For the past several months, I have felt guilty; like I have been living in some secret sin that I should be ashamed of and hide from you.
Those of you that have read this blog for any length of time (thank you!) know that for the past seven years or so, I was known as/ran the blog Deal Detecting Diva. Back in April, we decided to split that website into two: my husband’s coupon blog, Penny Pinchin Paul and this crochet/food/frugal living blog you’re reading now, Heart Hook Home.
Now that things have calmed down and the dust has settled, I feel more comfortable exposing my dark, dirty secret: I have all but stopped using coupons.
There, I said it.
The Day I Used My Last Extreme Coupons
Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I got excited about coupons. Over the last two years or so, the landscape of extreme coupon shopping has changed. It has become so difficult to save; whether that is because coupon values are dropping, stores are becoming more strict (for any number of reasons), coupon policies are changing (again, for any number of reasons), some regions (including mine) have started to receive less and less coupons in the newspaper each week and those coupons that we are getting are, well… quite frankly pretty depressing.
My time is more valuable than a 25¢ coupon
Don’t get me wrong! You CAN still coupon, and you can still extreme coupon to save your family money. The simple fact is: it is getting harder and harder to do so. It is taking longer to prepare, you’re needing to go to more stores to see the same savings (using up even more time and gas) and the items that we are able to score (again, not always) are things that I am trying not to use any longer – much less spend my valuable time clipping, driving and shopping for.
Everything is turning so…. digital. I am using a bunch more digital coupons, redeeming more rebates on my rebate apps (here are 27 of my favorite), I am utilizing more of Amazon Prime Pantry promotions, and I am making a lot more of our products at home. I am using homemade detergent and homemade dishwasher tabs, homemade condiments and I’m currently trying to perfect my homemade shampoo recipe. (I’ll let you know when that is ready!)
Have I completely stopped using coupons? No and I probably never will. Will I pay full price? I try my damnedest not to. I’m still super frugal! And I FEEL better.
Truth be told, I was never a super duper extreme couponer anyway. I never had 100 bottles of anything (although I did get close that one year with all that free BBQ sauce – lol!), but I did make it a game to see how little I could spend every time I went shopping. In that sense, I was very much an extreme couponer.
And I was good at it.
Will I ever stop couponing entirely? No. I’ll use a printable coupon if I have it and if I’m going to that store anyway. If I see an amazing in-store deal Paul has posted on his blog, I’ll stop by CVS on my way to work etc. Does he have an awesome online deal posted? I’ll pounce on that too. If I need a specific item, I know that I can look that up on his blog and find the lowest price this week.
The thing is; my definition of couponing has changed over the past few months. Now couponing isn’t just about clipping coupons and buying as many of one item as I can. And being frugal isn’t about whether you use coupons in the grocery store or not. It is more about being resourceful and creative. About using and reusing what you can and what you have. It is about finding ways to save on or get more value out of the items I would be purchasing anyway.
I am getting back to my roots. I am turning into a minimalist.
Frugal living and money saving tips:
Top 7 Most Frugal Things I Do
Are You Cheap or Are You Frugal?
Don’t Buy Me Flowers: Gifting Ideas for Frugal Mothers
27 Must Have Money Saving Smartphone Apps
Ways to Free Up Money Immediately (When You’re Feeling Broke)