Saturday, December 10, 2011

More coupon reading but this one is a winner!!!

I started a new book which is going to be my first recommended book to anyone who wants to get into couponing.  I think that it should be a pre-read before anyone comes to a couponing class because it helps with some of the concepts so that people can ask lots more questions.  I think that they cover a lot of topics that many (including myself) learn by trial and error through websites.  Sold on reading this book yet???

Be CentsAble: How to Cut Your Household Budget in Half by Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee is a great resource for first time couponers.  At $5.60 on Amazon, it might even be one that I recommend that people buy but certainly try the library to see if you think that it is a good reference (I don't want people to get .  It goes through how and where to get coupons, how to stack store coupons with manufacturer coupons, how to stock up at low prices, and how to shop the drugstore game.  I think that these ideas are the basis of all couponing.  The great thing is that it takes so many steps to get to be an expert couponer where it is second nature instead of thought so anything to help save steps is a great idea (and a start to saving money).

A little off topic of the book itself but more on the concept of learning step by step from my own perspective.  I started to try to save a little money because I was having my son (which funny enough was the same reason behind both authors).  I saw a morning show with the Coupon Mom and then looked at her website.  I learned a bunch from her information but started finding other websites.  I quickly found a bunch of other blogs that had lots of learning.  I started with one store and added another one at a time to see the difference in the policies.  I learned how to use store sales, store coupons, and bunches of things together to get the best deal on products.  It was great to have a "buy" or stock up price for different items because you knew when to buy all products but that means that I was always buying products.  I had to go to the next step because even though I was saving my family tons of money, I had to figure out whether was a really saving my family money.  Does that seem like double talk?  Anyone who has been couponing for awhile knows that there are only so many tubes of toothpaste, shavers, and cans of tomato paste one family needed.  I knew that I was getting tons of great deals but if you are still spending a ton of money, it doesn't add up to saving.  After two years of couponing, I started tracking my grocery and drug store purchases to see how much I was spending a month.  I do realize that this was a little late in the game to start to think about the budget but I had also just quit my job and trying to make sure that we were really saving.  The only advice that I could find online was to figure out what you were spending currently and see if you could cut back more each month so I did exactly that.  It turns out that most months with more careful planning, I could cut my budget to $150-$160.  By all means, I am not saying that others should live off of this amount but I had a huge stockpile and needed to cut back so that I would actually use the older stuff.  As they say in the book, please learn from my mistake and start tracking what you are spending first, this helps know when you are making progress but better yet you know when to stop buying the deals.  Once you do one great trip to the store, you are hooked and can't stop so you need something to stop you.  The best tool for me to keep on track and put down the 12th bottle of Tide just because it was a good deal or tell my husband that we have to wait until next month to get another box of cheese its because they were all gone too quickly.  It helps the whole family to keep on track and on budget.

These 233 pages are a quick read (probably quicker than this post) and worth the time to save lots of money!!  I hope that you agree.  Please give it a read and post your thoughts :)  I would love to hear if you have read it and what you think!

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