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Building Your Stockpile with Free Stuff: The Couponing High!

Updated on August 1, 2012
Our Surplus
Our Surplus | Source

Ten boxes of Ronzoni pasta for free. I was hooked. I became a couponer.

When I first watched Extreme Couponing, I thought, “These people are hoarders”. And, yes, some are. But, regardless of their need to collect mustard, they were saving money. I was not.

I am a stay at home mom with five kids ages seven, seven, five, five and two. We were multiplying like rabbits! I knew our monthly grocery bill was not going to get lower. I decided to watch the show again, ignore the hoarding tendencies and figure out what these ‘couponers’ were up to.

I wanted to save more money.

Is The Couponing High Gone?

When you start something new, it is fun and exciting. Getting good deals was a natural high. My husband would be forced to play the “How Much Did I Pay For All This Game”. This guy is a trooper! I loved when the game first started because he was clueless and I always blew his number out of the water. The better I got, the lower his guesses were. Sometimes he was lower and I was bummed. It is ok, though. I still knew I did a great job.

So is the couponing high gone? Yes and No. I still collect my extra weekly coupon inserts. I still print coupons. I still get my monthly All you subscription for even more great coupons! But,the need to get every great deal is gone.

When I first started, I didn’t have a stock pile. I wanted to accumulate a comfortable surplus. You need to get a bunch of deals week after week to do this.

Some say, “Start one deal at a time.” This is good advice. I, however, am not known for moderation or patience. Therefore, my stockpile was amassed in a few months.

I just returned from the store getting mostly produce and a handful of other items. Coupons saved me half my bill and four items were completely free.

I don't care how long you have couponed. Free does not get old.

You Have A Stockpile. Now What?

Once I felt like I had a stockpile, I was less motivated to 'hard core' coupon. I guess that is the point. I had invested some or little money up front on these great deal items. Now I was in control of my shopping. I didn’t have to pay top dollar for anything. I either had it, didn’t need it, or could wait. This feeling of freedom allowed me to just get staples and the deals. Most other things were in my surplus. My hard work had paid off. I had invested time and now I was reaping the benefits. I was saving both time and money. I now found that in addition to helping our family, I was now able to help others.

Couponing Helps When Tragedy Strikes

Tragedy struck a local family. I read about a family who had tragedy after tragedy. These include loss of job, eviction, pre-term labor, post labor complications and then pediatric cancer for their five year old.

I spoke to a family spokesperson thru the church that was coordinating the relief effort. The family itself was at St. Jude’s Hospital in Tennessee. My husband and I oversaw as we let the aunt and uncle, on behalf of the family, go ‘shopping’ in my surplus. They were timid and they were overwhelmed. They took one of most things, but only what they knew they could use. I said they could take more. Looking at the stockpile, they appeared to take nothing. When they left, they almost looked like they were going to cry. They said that generous people receive generosity in return more than they can imagine. I smiled and I said, “I am content with the status quo.” He said, “Then I pray that your family can just stay the same.”

I have stayed in touch with the family. The baby is doing wonderful. The bills are almost caught up. The little girl who was sick is improving. It was an honor to allow them to benefit from my new hobby, couponing.

Even My Kids Coupon

Even my kids coupon!
Even my kids coupon! | Source

Still Couponing?

My husband commented the other day that I was less ‘into’ my couponing. I agreed. I had mastered the game, but I am not stopping! People comment to me all the time that they don’t have the time to coupon. I laugh and say that I don’t have the money not to.

Couponing is a simple process once you learn the rules. It took me a few months to amass a stock pile and really see the cost savings. It has given me the flexibility to choose how I spend my money because less is going to the grocery bill. It has allowed me to be more generous with food pantries and local families.

Why would I stop?

© 2012 Karen Lackey

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    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Natasha. I was very surprised at just how easy couponing and can be how much money you can save. It can be a game that isn't that expensive to play!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Now that's a success story! I really do need to start couponing!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, bridalletter! I have enjoyed how much flexibility couponing has given us with our money and the ability to donate. The effort it takes to be organized before the shopping trip is well worth it! Thanks for commenting, bridalletter!

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      thank you for your personal experience and displaying such a nice organized storage of your stored foods. Great inspiration!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Jill. When we really get 'good' at couponing, you end up with SO MUCH free stuff! You know exactly what I mean. It was important to me to contact the family first and talk to them about needs, etc. The family that I contacted had tons of help right when the story hit and then the attention died down. That happens to be when I read about the story. They were very appreciative because I think they thought people didn't care anymore. We still keep in touch. Thanks, Jill, for taking the time to read and comment.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks again for the read and vote up, ananceleste!

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 5 years ago from California

      Great Hub! I am starting to understand how the game works. I am still new at this. Voted up!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      We are basically twins! :) I was curious if there were more restrictions on couponing outside of the US. I am excited for the program to start. Eager to learn more from you! Thanks for reading!

    • KarenCreftor profile image

      Karen Creftor 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Hello fellow Karen :D I see we have more than our first name's in common...I am recently hooked on the program 'Extreme Couponers' and am experimenting with it myself, though it's a lot more restricted here in the UK; I also have a hubnugget and we're in the same Apprenticeship Team :D

      Great hub thank you! *voted up*

      ~Kaz x

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, AnnaCia. Best of luck if you choose to start using coupons.

    • AnnaCia profile image

      AnnaCia 5 years ago

      Hi, This is a very nice hub. Tons of information that I should put in practice. Thanks you.

    • AnnaCia profile image

      AnnaCia 5 years ago

      Hi, This is a very nice hub. Tons of information that I should put in practice. Thanks you.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Nicole, for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it!

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 5 years ago from Minnesota

      I love reading about couponing like this. You're a great inspiration!! :)

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      thanks, tammy...I know you are a couponer, too! Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      tammy evans 5 years ago

      Karen I love reading your blogs! This one is so true for me also. Being a single mom of to teenage boys without coupons I would never be able to help others!