Coupon LIES!

So before I started my own coupon journey I had some notions, the preconceived sort, about whether or not clipping coupons was really worth my time. Having just turned 40 years old and living on my own since the age of 17 I operated under these notions for... you do the math. 

Here is what I believed about Coupons:

When I clip coupons I always end up buying things I wouldn't normally buy.
When I clip coupons I end up spending more money! 
When I clip coupons I spend so much time and save only a few dollars.
They don't offer coupons for the things I buy the most like milk, bread, eggs, cereal, or meat.
There are so many coupon rules it's too frustrating.
They expire before I can use them.
I save more money just buying the generic or store brands.
It's too much work.


I shudder to think at the amount of money I have wasted, given away because I hadn't taken the time to learn how to clip coupons successfully. Like minor home repair, changing the oil in the car, growing vegetables and mending clothes these are lost tools in the housewife's tool box. Our mothers and grandmothers knew how to stretch a penny. We won't even bend over to pick one up from the sidewalk.

Maybe it's the economy, maybe it's the tv show, or maybe some combination of factors is contributing to women taking up the task of running their home more efficiently and with care to details. Whatever it is, it's rewarding, it saves your family money, which is like getting a little part time job without ever going to work, paying taxes, leaving your home or your children and you are the boss.

As I am sharing my own journey into the coupon experience I thought I would share my trip yesterday to give you an example of what is working for me. Please remember I am a rookie.  I'm not at the point of leaving the store with thousands for $20.00. But I am very pleased with my savings.

The video above is everything I purchased at Shop n Save Friday afternoon. This was not a $10 off $50 day - had it been whew! I would have cleaned up. 

The receipt below is nothing but Splenda. I use splenda everyday. The box is normally priced at $4.24. I had a coupon for $3.00 off each box. Bring the price down to $1.24. The store hangs little blue notes on special offers throughout the store. Splenda was offering $3.00 off your next shopping trip when you buy two boxes. I had 12 coupons (clipped from extra newspapers purchased for fifty cents on Mondays.)

$3.00 for every two means I received 6 coupons for $3.00 off my next shopping trip = $18.00 As you can see below the total for all my Splenda after taxes was $17.44. The register however didn't print my coupons! It gave me one coupon for $4.00. huh?

A quick stop at the customer service counter and it was easily resolved. He checked it out then handed me $18.00 cash. He marked it on the receipt so it couldn't be used again. I kept the $4.00 of coupon as well.

Total - I purchased $53.57 worth of Splenda and I actually MADE $4.56.
That was my first time ever accomplishing this so I want a coupon badge!! I won't need Splenda until I find another great buy :)


Now, I checked out with the Splenda before ringing up my second order. Does the cashier seem a little put out by having my coupons, split order, and me checking the prices like a hawk? Sometimes. I try to be as sweet as pie, but I also browse the checkers before I pick my lane. I don't want a newbie who will get flustered. I don't want a curmudgeon who will want to pick a fight over every coupon as if I am stealing either. I look for someone who seems in a good mood, efficient and who is moving their line quickly.
This next receipt will debunk almost every lie I mentioned earlier. This shopping trip was filled with fresh fruit & vegetables, cereal, and meal prep items. I did not have bread coupons this week or cream cheese so I purchased the store brands. I also sprang for some pricey cheese which makes the italian food I love to make - delicious. The total for these groceries was $85.04 before sales and coupons.
I cannot stress enough how critical it is if you are trying to save big bucks to match sales to coupons. It may mean going with a different brand but it's so worth it. After coupons and sales the total was $57.28 for a savings of 33%. Or I could have just handed the store over an extra $27.76, just for the heck of it. 

The other fun piece of this puzzle is that I received another $4.00 coupon for groceries and more than $13.00 in fabulous coupons by picking up a free book with my Special K cereal purchase and coupons inside the cereal.

One commonly held idea about extreme coupon clipping - you have to stock pile. I'm good on Splenda now for probably 6-8 months. So yeah there's a bit of that. I have several jars of miracle whip I purchased for only a $1.00 a few weeks back and a couple dozen boxes of Creamette Quick Cook pasta - elbow, penne, rotini, etc. each costing 45 cents. So yeah, I'm stock piling. This process is one I am careful about. Stocking on things that will not perish before I can use them. Not buying enough for a lifetime but a few months, and keeping it organized. 

Last thing. This is so much fun. I cannot describe to your the rush of adrenaline I experienced carrying home $138.39 of groceries and having paid ONLY $58.00. I saved 42%. I had the best food. Fresh food, great cereal, healthy meals and snacks. I was almost trembling at how much fun I'd had. 

