Do You Use Coupons for Everything?

By ERIN TURNER

I have been asked over and over, “Erin, do you use coupons for everything you buy?”  Well, the honest to goodness truth is, no.  Although, after seeing what coupons have done for our household budget over the last 15 months, I wish everything had a coupon!

But the reality is not everything a consumer wants is either a) on sale, or b) offering a coupon.  So, as couponers, we just have to accept it for what it is and go with it.  More important, we have to remember why we do coupon — to give us authority and freedom within our budget so we can spend extra money on non-coupon items.

This is track season in our house and I feel strongly about having quality running shoes for my kids.  As you know from my thrift store blog, most of my kids’ clothing is from thrift stores.  But come track season, you’ll find me in a retail store buying brand new shoes. (Of course, I always look for a good sale!)

My boys were a little astonished at the check out line when I paid for their shoes a few weeks ago.  I explained to them my overall theory: “We can afford to pay for very nice running shoes for ALL 3 of you because I save money on other items.”

I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt or remorse paying retail for those shoes because this is a priority for me.   And the coolest part?  My kids really appreciate their shoes and are taking super good care of them. And of course, these shoes make them run much faster!

So, other things I don’t use coupons for and feel good about?  I love the Gogiberry loose tea at Butterfly Herbs and I’m a sucker for all their spices and herbs.  Do I feel bad about that?  Heck, no! First of all I’m supporting local retailers. Plus, these are the kinds of things I like spending my money on!

Recently,  I started experimenting with coconut oil and sucanant (pure, unprocessed cane sugar) in my baking.  These are pretty expensive items but in the long run, they save me money because I’m using them to bake healthier, homemade goodies instead of buying store bought.

Again, these are the kinds of things I really prefer to spend my money on.   Oh, and I also don’t hesitate to pay full price for industrial strength garden gloves!

Use your coupons for things that you feel are a “waste of money.”. I say that lightly, because we all need toothpaste, toilet paper, deodorant and soap!  But if you’re like me, it pains me to pay full retail price for these things week after week.

My solution?  Use coupons to get the price down so low that you either pay cents for the, or get them for free. When you do this, you have more money to spend on the things that are important to you.

Now, maybe you have a loyalty to Charmin toilet paper. If that’s important to you, then by all means, spend your money happily.  (Although, there are always good coupons for Charmin!)  I had that loyalty to Tide.  Living on a farm with 4 boys (hubby gets dirtier than the 3 boys combined!)I am challenged daily when it comes tolaundry.

I have found Tide to be the most effective.  So, I was always willing to pay more for Tide, even after coupons, than any other brand and I was fine with it.  Recently though, I found out Tide is terrible for septic systems and since I REALLY don’t want to waste my money on replacing a septic system (talk about flushing your money down the drain! Haha!), I’m willing to shift my loyalty elsewhere. (I’m testing the homemade soap blended with Oxyclean. It’s much cheaper and far better for the septic!  I’ll let you know the results of its stain removal power!)

What this blog all comes down to is this: Prioritize your shopping list!  Look at the things you are passionate about. Maybe it’s eating completely local, organic food or it’s having the softest toilet paper, or having a latte from Starbucks, or it’s a designer gown for your wedding. Whatever is important to you, then make it a priority and use your well saved cash in those areas.

Feel good about where you’re using your money!  Remember, the whole point of couponing and saving money is for you to dictate where and how you spend and to increase your quality of life. It’s not about being cheap!

So, don’t be held prisoner by your coupons. Rather, let your coupons give you freedom.  Now, I do have to say the perfect storm is when there is that rare coupon or killer sale for something which is high on your priority list!  That’s a sign you are livin’ right, baby!

Enjoy this blog?  You might also like Erin’s previous posts on Organizing Your Coupons, Couponing Basics, Coupon Myth Busting, and Stockpiling.

Back to the Save It blog home page.  AND, be sure to check out the “Missoula Save it Club”  on the home page of MakeItMissoula.com (See the Daily Missoula Fix buttons in the left navigation bar) for savings updates throughout the week!

Click here to see the Coupon Queen’s “Save It”archive.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian.  Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques and trying to maintain a well-run, happy and organized home for herfamily.