Couponing is the new sexy

My Chemical Romance is, you guessed it, a chemist. It’s not nearly as cool as it sounds. Or as lucrative. Especially with five kids and a dog to support. I used to work as a birth doula, but I’ve stopped indefinitely. At least for a few years, maybe longer. I will attend any of my Jugs’ births, and a few other friends or former clients, but I’m done with attending hospital births. It’s not worth the money, being away from my kids — and just finding a babysitter for five kids seems daunting.

So we all live on My Chemical Romance’s salary. It’s not so little that we qualify for WIC or anything, but it’s not so much that we can splurge, like ever. (In fact, I’d say we’re closer to WIC than we are to splurging.) I find it really frustrating that I’m not contributing financially to our family, so recently I decided to start couponing in the hopes of saving us money.

Have you seen that show, Extreme Couponing, on TLC? I’m not like that. Stockpilers kind of scare me — plus, I try to avoid buying a lot of junk food for my family. I never buy soda, chips, or much prepackaged food (other than the occasional Kraft Mac-N-Cheese, for me of course). Unfortunately, most coupons are for those sorts of items. Things that don’t spoil, like ever. (And that’s the antithesis of one of Michael Pollan’s food rules: Don’t Eat Anything That Won’t Eventually Rot.) Also, I use a Diva Cup and mama cloth, so I don’t need any of the feminine items.

I am currently using disposable diapers for Porcelain, but I can only use Pampers because of her yeast rash. It starts in cloth diapers, gets worse in Huggies, and only Pampers — and some yeast cream — can clear it.

I basically coupon for the following items: plain Cheerios; paper items; soap/bodywash/moisturizer; and the occasional fresh food coupon. A few weeks ago, my favorite kind of bread (Arnold’s) was Buy One Get One at a local grocery. The next week, Duke’s Mayonnaise, which I love tremendously, was also BOGO. Sometimes milk is on sale, and sometimes there are cheese coupons.

Every Sunday, I go to a Starbucks and nicely ask any newspaper-readers if they aren’t using their coupon inserts, can I please have them? This usually nets me at least one or two. I put the inserts in a manila folder with the date at the top, in an accordion file by month. The sales ads run from Wednesday to Tuesday, so I check online Tuesday evening for the sales. I go to a website that matches ads to coupons, so that saves time. I make a weird list — “buy two Dannon Greek Yogurts, 5oz,” “Buy one 32oz light brown sugar package” — and try to get the best deals I can.

So far I’m doing pretty well, and it’s definitely satisfying to go out and save money on items we actually eat or use.

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One Response

  1. Happy Cinco de Mayo, Cinco de Mommy =)

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