Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Couponing just doesn't work for our Family

why I don't clip couponsRecently my nephew was talking about the awesome couponing shopping trip he had with his mother. She got three carts full of stuff for practically nothing! So it got me to thinking back a while when I to thought I could master this couponing thing. So I looked into it again. I know a few coupon queens, my ex sister in law is amazing at what she does and I know a few other gals who totally rock the couponing world! So I was totally intrigued by what they all were doing. They would spend a few dollars or even get everything for free, and come home with bagfuls of food and toiletries. This totally appealed to my frugal side. I was hooked! With a family of our size couponing surly was the way to go to save us a buck as I was leaving the work force to stay home and raise our boys. When I started the transition from a working girl to a stay at home mom, I spent some time online checking out various homemaking blogsA common theme I found  was that many of the moms were coupon queens. So I began to look into the fine art of couponing more. I joined a few coupon download sites and had full intentions of learning how to work the system. So, why haven’t you seen me share my couponing secrets here at Living a Free Range Life? Well, it’s because I never even started. And let me tell you why...
Nutrition and Health: As I started reading couponing blogs, I was also reading natural food, farm, and homesteading blogs. For the first time ever I was pondering the ideas of raw milk, grass fed meat, and organic produce. It didn't take me long to realize that these two concepts didn't quite match up. I realized that even though it was pretty cool to come home from the store with bagfuls of free chips, hamburger helper, and soda. I didn't really want to be feeding those things to my family simply because they aren't actually food. Free or not, I was trying to shift our diets away from processed foods and fast foods. I've never seen coupons for natural fresh fruits and veggies which I find to be an abomination to humanity.  Even coupons for natural foods are often for organic convenience foods in my opinion, many of those items are "organic"  in name only. They are a far cry from being real food. Plus, they are expensive to start with. Many of the coupons only reduce the price slightly anyway. Many of these items are still healthier and cheaper to make at home. When it comes to non-food items, I use other alternatives. A few examples: I make homemade deodorant,  laundry detergent, and cleaning products. I even make my own wipes, paper towels, dryer sheets and use essential oils to add fragrance to  things. It saves us money and they are healthier for all and the environment.  They usually only cost me a few dollars to make anyways and I use non-toxic ingredients. I reduce the use of disposable products as much as possible: paper plates, paper towels, throw-away baking dishes, plastic cups. I'm in the process now of ridding our home of all those pesky plastic dishes, containers, and cooking utincils. 
Time and Distance: We don’t subscribe to any newspapers. In order to really be an effective couponer, you must have multiple coupons from multiple sources. There are many printable coupon sources online, but you must research, download, match, and print them.  Many stores in my area will not take printed coupons. All that clipping, printing, and organizing takes time and INK!  You also have to be willing to drive to various stores to redeem the various coupons. I only shop once or twice per month . I simply don’t have the time and extra gas to drive to extra stores for only a few items. My husband works shift work so our routine varies from week to week as well. And shopping with four kids is just totally out of the equation!  We live 33 miles from the nearest "big brand" grocery stores and I only shop once or twice per month. I find that once or twice monthly shopping saves a considerable amount on gas, and helps to reduce all the little extras that we end up grabbing. It would be difficult and costly for me to run to the store every time a coupon is about to expire. That’s not to say that when I occasionally find a coupon for something we actually use I won’t use it. However, those times are few and far between and I've never gotten any item for free.
For now, I keep our grocery costs low by growing and canning as much of our own food as possible and making nearly all of our food from scratch. I also shop and meal plan around the weekly circulars we get in the mail from the local stores.  I would rather spend my time with the family in the garden, rather than clipping coupons anyday.
I  recently was glued to the TV all day watching a season of TLC's Extreme Couponing on Netflix while sick with a tummy bug and OMGosh all of the time, work, planning, and craziness that goes into it has me SMH and saying No Thanks. I'm glad they use their extreme couponing talents to help those in need. Who really needs THAT much toothpaste and deodorant in the first place LOL
Couponing just doesn't work for our family. 
If you successfully coupon, that’s awesome! I admire your skills! I know it’s a great for some families, but it just doesn't fit with our homesteading lifestyle.

♥♪♫•.•°*°•.¸¸♥. PEACE and LOVE .•°*° ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ 


  1. I don't use a lot of coupons for exactly the same reason. I won't say I never feed junk, because I do. But I try to keep most of our foods as staples. I bake from scratch a lot also. I do find some usable coupons so I still look each month. But I can't make a huge shopping trip and pay next to nothing.

  2. I agree. I've tried couponing, but it just doesn't work well for us. I watched an episode of Extreme Couponing where the woman brought home like 200 bottles of mustard (and probably got it for free). I wouldn't go through 200 bottles of mustard in my lifetime, so to me even though it was free - it would still be a waste. And, she's preventing the "normal" couponer from bringing home their one bottle of mustard because she's bought the entire shelf.