In the beginning of 2011, I got in on the coupon craze that's spreading the nation. I followed coupon blogs, clipped coupons out of my multiple Sunday papers, and had a full on organized binder that was always with me.
In that 4 month period, I saved A TON of money. I had a good system, and I even sometimes would get stuff free or, make money on it. To be honest, couponing was awesome.
However, to get great rewards from coupons, you have to give quite a time commitment. The time it takes to make multiple shopping trips each week, clip the coupons, organize them, follow the blogs, print coupons, etc. was equivalent to a part time job. At least.
Then in April when my mom received her diagnosis of CNS Lymphoma, and had brain surgery days later, the world turned upside down for a while. And with it, my couponing.
I tried to catch up on it, but right after that, my daughter started her Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy sessions twice a week. And my son started preschool at a fabulous co-op preschool. Both of those events required a lot of my time. So coupons stayed on the back burner.
Almost a year later, and several attempts to rekindle my couponing fire, I think this is something that I'm just going to have to give up on.
BUT, being frugal and thrifty where I can without coupons is not something I'm ready to give up on. I have started paying more attention to the grocery store ads, shopping at thrift stores for great finds, and being selective about what things to buy "name-brand" and what can be substituted for something cheaper. (Note: DO NOT buy dishwasher detergent from the 99cent store!!)
Do any of you live on the cheap without coupons? What are your favorite techniques, stores, secrets?