Saving money is on the forefront of most any family’s mind these days. Times are tough and they have been for a while.
Couponing has become a fun pastime for our family. It started off earlier in the year when the LA Times was running a special promotion… 52 weeks of the Sunday paper for only $8 for new subscribers. Having just moved to a new house, we thought we might as well go ahead and start up a paper subscription to greet us in the driveway every Sunday morning. Packed full of coupon inserts just waiting to be clipped and filed into our coupon organizer, it’s always a welcome visitor.
Sunday morning Son #1 (who we’ll call Big D) wrangles the paper from the driveway, usually barefoot and usually finding at least one sharp pebble to step on along the way. Meanwhile, Son #2 (affectionately referred to here on out as Little D) waits for his brother to bring the paper inside, all the while dodging a hyper 22 pound rescued shelter dog craving attention. Little D’s job is simple – flip through the paper and pull out the coupon inserts. Some weekends there are two inserts, other weekends, up to six! From this point on until we go grocery shopping, their job is done.
Next, I take the reins and begin sorting through the coupons, clipping all of them. For the ones we know we won’t use, they go into a separate pile and are mailed off to military families. More on that later.
After matching up the coupons (both new and prior saved coupons) with the current week’s store ads from Albertson’s, Vons, Ralphs and Stater Bros., filing the coupons by category in a coupon holder and making a list – we head out that evening and do our shopping for the week. Little D. sticks close to the cart and helps me find items on store shelves. Meanwhile, Big D heads to a different aisle or two with a small stack of coupons that are for items on our list. This cuts shopping time down and especially helpful because Little D has a short attention span and patience level.
When it’s time to check out, we head to the cash register and hand over our coupons for the week. On average we save about 65% off our grocery bill and are able to use the savings towards fun family activities like trapeze walking, weekend mini vacations in the mountains and movie night out.
Of course our favorite benefit from couponing has been the expansion of our family – adopting two pets from horrible shelter situations just before they were to be killed.
After our groceries are bagged up and we head out to the car, Little D is put in charge of the receipt and reads off our savings for the week, from the bottom of the bill. Big D on the other hand is put in charge of loading up the groceries into the back of the car.
Sending unwanted or expired coupons to military families
Military families can use coupons that are up to six months expired as well as current coupons you may not need. Check out this site for a current list of military bases to adopt!
Shannon Duffy is the Palm Springs Parenting Editor. Have a story or event you’d like covered? Or are you a company with a family related product you’d like reviewed or tested? She can be reached at ParentingEditor@yahoo.com