Almost 2 years ago I attended a class on "Successful Couponing" by a lady named Kim. It was an introduction to how to successfully use coupons at all of the local stores, use discount cards and more to save a family money in their budget. I will admit attending the class and going over the Coupon Manual was a bit overwhelming and shocking. I was amazed at how much money I could be saving our family by using a few simple steps. So I went home and did nothing. Yep. Nothing.
Then a week or so later I met with my friend Tera and she sat down and helped me sign up for the online coupons, online discounts to be attached to my Kroger card, and we looked through the book together. Having that one-on-one training helped light a fire for me to try it after hearing how these "tricks" really did work. So over the next 4 months I tried to use coupons at Kroger and CVS. I figured if I could master those two stores, then maybe I would see a difference to our budget. And guess what...I DID! We went from spending EASILY over $150 a week for our family of 4 to $100 a week. In just 16 weeks I had saved $800 on our spending PLUS I started a huge stockpile from the deals we were scoring. Last Spring 2009 I made a change to our budget again...we went from $100 a week for a family of 4 to $75 a week. I thought that this would cause issues as the $75 a week budget was for all groceries, toiletries, paper products and my thing for Bath and Body Works. But guess what...we didn't even feel the change!
Over those next few months I continued to read blogs for the deals and participate with the online local coupon group from SavingsGrace lead by Kim. I enjoyed hearing what I could be doing and deciding if I had the time. And a quick note about time...Couponing only takes as much time as you want to put in to it. For me it's about 2 hours a week on my own...sometimes more and sometimes less depending on what I have going. But if I can save my family over $100 a week (sometimes over $200 a week)....then that is time well spent.
Then last fall the mustard seed was planted. If this had made an impact on my family (and I know other families) how could we reach out and try to teach more people? And if people were saving money on their budgets...would they be more likely to help stock food pantries because they could give more from the surplus of successfully using coupons and stockpiling? It was quite a concept. And it made TOTAL SENSE.
So the seed grew...and a class was taught again...for 4 weeks in a row by Kim. And the numbers were 40+ at each class. It was decided we needed to have a monthly meeting to help people understand how to coupon and also to help with momentum...because remember...it took me 4 months of couponing for the light bulb to go off. It took 16 weeks for me of trial and error and then to finally get it. So the class started and we had our hurdles, roadblocks and more. But we persisted. And now...we are helping stock NewPath food panty on a weekly basis...and we are teaching on a weekly basis how to coupon to anyone that wants to learn...and we have 4 co-leaders helping this ministry grow (Kim, Kim, Chris and me! And YES, couponing is for Men too...cause who doesn't like to have extra cash in their pocket?).
This has been an amazing journey. My family saved over $10,000 last year. We also paid off both of our cars EARLY. And we donate our surplus to NewPath food pantry. And this Ministry is GROWING...
* We meet weekly (every Wednesdays at 7pm room 202 at Ginghamsburg...childcare provided FREE...open to EVERYONE, you do not need to be a member of church to attend). We will help work with you to save you and your family money. We can teach you how to play the Grocery and Drugstore game, how to roll the ExtraCare Bucks and MORE. We want you to stock your food pantry first...then as you get better at it you will see how easy it is to help stock NewPath for FREE.
* We have a Facebook page...check out ClipShopShare. We post deals and success stories. Read up on how we stocked New Path with over $900 of groceries for $93 ($65 was tax).
* We have a blog...will be released soon...look for it to happen on our Facebook page.
So now...what is it that I need? I NEED...
If you do not use your coupon inserts from the Sunday paper...I need them. You can even cut out the coupons you will use...and then give me the rest of the coupon booklets. We use these booklets to help stockpile the NewPath and Paws for Hope food pantries. Just last week we were able to get over 20 bags of cat food and 100 cans of dog food for FREE and we were able to donate countless boxes of Mac-Cheese, Benadryl itch sticks, deodorant, and more all for FREE because of these donated coupon booklet insert.
- I will take any coupon booklets from any city or state. Just pile them up, ask neighbors for theirs and drop them off to me or drop them in the mail. You can put them in a baggie and drop off at my office or home. And we LOVE to send thank you, so drop in a note as to who the delivery is from.
- Please do not cut the coupons out of the booklets as it is easier for us to look up the coupon by insert rather than by category.
Please attend our training sessions if you would like to learn how to save your family money. And I need you to know it takes time, work, and commitment but it is possible and it will help you alleviate financial burdens that you may have. (every Wednesdays at 7pm room 202 at Ginghamsburg...childcare provided FREE...open to EVERYONE, you do not need to be a member of church to attend)
Thank you for reading this all the way through. I hope you can feel my passion for couponing. Kim, the founder of this group, always says you wouldn't walk by a dollar on the street and not pick it up...so why would you not use coupons to save you money. And she is right. Even if you don't want to use them on everything...I think we all use deodorant, toilet paper, toothpaste...the staples. Why pay retail?