A place for Maine's Frugalistas to Share Information on Matching Coupons with Upcoming Sales to Maximize Savings to Your Budget. Welcome, Friends ♥

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Moderation in all Things

I have been thinking about the changes I have made to my life this year; some of them are more personal than others, of course. But, among them are the writing of this blog, the choice to save money using coupons, and the decision to be proactive and creative about helping my husband to provide for our family's needs without me working full time. As I sit here this morning, waiting for the sun to come up to signal its time for me to trek out into the cold to care for my livestock, I have been comparing how much has changed from when I first began couponing for my family in March (of this year) and now. I actually laughed aloud and shook my head at myself, remembering the drive to get to the stores first on Sunday morning, just when they opened their doors, for fear that the stock on the shelves would be gone were I to wait. Sitting up with my husband late into the night; clipping coupons, comparing multiple couponing sites for deals, cross referencing sales, and cursing the corporate gods who dropped regional coupons that I didn't get! Oh, the sales others were having! The slightly lower prices at Targets, Walmarts, Harris Teeters, and Piggly Wigglys in the South, or the Midwest or wherever they were, tortured me. And, those people had stores that doubled coupons, matched sale prices, and had Customer loyalty card which could be loaded with online coupons at the click of a button. I considered moving. There was clearly nothing else to do.  "Why????" I cried out! Okay, I am possibly exaggerating my response just a little, but perhaps you have been there: watching those perfectly coiffed wives and mothers (men, of course, too), marching into their stores with binder in hand and walk out with 4-8 shopping carts worth of food for less than $20. I wanted to be one of them, didn't I?

Here's the thing: I am thankful that I came across Extreme Couponing on TLC. Without that, I would be shopping the old way, spending way too much and getting way to little. But, in my zeal to stop paying with my money, I started to pay with my time. Then, I had a bad fall and injured my ankle...totalled my car in a dispute with a highway guard rail (It had the stronger argument.)... and needed to take some time to heal mentally and physically. I felt horribly guilty the two months I stopped writing and chasing sales. I was convinced that I was letting down the few readers I had and that my family was quite possibly going to starve if I didn't run to the store and purchase 20 jars of Ragu at 7 am. Reality check needed! I reevaluated my goals and the guilt stopped.

Fast forward to today. Literally, it is Wednesday morning, I have not shopped any store sale yet. I have spent about 2 hours last week planning and deciding which sale items I wanted to purchase and collecting the necessary coupons. I do have my list printed. But, since I now order my stock ahead when I anticipate needing more than I am sure the store will have in stock, I no longer scramble. I know the truck will come in Thursday for Rite Aid, Shaws and Walgreens and any items I ordered will be on it and waiting for me. This week, I did not need to preorder any stock, since I am only planning on buying a couple of each item. If the items are gone when it is convenient in my schedule to shop, then I will get a rain check. No more racing other shoppers. No longer at the mercy of someone else's schedule to shop or scrambling on Saturday mornings to collect as many coupon inserts as I can get my hands on. I have reached my Balance Point.

I do have a small 3 tiered shelving unit in the basement which holds toiletry stock and some dry food stock, but I do not intend to line my basement walls with shelving units, buy under bed totes to store excess inventory, or have enough stock to open my own grocery store. I am not going to have a maze of products stacked floor to ceiling in my office space, living room, children's bed rooms, or garage. That is fine for those who do. Their choice, their way of living. I have a good supply, what I consider a reasonable supply for me. Others may feel I should stock pile more. But, saving my family money at the expense of my living space, time, or sanity is not healthy or productive for me. And, I think I may get some raised eyebrows at this, but I am meaning no disrespect or offense to anyone who chooses to stock more than I choose to. I am simply saying that for me, couponing has been a way to lower my family's expenses. I do not need to stock 20 tubes of toothpaste, even if I plan to give away some of them to others. I do not need to take advantage of every sale item that comes along. That balance is needed. Too much of anything can be detrimental.

That completes this mornings thoughts. I am sure more will follow...

Warm Regards,
Sonja ♥

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