Friday, October 30, 2009
Becoming a better Family Manager
So as the "family manager" (which I think is a lame title because I feel like Daddum and I make decisions as a unit) of my clan I have come to realize through great family (like MY mama) and great friends (all my TTM girls and military girlfriends) that there were changes that needed to be made. First and foremost, the grocery budget- OUT OF CONTROL!! I think back to what we were spending 6 months ago and I shudder at the amount of money we were just throwing away because I was too dumb (for lack of a better word!!) to use the magic "free" money that came to my house every Sunday----COUPONS!!!
Daddum had a friend who's wife had this website that showcased her frugal lifestyle (and gave out lots of tips to newbs) and out of sheer curiosity I started to e-creep on it and read about her money saving ways. At first I thought it was a hoax, this lady had to be lying--there was no way she could get all these things and spend little to no money. To say I was envious is a HUGE understatement, I was flat out green with ENVY!!! She has a family of 9 and spent in a month darn near what I spent every 2 weeks on my family of 4. Unbelievable right?? So I started to test the waters, I bought one newspaper on Sunday and was a total brand snob and clipped 5 coupons used them at the Commissary and was pleased. But my savings were but a drop in the pond of couponing...so I started "swaggin" coupon blogs, coupon sites, pretty much anything to do with the coupons. And I educated myself, and it took time and I tried different stores, and different tactics and then BLAM!!! I went on my first "shop" to my favorite store on the PLANET---PUBLIX and I used my new coupon knowledge and Mrs. C's tips and I DID IT!!! I spent $6.00 on over $40.00 worth of groceries!!! Daddum went with me to be moral support, and as we were walking out I ALMOST CRIED!!! I was sooo excited...and sooo totally hooked!!!
I developed a set of blogs that I checked daily and became active followers on. My fave blog hands down, no questions asked is The Thrifty Mama!!!
I met an excellent set of friends, learned sooo much and gained more knowledge about coupons i.e., buy multiples copies of the paper, Internet printables, trades, ebay, overage, CVS (I heart CVS), living green and all natural (still working on that but getting lots better!!). Between the blogs, calling customer service at 5 different grocery/drug stores (to find out their coupon policy), trial and error, prayer and pure luck I developed my couponing ways. I initially set a goal for our clan, cut grocery budget in half and try to stockpile enough daily necessities for a full 12 months. This included soap, shampoo, toothpaste, razors, (I know expensive right?) air freshener, tp..etc. First, I had to let go of brand loyalty, I know I know everyone loves that brand of face wash or shampoo or bread but lemme tell you....GET OVER IT!!! Second, it takes work so be ready to dig and get serious...I've said it before and I will say it again...its not for the faint of heart and this is definitely a situation where you get from it what you put into it...soo WORK HARD AND SUCK IT UP!! Third, it takes time...you may save $10-40 or better the first few weeks but it will be a few weeks before you really start to see the difference its making in both your stockpile and your overall budget. At least that's what it took me, maybe you will fare better than I did. Now it has been almost six months and I am UBER pleased to say that our grocery budget is now a third of what it once was!!! Not to mention that our stockpile is HUGE!!! It is not uncommon for me to spend $3-$5 on a grocery trip and although I tend to have piles (small ones) of coupon inserts in the living room, desk, or van (sorry Daddum I am working on getting & KEEPING them all together) and I lug a huge 3 inch coupon binder with me EVERYWHERE (you never know when you will catch a great clearance, hidden sale deal..in for a penny in for a pound right?). It works, coupons work! And a hidden plus since we (and I say we because it takes a effort on ALL our parts, and no one but me likes to be in the grocery store for 2 hours...thanks FAMS FOR PUTTIN UP WITH ME!!) starting couponing we have been able to do 2 things which I love..First, we eat probably 50 times better than we ever had, we eat about 50% or more organic, all natural and yay because really who likes preservatives. Second, we try so many new and "expensive" products that cooking and meal planning I think (and if you ask Daddum his opinion may differ) has become sooo much easier because we are rarely bored with what's in our pantry.
So in closing and I blog this paragraph with total seriousness: couponing has changed my life. It has changed the way I shop, the way I look at the money and most importantly how much I value my role as a stay at home parent/wife. I felt like it was my duty to make Daddum's hard earned funds stretch as far as they could, and through these means I have been able to do that, and I am getting better at it everyday. My job is in this home and I feel that this is where my calling is to be forever. Through this whole process I have learned alot about myself, my household, and my family..I hope I can take this new found knowledge and run with it...I feel like the success in my role of "home manager" depends on it. So wish me luck...extreme couponing calls my name and I need to check my blogs before I hit the hay. It's a healthy addiction I swear and its my new way of life now....YAY TO COUPONS...YAY TO SAVING MONEY!!!
"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. "
— C.S. Lewis