Monday, June 29, 2009

Why I Hound and Stockpile

Many of my friends who do not frequent this blog are curious as to why I hound, and why I take out so much of my precious time finding deals. I don't think they realize how simple it really is to do, and how many great friends I've made in the process.

When DH and I first moved in together (a year before we got married), we were in over our heads, literally. We didn't want to touch any of our savings $$ so we financed the condo 100%. Okay so in hindsight, bad move, however, since we didn't put the 20% down, we still have money in our savings. If we did put down that money, as of right now, we'd be out of the money b/c of the housing market. We did the 30 year fixed, so it's all good, no major interest rate increases! In the beginning, it was tough, going from living rent free, with NO bills to having a mortgage and so many 'house' bills. I cried myself to sleep every night wondering how we'd keep afloat. I did find out that this is quite normal, thank goodness!

It didn't dawn on me until after our wedding that we needed to cut back on spending. We were over $50k in debt between the two of us (credit cards, cars, student loans, etc.). It wasn't until about December of 2007 that I found the Women in Red Racers after reading an article in some magazine. I checked it out and it has been so useful! After being a 'racer' for a year and a half, we went from about 50k worth of debt to 20k worth of debt!

In that chatroom, I found the Grocery Challenge. These women are amazing. I was a little hestitant to join b/c when I looked on that thread, there was over 1000 pages! I figured I'd never catch up, but when I started to read the newest pages, they talked about that week's deals, different scenarios, bad and or good experiences, etc. We even talk about personal stuff b/c as I've found out the hard way, on the outside threads, those people can be nasty, but not the hounds!

Basically, we give each other ideas, etc and we swap coupons. It really is great! I go to the store every Sunday and buy 5 or more newspapers (depending on how good the coupons are!) and during the week, I clip away. I keep what I need and send out what I don't want.

I joined the hounds back in October and that's when I started really watching where my $$ goes with the grocery money. I have a set budget for each week for my groceries, and I haven't used it all in months! I also have a system of tracking how much the items are after savings and coupons, and after a few trips, I take the savings that I saved and I put them into an ING account. After a year (this October) I will tally it all up and that will in turn become our 'vacation' fund. As of right now, I have over 2k. My goal is to have 3k in there before October. We'll be taking our vacation in January, not sure where yet, but hopefully that will cover the vacation!

It's really fun going to the stores with my coupon binder and people always stop me to look at it. I used to do the accordian file thing, but once I become a 'hound' I had too many coupons! The binder is great for those that are visual type people and it's also great for those that are organized. I love when the older women stop me in the store and chat with me for awhile. I know most of them probably don't have many people to talk to, so I let them chat away with me. They think it's so great that such a young lady like myself takes the time out of my life to do it. I call my coupon binder my 'boyfriend'. My brother in law teases my DH that since he gets home so late (after 8pm) and I'm home early each day (4:30pm) that I have a guy come over to keep me company. Yea right! His name is coupon binder! DH will text me how I'm doing at night, and I'll text back that I'm having a grand old time with Q on the living room floor (where I cut my Q's). Tooo funny.

My parents joke with me that I'm like my grandfather, he was a tight rear end they say. He would give my grandmother a shopping list and coupons and money to the penny and she would grocery shop while he waited in the car. She was never allowed to go off the list or she'd be in trouble. He was like that in other aspects of life, and my parents see that in me.

I made a vow to DH that we would never go hungry. I would also have a stock of food and snacks on hand at any given moment. And so far, it's working out. AND, I'm saving money in the process, which is great!

In this economy, people need to take some time out of their hectic lives and focus on ways to improve their money situation. It doesn't take a lot of time to do this, it really doesn't. We all help each other out, and their are some great websites that I use to help out (hotcouponworld, couponmom, thegrocerygame) etc. that are great tools!

I'm hoping to get my personal grocery shopping business together, but I love doing this!

I'll be updating my blog more about my grocery outings and such since so many people have asked about it. I'll also be posting pics and what not about Mr. Q (Coupon binder).


Chicagolandia said...

Isn't it crazy how many people stop and ask/chat about couponing when you're shopping? It's one of my favorite aspects of couponing - it makes you more approachable in the stores.

spaghetti0625 said...

DH hates it! He knows when I start chatting about it, to walk away LOL. I love it though, b/c I'm hoping it helps them realize it. I saw an elderly woman with an accordian one...I told her I used to use that, and now I use Mr. Q. She loved it...and thought that I was such a great person that instead of spending my time doing drugs or boozing, I choose to do couponing with my time :)

Anonymous said...

My DH is the same way. He;s like honestly cant you just say hey and walk on.
Oh spaghetti- I owe you an email about the coupon class but I just havent had time to sit down and write this week.

Shelly said...

Great post! I think it's fun to meet other people who coupon. When DBF spots someone with a coupon organizer he'll say, "Honey, there's one of your people."! Too funny!

Precious said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us. You figured it out while you were young, so you are that much further ahead. I applaud you!

kim said...

DH used to think I was crazy but now he goes through all the circulars and tells me what he thinks are deals. Between all the blogs and message boards out there its pretty easy to "coupon shop". I love the comments and stares as people watch my $100+ grocery bill total out to less then $40!

Suz said...

I post CVS, Walgreens, & Rite Aid weekly as well as a few local grocery stores... feel free to stop by sometime.

Good work on your coupon adventures... looks like you've got the hang of it! :)