I'm happy to help if you are local and want to sit and clip or need help getting started. I also imagine we could swap a lot of coupons :) 

It's pretty easy ladies - try it, Robin

For years I’ve eaten nothing but manna, a dish that is filling but bland

I have a weird, strong onion taste in my mouth. I haven't eaten Burger King in a long time and now I remember why. It's kind of gross.

Fast food in general is, but I've been on a binge for about a week. Stress, emotions, avoidance. 2 weeks ago I shared with a few select people that I had broken the bonds of slavery with regard to food. I proclaimed it and I claimed it. I had, I really had.

Then the enemy threw everything but the kitchen sink at me emotionally. 

My little taste of freedom left me exactly like the Israelites in the desert longing for their chains again. "Oh remember the good ol' days of cheeseburgers and french fries, onion rings and sodas. You are too busy and tired and stressed to cook. Remember back in Egypt we had all we could eat."

Manna wasn't working for me and one trip through the drive thru and I was back in chains. Slavery is so stupid.

So I fell of the wagon, spent too much money eating out, cried a river, feel like garbage and gained back the measly little 3 lbs. I had managed to lose. This sucks. I know, I know I hate that word too and I don't use it unless it REALLY applies and it does.

The great epiphany for this week, I don't completely trust God. whoa. I didn't come to this lightly. I trust God with all most all areas of my life but what I uncovered this week, was that I do not in fact trust him in ever single part. I would have said I did, so if you think you do my response is, "then you are not looking at your life closely enough."

 Father says, if I work through this there's still more. GOOD GRIEF!

I think I need to surround myself with recovering addicts. I am most comfortable around people who know they are sinners. People who think they were but they don't sin anymore are like alcoholics being "social drinkers."

If I surrender every part of my life to God then He would dwell in a strong, healthy, fit temple because He would have control and I could accept that I am powerless. and BAM! There's the rub, powerless? power-less. That would be without power, right? Like, power exits but I have none thus less than powerful. 

Surrendering is s'posed to be empower-ing. But how is that different than powerful. Does this really come to prefixes and suffixes? 

Enough today I messed up. Tomorrow I make a very thorough confession, pick up my cross and start over. 

Missing Clare, loving Taylor

at 9 weeks
It is possible to miss someone you never met. I miss Clare. This weekend I was honored to be invited to a baby shower for one of my closest friend's daughters'. I had only the slightest tinge of sadness in contemplating it but like I do with most things, I was busying myself right up until the moment I changed clothes and left. Ah, avoidance.

The shower was absolutely lovely. Pink and perfect. The only way to welcome a precious baby girl into the world. I put my head down and found work to busy myself with as soon as I arrived - making coffee, something to clean, food to prep, drinks to pour, punch to make, busy, busy. I think this is what good friends do generally speaking anyway. I wanted her to enjoy the shower and not work so I would have done this regardless but it was also welcomed distraction, not gonna lie.

The food in her home is always spectacular and I definitely focused on it next, taking my time to only nibble at it while we played games. But the moment I couldn't avoid came at last. The gifts.

Initially I started in the back of the room, out of sight but after a few pastel treasures were opened and the oooh's and aaah's echoed from the living room into the kitchen I was drawn closer and closer until I was helping pass gifts and move them back out.

Two gifts hit me the hardest. The first was a solid pink onesie. So tiny and delicate. Of everything my babies have ever worn onesies are my favorite. When they have had their bath and are fresh and clean, smelling like babies, I want to hold them forever. When they are crawling out of their clothes it's the only thing that will stay on. They practically lived in onesies. I have the most vivid memories of each of my children in onesies and when I watched the new mommy hold it up, something inside of me started to ache all over again. I could see a little girl squirming inside it, bouncing and smiling.

The other gift sent such chills down my back, no kidding I thought for a moment I might faint. I can't even talk about here.

The beautiful baby we showered this weekend will be named Samantha Claire, a blessed baby with a wonderful family. I rejoice with them at this precious gift.

Yes, I spell it differently but none the less, seeing the name on so many gifts felt like paper cuts. Quick and stinging me. Clare seemed to be everywhere.

I'm told I held it together beautifully, not a sign to anyone that I was upset. I didn't know anyone at all so that helped. There was absolutely no chance I would take a moment of joy away from the celebration. I wouldn't take a moment or a memory away from someone else by making one second of it about me. For the grace to celebrate, genuinely, lovingly celebrate the joy of Samantha Claire I am so grateful.

Once I stepped into the car, I was scarcely out of the neighborhood before the tears came. My one and only comfort was my own beautiful, amazing daughter. Alive and well, thriving, growing and each and every day becoming more than I ever even dreamed for her. Holding her hand, stroking her hair, feeling her gentle kisses of comfort on my cheek and sharing the loss with me makes it bearable. She alone shares the loss with me. It's seems as if no one else in the world misses Clare but Taylor and I. With a little girl like Taylor how can I help but want more?