To Coupon or not to Coupon? Duh!

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Are you like most of us, feeling the pain in your budget whenever you check out at the grocery? Well, friend, you’re not alone … According to the USDA, as of June, 2011, a family of four living in the U.S. will spend, on average, per year, the following:

On a Thrifty Plan — $7,340.40.

On a Low Cost Plan —$9,553.20.

On a Moderate Cost Plan — $11,944.80.

On a Liberal Plan — $14,497.20.

Whew! Be still, my heart. That’s a lot of money. Bear in mind, this is for food only, prepared at home. No eating out. And, these amounts don’t include cleaning products or toiletries.

When I give a Coupon Class, I poll my students about their monthly spending on food, toiletries and cleaning products. In the early part of this year, their average spending was between $4,800 and $7,800 before they took my class. Now, their average spending is approximately 40 to 60 percent less than that.

Before I began to coupon in the Spring of 2008, our family did not have a monthly budget. We got what we needed and wanted and spent whatever … Two years ago, my New Year’s resolution was to spend no more than $50 a week at the grocery, the big box store and the drug store combined. Because I have been able to build quite an extensive inventory combining sales and coupons, we mostly shop our own ‘store.’ My household consists of my husband, me and our cat.  By Labor Day and so far this year, we had spent a whopping $912. That’s $788. below my resolution’s expectations.

I get a lot of reasons from people why they don’t use coupons:

“There aren’t coupons out there for things that my family and I use.” Really, you don’t take showers, shave, brush your teeth, do laundry, clean your house, eat?
“It’s only me.” See reply above.

“I don’t have time.” I love that one. I counter that with “If you could set aside an extra hour or so a week to make an extra $50 to $200 a week, would you?” Their answer is always, “Of course!”

Well, y’all, that’s what coupons do. That’s what they are. Cold, hard cash. If I gave you $20, you wouldn’t throw it away, would you? I didn’t think so. Manufacturers are giving you free money. All you have to do is start taking advantage of their generosity … Just sayin’ …

If you use $20 worth of coupons a week, that’s $1,040 a year that you’ve kept in your pocket. $40 worth a week will save you $2,080 a year. That’s not chump change. It’s crazy not to use coupons …

To Coupon or Not to Coupon — duh.