Money…sigh…if only we could homeschool without it! There are a lot of free resources out there, but I prefer to invest in materials I believe in rather than making do with what I have to for free. We are always on the lookout for ways to save and stretch our dollars. One of things I have avoided though is couponing. It just didn’t appeal to me for a few reasons, but the biggest one was the time. Working two part-time jobs in addition to homeschooling doesn’t leave a lot of extra time to coupon and get good enough at it to really see some savings!
Christi the Coupon Coach‘s book, Couponing Made Simple lives up to it’s title! This simple step-by-step guide will take you from defining the terminology of experienced couponers down to how to make the most of your deals. For just $18.00 for the hard-copy of the book or $4.99 for the e-book version you can get all of the information you need to get started.
Read this book I felt as if Christi is sitting down at your kitchen table chatting over a cup of tea and some scones. Her easy writing style makes you feel as if you know her personally.
I like the step-by-step instructions for how to set up a couponing system along with several options. Although I’ve never attended a seminar, I have read other coupon how-tos and tutorials which made my mind spin. Their systems were complex and overwhelming to the beginning couponer with only a handful of coupons to their name. By offering a variety of ideas Christi also encourages the reader to find what works for them, even if it means creating something different.
I was finally able to really understand the ideas behind coupon stacking and how this was supposed to work. Unfortunately, many of our local stores which used to honor this system have now done away with this. The stores which do allow stacking are a bit more of a drive, so I sadly will not be able to benefit from this! We are also having stores now stop doing double and triple coupon weeks which can be an excellent time to stock up on a particular item. Some stores are not allowing rain checks, or only a limited number of rain checks as well. I’m not sure if this is a national trend or just local, but it is a bit disappointing to feel so well equipped, but without all the same resources as available previously.
Several years ago my husband and I used to buy the Sunday paper with coupons, but for a stretch of a few months the coupons were never inside! This was happening at several stores close to us and for delivery. When my husband called to question this he didn’t really get any answers, so we stopped trying. I also prefer not to buy many of the products in the coupons in the paper and have opted to start making homemade versions of many or our favorite foods. For this reason we mostly use computer-printed coupons and the ones printed for you at stores as you checkout. This does not grow our stash very quickly, but for us it makes the most sense.
Our best deal after I started implementing Christi’s method came from Target for light bulbs. I’m not a fan of the new fluorescent bulbs for a few reasons. First, fluorescent light has always tended to give me a headache. I don’t know why, but it does. I also have found the 10-year life expectancy on these things has never happened for us. We spent lots of extra money, only to have the bulbs last a year on average. This is certainly NOT cost-effective considering their high price tag! So, with Christi’s method in mind, we set out to find some light-bulbs with a coupon that had printed out the last time I was at Target.
We had a $2 coupon off the lightbulbs which were $9 for a pack of 4. We also received a $5 gift card when we purchased 2 of them as well as another $3 off coupon! We went back and bought more, receiving another gift card. It wasn’t as good as free, but It wasn’t a bad deal!
One are I’m going to look more extensively into couponing is our toiletries and makeup. I know I should be able to get our toothpaste, shampoo, and many other items cheaper than I do, it will just take a little more effort on my part by checking out sales and deals each week. I’ve decided for food, I still prefer to just go to one store and not worry about coupons for the most part. I’m still in the process of setting up my “system” but I’m hoping to take our $50 budget for toiletries down to $25 or less each month. With four girls in the house I have to assume this is only going to creep higher!
Christi has also devoted a portion of her site to updated couponing sites. This information was not included in the book as the internet is constantly changing and the sites could potentially become outdated as website names change and sometimes close. I love how thoughtful she was to do this!
For anyone looking to start out couponing or to better understand the world of couponing, this book is an excellent buy! Don’t forget to check out the other reviews from my Crewmates!