaud and admire all of those that do take the time to find the best deals at the proper stores and save tons of money by buying so much of this and earning money towards their next purchase, etc., it just isn't for me. At least not right now. Maybe I'll be more accepting of it when my kids are older and not with me constantly as they are now...who knows?
    This post reminded me of this lady at Target the other day. She was in front of me. She had her cart full (spilling over) with diapers and wipes and about 5 million coupons. Her daughter was crying and saying she wanted to go home and when she got her coupons ready found out that she didn't have the right brand and couldn't use her coupons. She was near tears and said she had spent an hour trying to make sure she had all the right stuff and that she just wanted them to take all the stuff back. It was sad...I felt sorry for her and her little girl.

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  5. One thing I find helps me with coupons is using grocerygame.com. You can try it free for 4 weeks, and then after that it averages about $2/week/store. What I save far outweighs the cost--my average is 40% a visit. You pick out what stores you want, and each week you get a list of what is on sale, what coupons are available, and how much you'll save. The only downside is that it is posted 2 days after sales start--in my case, it posts Sunday and sales start Friday. To me, though, it's worth the wait for the good deals.

    About that massive coupon book of yours: I'm wondering if you need to get rid of some outdated coupons? And would you really use the ones you have? Maybe you should ruthlessly sort out the ones that aren't so great.

    I've done couponing in many ways, but what I find works for me is to put them, circulars intact, in a binder. One circular goes in one plastic sleeve (like page protectors for scrapbooking). I write the date on the sleeve. Grocery Game tells me where to find what I need, so I only clip when I'm actually going to use a coupon.
    The best thing you can do for saving money is to learn to stockpile. You buy more than one of something you use when it is on sale at the best price, and put the extras in the pantry or freezer. When you run out of peanut butter, isn't it better to reach for the jar you got on sale for $1.50 than to run to the store and spend almost $4?
    Sorry this is so long, but I hope it helps you a little!

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  6. I've been posting about these very same things!

    And you are right, Roth IRAs are right up there with 529 plans as far as great investment tools!

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  7. Thank you all for responding. I guess I should clarify that I have a coupon system. I use the baseball cards. I just feel kind of what Klutzy Mama said, that I spend enough time away from my kids with cleaning and everything that I am tired of taking more time away from them. Also, I have a subscription to the Grocery Game now, but the updates don't really work out for when I actually go shopping and I can find most of the deals on Money Saving Mom or the Grocery Game. Thank you, Sonshine, for the idea of taking a break. I think I will do that and see how that works out for me! Also, sometimes, procrastination works for me too. Great ideas!

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  8. I used to feel the same way about couponing - what was the point? Then I discovered The Coupon Mom. She actually started it as a way to collect supplies for local food shelters, which I thought was noble in and of itself. My W4WM post is about her site - check it out if you are interested. Just think of what you can do with the money you save :)

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