After a year + of couponing, I have called it quits. Not that I would ever turn down a coupon or enjoy getting an item free, but I have found for our budget, I am going back to my old ways of grocery shopping and saving myself money and time. Each week, while couponing, I was running down to West Liberty to grab my 5 papers for 75 cents each. I'd pour through the coupons, organize them, run through the ads and find where I'd do the best at. I have found that stockpiling for me, just didn't work for our budget. I fear I ended up spending more money to receive the deal rather than saving my family money. Not only was I driving to another town to pick up my papers each week, but I was going to Wal-Mart, Kroger, CVS and Walgreens. There were times I'd drive the 45 minutes to the nearest Target just to get a deal on diapers. I probably used up the money I saved on gas to get me to each place. When I started couponing the purpose for me was doing better on diapers and wipes for my baby. I think I fared better on that and should have stuck to my guns on this idea. What I would recommend, would be to shop at ALDI. I love ALDI. They have excellent selection of produce and items. My brother-in-law used to work for ALDI and he always has said that the products are the same from ALDI as the name brand items, they are just labeled as ALDI brand. We love their chips for our lunches, the produce, I love that today I got a gallon of milk for $1.99 rather than paying over $3.50. (How often do you find a coupon for milk, and when you do, you also have to buy Oreos or Chips Ahoy, which I love, but don't need!) When there are other items we need, then we go to Wal-Mart, because they have the lowest prices. I have taken advantage of Wal-Mart's price matching, which is awesome. I would recommend taking your ads with you and they will price match to the ad. This does take some organization and you must go to a line with a representative and not the self-check out lines. I have gotten great deals price matching and using coupons and even without using coupons. I know this post would probably make every coupon blogger annoyed, but for us, we are saving more money by doing what we've always done than adding more trips to here or there and more temptations to buy those items with coupons. My goal is to do most of my shopping on the outer circle of the store, rather than all the aisles in the middle. On the outer circle of the store are your produce, dairy, meat, etc. Mostly everything else is processed foods and we don't need those in our diets, we definitely eat enough!
Please don't be offended if you are an amazing couponer and fabulous at getting deals! I always loved checking my receipt at the end and seeing all that I saved! I would get a thrill out of doing this, but as I look back on our year last year, I see all that I really did spend (especially when we were taking a financial class at our church) and realized I was spending more than our budget allowed just to get good deals and to stockpile. So the only choice was to cut the spending and minimize my trips. This has helped our budget, my time can be given in more areas, especially around our home and with our kids and we can use the extra money on things we need.
I am turning my scissors over to the other coupon divas and going back to what I know. I am still looking for deals and will use coupons when I come across them, especially on diapers and wipes. But my time is over and I will allow those who can to coupon and for me, I will save money on our budget!