I remember a time not all that long ago when couponing was kind of taboo. Those who toted their handful of coupons or gasp, coupon holders, to the store were looked at as if they were poor or in need. The thought was if you were well off why would you bother with coupons.
Boy has that thought changed! Sure, there are people out there that still have a negative view but couponing definitely has a new look and a new set of followers. Of course shows like Extreme Couponing have added to the phenomenon but even before that this practice of saving money was gaining recognition.
I remember a few years back when my mom gave me a little wallet-size accordion style coupon holder and I wondered if I would ever use such a thing. Now my coupon stash has outgrown that little holder and resides in a binder or box. I have fallen in love with couponing because it gives me a way to contribute financially without having to earn money. I am able to control the grocery part of our budget which gives us room to spend money in other areas. Not only that but I get a complete high from scoring great deals! It is fun to even see my husband get on board...he loves when I send him to the store on a coupon run because he always gets a positive reaction (and then he brags about me and my hard work:).
For those of you who are just getting started in couponing or who have yet to jump on the bandwagon, let me address a few of your possible concerns:
1. I can't do what they do - It is intimidating when you sit down and watch Extreme Couponing or read some of the match ups that professional bloggers are able to come up with. The truth is...you could do that too. You could. But it takes time to learn it all. Remember to keep it in perspective and be proud of what you are able to do. It will get easier over time and before you know it you will be bragging to your friends.
2. I don't have that kind of time - It is true that couponing takes some time, especially in the beginning. You have to build a coupon stash, find your preferred method of organizing said coupons, browse through ads, match up sales with coupons. This will get faster and faster over time as you become more proficient. And you can make it whatever you want it to be. You don't have to run to 7 different stores 3 separate times in a week. The beauty of couponing is that it isn't all or nothing, everyone can play at their own level and adjust it to their lifestyle. (I recently logged the time I spent on couponing compared to what I saved and the results are pretty amazing! Check it out here: http://chrystal-lewis.blogspot.com/2011/08/is-it-worth-it.html)
3. I will never be able to learn all of this - No, not in one day. But the beauty of couponing in this day and age is that information is accessible to anyone who wants it. One option is a coupon class. I think this is a good idea for someone who doesn't have the time to learn it all on their own (or for the person who just doesn't want to spend the time). There are free classes out there as well as people who will put on paid classes in your home. Now if you have a little time and the will to learn you can also gather all of this information by yourself. My favorite way to not only obtain coupons but also to learn more about couponing is through blogs. There are SO MANY out there these days that focus solely on saving money. Some of my favorites are The Krazy Coupon Lady and Coupon Pro. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of others out there as well (for a list of the ones I follow check out my blog's Facebook page). Not only can you get these updated daily through your email or Facebook but this also cuts out most of the guess work and leg work. These are great places to access stores coupon policies and most of these ladies do all the matching up for you so it cuts down your time spent searching through ads.
I would love to hear your thoughts on couponing. Do you do it and to what extreme? What are your favorite ways to get coupons and learn how to save money?