When I was 17, my next door neighbor’s mom was the Neighborhood Mom. Everyone I knew then called her Momma Kaye. Their house was the neighborhood watering hole for all us kids.
Momma Kaye was a full time college student with no visible means of support, but she always had a fully stocked pantry and toiletries closet, filled with name brand items of every kind. She used to talk about doing her grocery shopping for the month and earning cash for doing so. At that point in my life, I had no real interest in trying to figure out what I saw as a very complicated process.
And, to be honest, Momma Kaye’s process WAS complicated. Even today, with all the couponing I do now, it was a huge task. In her office, Momma Kaye had a large metal filing cabinet filled with:
- 100 ct. rolls of postage stamps
- Rebate Forms
- Grocery store receipts – hers as well as the receipts she picked up in the parking lots or that people just left at the cash registers.
- Clipped coupons galore, sorted and organized into categories that made my brain hurt just thinking about
- UPC codes cut from every name brand item imaginable
In this room, Momma Kaye used her found booty (receipts and UPCs), as well as the ones she got for her own purchases, to send off for rebates … some for free items… some for cash off your next purchase… some were just straight checks made out to her. She used the coupons to drop the amount owed for shopping to pennies on the dollar and then she paid the amount owed with the rebates she sent off for! It was truly a sight to behold.
My own mother never used a coupon for ANYTHING except Little Caesar’s pizza. Not that she wasn’t concerned with what things cost, but she decided that all the hours that went into using coupons effectively were not worth the energy when she could do the bulk of her shopping at Save-A-Lot and still save money on the things we needed.
Using coupons does not have to be as elaborate as Momma Kaye’s system … nor as minimal as my mother’s system. Saving money through coupons can be as simple or as complicated as you choose it to be. They key is to not overwhelm yourself to the point that you decide to throw the towel in on the whole thing.
If you can afford to, start small. Pick up coupons for things you actually buy that you see in the grocery store aisles (called blinkies) and keep them until the item goes on sale. When friends offer you coupons for things they know you buy, keep them to use on your next purchase. If the cash register prints up coupons for things you buy anyway, use them! Start an envelope or folder to keep your coupons in and always check them before you go to the store.
If you’re really looking for major ways to save money on your grocery and household bill every shopping trip, buy my e-book for “the low low price of only $4.99″ ( I always wanted to say that!!!) and download all my great Recipes for Saving Money immediately. It’s not a long book filled with obscure ideas on how to save money. It’s a short but powerful e-book that tells you step by step what to do to slash your household shopping bills.
If you’re into figuring it out on your own and setting up your own system, check out my archives and the really great money saving blogs on the right hand side of the page.