couponing and shopping

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Couponing and shopping
There are a lot of articles on the internet about extreme couponing. I’ve seen everything from the bizarre, to the

use coupons

Using coupons is a great way to save money.

“Well… that makes sense.”

I get tired of the stories about that guy who is constantly trying to abuse the system. You know who I’m talking about. That guy who makes photo copies of coupons and tries to pass them off in the store as real. Or, that guy who empties the shelf just because he has enough coupons to do it next to free.
My next post will explain extreme couponing.

Here it is extreme couponing
Don’t get me wrong, I use coupons when I can, but I don’t recruit family members to help me cheat the system.  Case in hand, a coupon says one per family and that guy (He’s back.) recruits his wife, kids, and neighbors to go in to the store one at a time so he can make off like a bandit after an earthquake.
How I extreme coupon
Several grocery chains have stores in my area including County Market and Wal-Mart. Coupon acceptance policies are not exactly the same from company to company. (It would sure be nice if they were—less confusion.)
I know the couponing policies and what’s allowed at the stores I shop. All you have to do is jump on the internet; bring up a store’s website and you can learn everything you need to know about their policy on couponing.

Some time ago, I wrote an article on how I save money shopping, and how I’m able to stockpile groceries items. Take a minute to read it.  Save money on groceries .
I’ll wait for you!
The idea that stockpiling staples as a good practice should be the take away from that article: Buy (on sale) products you regularly use, and recoup funds to replace them as they’re used.
Time requirement
I’m a frugal guy. I’m frugal because I want the time and money to do what I want to do. I will not spend hours and hours to save a few pennies (It’s just not practical). I can clip all the coupons I’ll use, inventory my stockroom for shortages, and do all the internet preparation—looking on-line for more deals—in a couple of hours or less a week.
As I said in that previous article, I shop 2 stores only. There needs to be a real steal of a deal for me to go somewhere else. (And, that only happens once in awhile.)

coupon shopping

Use your shopping list

I buy only what’s on my shopping list
Since you know I stockpile, and that I’m frugal, it will probably be no surprise to you that I work off a shopping list.
I buy only what’s on my shopping list. When it’s on sale, I will buy as much as I can or as much as the store will allow). I make it a point to minimize waste, and because of how stores run their sales I never need to buy more than a 60 day supply of anything.
Of course, common sense comes into my decision about how much I buy of anything. For example, milk often spoils after about a week, unless you freeze it, and I don’t much care for the taste of milk that’s been frozen. So, I don’t buy more a week’s supply of milk. Canned tuna on the other hand will last much longer. I only use 1 can of tuna a week, so the most I stockpile is 8 cans for my 60-day cycle.
Waste
In case you’re wondering… I refuse to warehouse “stuff.” I stockpile products I use regularly, but I don’t buy anything in quantity just for the sake of having it. Take OTC pain relievers: We don’t use a lot of paining reliving medicine in my household, so we don’t have 100 or even 10 bottles of it on hand. Actually, we have 2. One is in the medicine cabinet and the other in my “stockroom.” I’ll purchase another—when it goes on sale or I have coupon—shortly after we open the second one.
Buying just to have is not a frugal practice. Unused, expired products are wasted money.
Extreme attitudes
“If I can’t get it at a discount—on sale or with a coupon—I won’t buy it.” There are people who take being frugal to this extreme. Except… It’s not being frugal. It’s being a miser. People who hold to this practice usually end up eating a lot of unhealthy food: diets that have too much sugar, salt, fat, and cholesterol and are low in vitamins and minerals. This type of diet is likely to cause obesity and illness. That’s not what I want in my life.
I adopted a frugal lifestyle to enhance my life. If I am generally frugal, I can afford to have and do things important and enjoyable to me. So, I coupon.
What I won’t do
I will not coupon (or even take for free) food or other items I will not use. That is waste, and waste is not frugal.
What I will do
Use my money wisely, so I can enjoy my life. I plan. I budget. I make menus. I make shopping lists. I coupon. These are guides to ensure I don’t become frivolous or miserly.
I will use coupons (or even take for free) food or other items I know I can give to someone who will use them. That is something I enjoy doing and, therefore, fits my frugal lifestyle. Yes for me couponing and shopping go hand in hand.


Conclusion
I use coupons when I shop. I know the stores policies with regard coupons. .
I stockpile non-perishable items.
I don’t waste time trying to save the last penny, or run all over town shopping a bunch of places. This costs time and money.
I control waste (by eliminating it). I don’t believe in waste, so I buy what I need for my weekly menu and for my stockpile list. I rarely stockpile more than a 60-day supply of anything, because of in-store sales schedules.
I enjoy helping people so I will use coupons to buy food for the needy.
Couponing is definitely a facet of the frugal lifestyle.

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Douglas Antrim

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