Momspirational Money Saving Tips – Part I
Inspired by a television show and the desire to save some money on what is one of the hugest expenses in my life…groceries – I have become slightly addicted to couponing. Okay, I am not one of those people that spend countless hours scouring the computer, online forums, and stealing inserts from dumpsters in order to get a free toothbrush. But nevertheless, I have at least started paying attention. Amazingly, in just a matter of weeks – with an investment of about an hour per week, I have been able to save around 50% on my grocery bill. As exciting as that is (because I might finally be able to buy myself a new pair of shoes), there is a lot more that I have learned from this newfound thriftiness as well. And I want to share it with you!
Chances are that you felt a lot like I did. You didn’t have the time or inclination to truly coupon. And you were pleased to save even just a little money on a few items each week, or even have the opportunity to try some new ones that you normally wouldn’t since you had a coupon to buy it. At some level of marketing, couponing is a lot about getting consumers, just like you, to buy into their products. They honestly don’t care if you hate it and end up throwing it away within a week; nor do they care if you ever buy it again. The coupon was the bait, which you took – and it helps companies recoup losses on products that perhaps they realize in hindsight weren’t so great. However, there is an upside to couponing as well.
In order to coupon – and not lose sight of your life or turn your home into a mini-convenience store, you have to develop a certain level of mindfulness while you shop. Instead of making a list for a week or so, forging into the store at 90 mph, and filling up a cart – shopping with coupons means planning with attention to detail and time. The biggest difference that I have found is that instead of shopping for a week, I shop the sales and match those sales up with my coupons. If I find a staple item like shampoo or pasta sauce on sale – and have coupons for it – I buy it in whatever quantity of coupons I have. And yes, sometimes it means that I don’t get EVERYTHING I think I need in one trip.
And that is precisely what I mean about coupon mindfulness. It makes you think about what your real needs in life are, promotes some flexibility and self-assessment of your shopping habits, and forces you to slow down and gain some control back.
But here’s the thing. As a reward for my mindfulness, I now have 16 boxes of pasta, 5 tubes of toothpaste, 10 bottles of shampoo, and other canned items stocked up to the point where I can mark them off my list for the next few months. Considering that sale cycles run quarterly, chances are by the time I run out they will be on sale again and I will have coupons for them again. And in the meantime, I can stock up on at least one thing every week. The obvious exception is meats, produce, and things like fresh milk and eggs.
So what couponing has taught me is patience. It also helps you to develop a future oriented mindset and keeps you from living only moment to moment. And even more than that, when you start truly looking at the sales paper instead of skimming them and begin paying attention to the differences in costs of items from store to store – you gain some control over your money and financial situation. You definitely have to change the way you shop currently in order to utilize coupons efficiently. But this change also helps to transform the way you think, spend, and live at a very deeply rooted level.
In fact, after a few weeks – it gets easier to remember prices, and you will likely feel cheated if you have to pay full price for anything – especially if you can get it cheaper somewhere else. You also gain some power as a consumer and can slowly but surely begin making your life easier. Trust me, I love the fact that I won’t be running out of toilet paper, cereal, or shampoo anytime soon, which always sent me dashing to the closest store paying double or even triple what I would normally pay. In these financially difficult times and with our unsteady economy, it is important to realize the power that you have to control your money and spending! Changing your mind, even about how you shop – can truly change your life.
And this my friend, is just the tip of the iceberg…look for more tips coming soon from the Momspirational Money Savings Tip series!
What do you think? Momspirational Money Saving Tips – Part I