Monday, February 27, 2012

Nonextreme Couponing

After seeking God first, then seeking counsel from some amazing godly friends, this is what I've learned in my couponing journey thus far:

1.  Everything I do is for God's glory (Colossians 3:23, 1 Corinthians 10:31); that includes my work, parenting, being a wife, exercise, household chores, serving others, etc.--this includes couponing.

2.  Couponing should not consume my life, only God should (Ex. 20:3-4).

3.  I am not couponing to rip off stores or steal all the good deals from others.  I am doing it to help provide for my family and to be a good steward of the money God blesses us with (Luke 16:10).

4.  When I pray before making my grocery list and completing the shopping process, God is faithful.  He always provides the savings we need & He always shows me my mistakes so I can improve the next time.

5.  There needs to be a balance between saving money and eating healthy.  I am not going to buy all the "dirt cheap" grocery items just because they're a good deal if I don't think it's in the interest of my family's health.

During my first 2 weeks of couponing, I saved $70 and saved $85 the second 2 weeks (we shop every other week unless we see good deals between those times).  God is faithful in teaching me through His Word, great friends, and helpful websites and I am still learning how to maximize our money when it comes to groceries. :)  Thank you to everyone who is helping me learn how to glorify God in everything I do & I appreciate everyone's feedback as I learn this process.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Extreme Couponing

  For the past few years, I have seen people post pictures on Facebook, displaying the awesome deals that they earn from couponing.  Since I will be staying at home full time after this school year, the skill of couponing has intrigued me.  I want to be good at it.  I want to help my family save as much money as possible.  So, I decided to start a quest to be a successful couponer!  My first step was to seek counsel, so I emailed a couple of friends who are really good at it.  While waiting on their responses, I decided to take the initiative by reading blogs and watching tutorials on YouTube.  I saw videos of people who actually got paid for buying products.  One girl spent about $.27 on $98 worth of stuff.  I want to know how to do that.
     I understand that some women do it to honor and serve God financially through saving money for their families, which is why I want to do it, too.  I want to be faithful in my role as a stay-at-home mom.  I am not staying at home to sit around and enjoy the ride.  I have a job to do.  Along with raising Nora-Kate, I believe my job is to organize my home, make it functional, and save us as much money as possible.
     Anyway, last week, I decided to read blogs, watch tutorials, and do whatever I could to learn the art of couponing every night from 8-10.  I sacrificed my workouts and school work to learn how to coupon.  We had to make a shopping trip that week, so I took the advice I read on the blogs and used the weekly ads to plan our meals and grocery list.  Then, I proceeded to get my coupons together.  Once that was finished, I added up the cost so I would have a good idea as to how much to expect to spend once I got there.  I pulled all my coupons and packed up my weekly ads with my coupons.  Friday night I went shopping.  It was my first attempt at couponing.  I only saved us $70.  I spent the same amount that we normally spend; I was disappointed.  I was expecting this really awesome amount of savings, like I only spent $50 for $150 worth of groceries.  I guess I need more practice.
     After a week of studying the process of couponing, I have some questions I'm wrestling with.  I understand the concept of honoring God with my money, but what about my time and health?  It seems that the couponing process takes a lot of time.  Of course, it may not actually take that much time once I get practiced at it.  It also seems that the products I get the best deals on are not very healthy items, such as breakfast foods filled with sugar and potato chips.  I don't want my family to eat sugar for breakfast and snack on chips all the time.  I like our healthy meals.  I'm wondering if there is a balance in the whole thing.  The fact that it's called "extreme couponing" makes me a little skeptical.  The only thing I want to be extreme in is my relationship and love for Christ and others.  With everything else, there needs to be a balance so that it doesn't become an idol.  I did see some healthy foods on sale, though, such as cereal bars, healthy cereal, whole grain pasta, etc.  So maybe I just have a lot to learn.  Maybe once I get some practice and get used to the process, I will become quicker and quicker and save us more and more money. 
     If you have any comments or thoughts about the whole couponing thing in light of honoring God with your time and health, I would love to hear them.  Maybe it will help shed some light for me and give me a new perspective.  I'm looking forward to what I have to learn!