During our Farmers Market Grocery challenge I have been asked a lot about how much money we spend and is it really affordable. Just like in regular supermarket shopping it varies week to week. Some we have spent almost $80 and others close to $50, it's really come down to how much meat and condiments we purchase. For a family of three (and sometimes feeding a fourth person through the week) we are getting by just fine with that small amount. But there are times we spend a lot more and we are able to do it because we save in other areas.
I have been a avid couponer for over a year and a half now and it has saved my family a lot of money. From toothpaste, razors and tissues to beauty tools, laundry detergent and Ziploc bags, most items we get for FREE or close to it. By saving money on non edible consumable products my family is able to use more of our grocery budget on healthy, organic and locally grown food. I could write an entire series on coupons (and yes, you can find MANY health food/organic coupons, they do exist and paired with a sale at Whole Foods worth the time and effort!). Not only is couponing a great way to save your family money but you can also get items you may not regularly use or need for free and give to others (nursing homes, shelters, food pantry's, etc.).
When you first learn about couponing it can be overwhelming and not everyone can learn it the way I did. In about one week's time (and many nights into the wee hours of the morning) I taught myself how to shop Publix, Walgreen's, CVS, Kroger and Target and it's been a breeze since. However not everyone learns the same and for that I am thankful ladies like Angel Kennedy with Faithful and Frugal have started ministries that teach ladies how to coupon, budget and more!
I asked Angel to provide a guest post and I have added it below. Before that I have added a few photos of grocery trips I did this spring before our market challenge and two from our challenge:
First Flood Victim Donation - retail value $130 plus, but almost everything was FREE : ) See why couponing is so great!? Even if it's items I do not regularly use it's awesome to be able to give greatly when you don't have much yourself.
Here are items from one Saturday market shopping trip. We did do some bartering here but spent $60 out of pocket.
Q & A Time with Angel @ Faithful & Frugal…”Can couponing really change my life?”
The Question: Why do I bother using coupons???
The Answer: See these 2 items below? Well, if I had walked into the grocery store and purchased these two items alone...without coupons...I would have paid (according to my receipt)$6.79 for the NyQuil and $3.29 for the Clorox wipes...that's just over $10 plus tax!
Now...take a look at what all I got for LESS than that same $10 bill using coupons:
That's right...I paid $7.93 (including tax) for everything that you see here!!!
2 Wholly Guacamole
2 Organic Valley cream cheese
1 Organic Valley heavy whipping cream
1 J&J baby oil
1 J&J baby soap
2 J&J baby powder
2 Fiber One yogurt (4pk)
2 Splenda granules
1 Splenda sticks
2 Weight Watchers snack cakes
2 Clorox wipes
2 Ziploc containers
1 NyQuil sinus
2 Ivory bar soap (3pk)
2 Lipton tea bags
3 Sun Crystals
8 Marie Calendar's meals
Question: Is it really worth my time and effort to put together deals and use coupons???
Answer: Ahhh...YEAH :-) Let's do the math...without coupons and sales those same items would have cost me about $100.00...but by spending about 2 hours of my time, I got them for under $8.00...that's a 92% SAVINGS!!!! So YES...I think it is WELL worth it!
Some people ask me if couponing works for organic/whole food eaters too…my answer is: Sure it does…if you notice, some of the things in the pictures are organic & healthy, though you won’t be able to find coupons for all of your organic products, you will find them for a good many. BUT if you could save money on the things that are necessities, freeing up more money for the important more expensive healthy food choices…wouldn’t you think it was worth it too?
Question: Do you really find coupons for the things that your family uses???
Answer: YES...in fact everything in this picture is something that my family uses frequently. Do you use Clorox wipes? How about sinus medicine? What about organic cream cheese or yogurt? Do you use iced tea or sugar??? How about soap? (I'm hoping so...lol)
Of course you do...maybe not the brands that I bought...but you use most of this stuff too ;-) So why not get it for the best price? That is the real question :-)
Question: What do coupons have to do with being a better steward of God's blessings???
Answer: That's a grrrreat question...Coupons are just one avenue that we use as a family to be better stewards of God's stuff...I view the money that my family has as a blessing from God...if I can save some of that money by using coupons (being a good steward with God's money) than I can use that money for other things...like getting out of debt, helping other families or sowing seed into other ministries (like our local church, Compassion International, Blood:Water Mission, etc). I feel that is what God would expect us to do with our blessings :-)
Question: How can I learn how to do this???
Answer: There are lots of ways to make your money work harder and Faithful & Frugal would love to teach you how...Contact us about hosting a class at your church. Be sure to join our blog email list @ http://www.faithfulandfrugal.com/ to have the most current posts emailed to you. You can also join us on Facebook by becoming a fan on the Faithful & Frugal fan page :-)