Everyone knows coupons can be a wonderful thing, but when you are buying subscriptions to magazines for coupons, newspapers, printing mass numbers of coupons, or purchasing from coupon clipper services how much are you really saving? To me all those costs should be figured into your grocery purchases because you would not be purchasing them if it wasn't for the sake of savings. So if you buy a new printer specifically for coupons then it should be included in your spending. If you spend $75 on a coupon clipping service it should be included in your spending. And if you are buying a magazine or newspaper solely for coupons then they should be included as well. Adding in those costs and the time it takes to hunt for the deals you need to ask yourself "are you really getting the great savings you think?". To me it never made any sense to purchase all the extra items just to "catch a deal". I was tired of replacing printer ink and buying paper when I wasn't even using half of the coupons I printed. Not to mention the amount of time I was spending "hunting" for coupons.
I am enjoying a more simplistic approach to savings this year and so far it is going wonderfully. We waste less (NOTHING has been tossed yet!) and we have more nutrient rich ingredients in our home. I have planned my menu through the end of February and drafted my list of groceries to find almost half of my list is for fresh produce. The other half is mostly dairy and meat with very few frozen products (5 items for the entire month!) and no boxed ingredients. My method is to shop every two weeks and so far it is working out great. I am here to show you that you can still save money while providing delicious and nutritious meals that contain quality ingredients for your family.
Right now my spending is showing that I am over right now, but don't read too much into that. I had bought all the laundry soap making products, essential oils, and other items to make my household cleaners. Those items should last me 6-9 months and maybe even longer. As I progress through the year my spending should even out and will be on track just from not buying dishwasher detergent, laundry soap, or other household cleaners.
The important thing is to find what system works for you and your family. But beware that there are sites that pull a mask over their savings. Many websites do not include the costs of couponing in their spending. I think that is deceitful because it does not show the whole picture. All of my spending is shown in my tracker. Every time I go to buy milk or any other item for the house it gets added to my spending spreadsheet. If I purchase diapers on Amazon.com it gets added to my spreadsheet. Any spending towards the household (whether food, paper goods, cleaning supplies, etc) will be added to the spreadsheet. I may not always "show" or "tell" about my spending because, well, do people really care that I spent $4.20 on two gallons of milk? Probably not.
This is a place to see realistic and honest spending for the needs of family of four. It may not be a perfect system all the time (or right for everyone), but I am learning (just as many others are) how to better provide for the needs of my family. I am thankful for having my eyes opened to all of the "glitz" and "glamour" of the coupon world and to be able to make healthy and nutritious meals on a budget.
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