Maybe it’s time to address the elephant in the room.. yes, it’s true, I coupon too. I knew I would have to mention the fact eventually, but figured that since most of you follow me on Instagram, it didn’t need to be said? I figured wrong!
I’d like to think that I’ve always been a smart shopper. I remember hitting up Black Friday sales with my mom growing up, cutting coupons for fast food restaurants with my girlfriends in high school (that’s normal right?), and planning my meals around store sales in college. It wasn’t until my youngest son was born that I thought I’d try my hand at “extreme” couponing as a way to help keep our family’s expenses down. Like most people, I was a fan of the tv show “Extreme Couponers” and the savings motivated me.. if they could do it, I sure as heck could too.
In February of 2015 I created my Instagram account to document my journey and to build some clout within the coupon community. I kept an eye on a few accounts with large followings, read their breakdowns, and Googled anything I didn’t understand. I credit my humble beginnings to the following three people;
- Tiffany, @tiffany_emmalous (formerly @MyLitter) – Tiffany used to hold couponing “classes” on Instagram. They were super helpful, went into greater detail on her blog, and laid a solid foundation for me. The most valuable thing I took from Tiffany was what NOT to do; buy inserts every week, chase every deal, and coupon at every store.
- Mae, @MaeBeReal (formerly @MaeBeCouponing) – Mae put the cool in couponing for me. While everyone was chasing detergent, Mae clipped to her own beat, and was one of the first IGers that I saw share retail deals. Clothing, travel, toys, restaurants.. you name it.. Mae was all about living the good life at a fraction of the cost. The most valuable thing I took from Mae was that confidence was key; know your coupon policies, use your gift of gab, and don’t be afraid to ask!
- Dee, my middle school girlfriend – Dee was the only person I knew outside of Instagram that couponed. One day I mentioned that I was thinking about starting, and the next morning I had a package of inserts at my doorstep from her! She’s always a text message away when I have a question or need help with a breakdown. Now that I kinda know what’s going on, she’s my partner in crime!
These women and the lessons they’ve taught me have brought me through my many stages of couponing. From getting inserts every week, to printing EVERY coupon on coupons.com (yes, I did that once), to selling stockpile, glitch seeking, clearance hunting.. I did it all. Nowadays I only keep a small(ish) stash for my immediate family.
Cool! Do You Teach Couponing?
When you start couponing and word gets out to your family and friends.. EVERYONE asks you to teach them. Once they see your stockpile, it’s game over, they want in on the action too. Couponing is great and I encourage everyone to try, but after awhile you learn the following;
- Couponing takes self motivation – Probably the number one reason people don’t get the ball rolling is that they see the acronyms, laws, and work ethic needed to be successful.. and quit before they begin. It’s the same with any hobby right? No one is going to hand you over a deal or their stockpile. I will take the time to teach those that show me they want to learn, but more times than not people end up just buying from my stockpile.
- Everyone’s needs are different – Sure everyone uses toilet paper, detergent, and eats food, but if you enjoy specific brands or your family only eats certain things, it’s hard for me to replicate the deals that I do for you. I can only teach you the basics and it is up to you to apply them to items that your family can use.
- Learning takes time – There’s no magic wand that I wave and TA DA! You’re a pro couponer! I don’t consider myself a pro, I learn new things all the time, and I’ve been doing this several years. My first attempt at couponing, I paid $12 for four shampoos, and nowadays I aim for 25 cents each. You’ll get there too.. eventually!
So yes, I do teach couponing to family and friends that are self motivated, realistic, and patient!
So This is a Coupon Blog?
Definitely not! My goal for writing this blog was to share how our family lives a frugal life by meal planning and researching low cost activities. I planned on sharing deals that anyone could easily do, but I did not want to write a coupon blog for a few reasons;
- It’s been done – One of my favorite coupon blogs is FreeStuffFinder.com and I visit it on a weekly basis. FSF, as well as other coupon blogs, have been around for awhile and have a team of deal seekers. There’s no way one person can be on top of every coupon deal at every store, so the man power it takes to build that type of blog was beyond what I was willing to take on.
- Couponing is fast paced – One of the reasons I’m such a fan of the Instagram coupon community is because we are able to share things instantly. A lot of deals die FAST, so by the time you log on to a coupon blog, you’ve missed a lot! With social media, you are able to turn notifications on on your phone and know when things happen as soon as they are happening!
- Follow me on Instagram – If you’re interested in the coupon craziness, follow my page by clicking here! I have the best followers, they’ve created a positive community and help each other by answering questions in the comments.
The money I have been able to save my family over the years has convinced me to be a couponer for life, but I am not just a couponer which is why I decided that growth beyond @coupon_dreams was necessary. You don’t have to coupon in order to find good deals for your family! Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore, it just has to be intentional, and anyone that sets their mind to it can do it!