Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Coupon Diary: The Start

THE START: 07-11-10

I believe God gave me my life to live it the best way I can. I also believe we should make our lives the best adventure possible while taking care of the responsibilities He hands us. For me my adventure includes a marriage of 10 years to my husband, Dan (married to the man I had a crush on since I was eight), and our adventure together includes 4 kids (Amariah 9, Analeah 7, Ataviah 5, and Judah 16 months), 1 dog (Gator), and a small 4 bedroom 1 bath home here in Spokane, Wa, where we were born and raised. I am a Stay-At-Home homeschooling mom and I love being with my kids and watching them grow and learn. I will continue to do this as long as I possibly can because for me, my family is my life and my adventure.

We are the family that tries to live with what we need and just a little more. In that I mean, we have two TV's with minimal cable (the only decent way to get reception now that they've changed the signal) and high speed wireless internet (husband in school). These are what I consider our luxury items. Other than that we don't get fancy. We have good vehicles that run and get us from point A to B. We don't plan on moving due to the fact my husband is in school full time and I stay at home; it isn't worth the financial stress. So this is where I begin this adventure.

I haven't been a couponer in the past. It wasn't until about 3 months ago that I became interested. With Danny in school full-time, we live off of financial aid. I know it sounds crazy, but I'd like to think we make good financial decisions. We have been living this way for the past 18 months. Before school, I lived, after bills and such, with a $300 a month budget for household and food. Now that we live without a regular income, I started looking for ways to adjust our spending. It was at this time that I took on a cleaning job for my Father's business. Doing this I roughly make $120-$160 a month. It doesn't seem like a lot, but for us, it makes a difference.

My sister-in-law, Shannan (partner in crime), started me on this all. It was, like I said, about 3 months ago, when she showed me a great way to get diapers for aprox. $3-4 a package. Having one in diapers, I decided to "jump through the hoops" to get the good deal. Ever since then, I haven't been "jumping through hoops" as much as I have learned to "work the store". I have seen a huge difference in how I shop and now pay attention to the price. Before this I didn't really know what an item cost. Now, I'm confident when I think I've found a good deal.

So here we are. I have to say I'm still learning in many ways and have friends and family interested in what I'm doing. The two things that make people hesitate trying is 1. they think it takes a lot of time, and 2. they think you spend more in the long run because of the good deals.

So, here's where my diary starts. I am challenging myself to live on a $25 a week budget for one month. This will include food and household items. I want to see if I truly do save money, and what better way to do this than to put it into practice. In this diary, I will post my shopping trips with copies of my lists and a breakdown of my savings. I will also include a major grocery shopping trip to show everyone that you can save a bit on the big trips too. My goal is to purchase only items that I am in need of. If I can get items for free that I don't use, I will put them in a bin to donate to a local charity.

If I had to pick my 10 top items I keep my eye out for I would have to include the following:
1. Milk
2. Bread
3. Cereal
4. Girly items ( I'm stocking on these for future use from my 3 girls)
5. Toilet paper
6. Shampoos/conditioners (there is 6 of us after all)
7. Laundry soap
8. Dog food
9. Produce
10. The usual suspects (things I use a lot: olives, tomatoes sauces, pasta, ect.)

I hope you find this project helpful to you as much as I hope it helps me. I will post daily my activities and how much time I spent. I may fail some weeks and not spend much another, but I am here to be living proof that couponing is worth the time and savings. If there are other Stay-at-home moms out there, this could be, for you, a great way to stretch the family budget. I really think couponing is a great way of life. Here's to Happy Couponing!

Rachel Adams

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