Coupons! Pre-recession I delved into the wide world of coupons. I'm not exactly sure how this came to be, but it happened about a year ago. Ever since then I've been slightly obsessed. I'm not normally a penny-pincher but there's something fun about my semi-new hobby. I've always been a sale shopper when it comes to groceries. This started back in college when I had an apartment off campus w. a roomie and my parents would give me my monthly stipend. This stipend paid for my rent (I have very giving parents), utilities, gas and groceries/food. I've always been good at managing my money, as my parents instilled that in me and my sister from an early age starting w. an allowance. However, being a girl that shares a love for food AND clothes, I quickly realized that I'd rather save money and buy groceries that were on sale and have extra money to spend on new shoes, purses, clothes, belts, accessories, home decor; the list could go on and on. So I started planning meals and eating whatever was on sale. I wasn't frugal to the point of eating ramen noodles and cereal for dinner; I'd still eat a steak and plenty of meats and good stuff, just only when it was on sale!
Anyways, the coupon hobby has become a regular slight obsession that I devote time to anywhere from one day a week to a couple of days a week depending on my social life! I read the paper online so I don't get the Sunday coupons, so one day I randomly googled grocery coupons and voila...lots and lots of coupons available online to print (all you need is to download the magic coupon printer)! Now not all of them are for things I buy, eat or use but I do end up finding a decent amount that are worthwhile and a good savings. In addition to food coupons, I keep a separate email address strictly for store and company emails, sales and coupons. I end up getting lots of great steals at many of my favorite stores and restaurants from New York and Company, Ann Taylor, Gap, Express to Borders, Gymboree (for my spoiled little niece!), Pottery Barn, Papyrus, Red Lobster, Melting Pot, Let's Dish -- the list goes on and on.
So in addition to buying bulk (compliments of my BJ's membership), my VIP/VIC cards at the grocery store and then my coupons I end up saving on average between $20 and $35 a WEEK on groceries!! And that adds up to a brand new shirt, skirt, belt or whatever I'm in the mood to buy!
It's fun to share coupons w. friends and family and to see just how much you can really save from one little slip of paper! I have a group of "coupon" friends that I love to share coupons with. We'll email them back and forth for great restaurants, shoes, whatever the savings may be.
A few of my favorite coupon websites to get coupons from is http://www.coupons.com, http://www.coupons.smartsource.com and http://mysavings.com.
So don't diss it before you try it, coupons really aren't just for the stereotypical "old maid", you may just get hooked and find yourself with quite a few new outfits in your closet thanks to those coupons!