Reasons for Couponing

By ERIN TURNER

I am often asked, “Why do you coupon?”  I could answer with a variety of different reasons but my bottom line always comes down to three very special reasons.  Do you want to know my 3 very basic reasons for couponing?  They are: 1) Ethan 2) Logan and 3) Quinn.  Yup, it’s that easy.  I coupon for my kids and when I have a day when I grow weary of clipping coupons and studying the sale flyers, I simply remember WHY I am doing it and suddenly it’s all worth it.

Since my boys were born, I have always worked outside the home.  After the birth of my second son, I began working just half time and then when the youngest was born I moved into quarter time.  My job also allowed me to create my own hours and do some work from home.  It was the best of both worlds.   But I still dearly wanted to be at home and be a mom 100% of the time.

When my kids started school, I felt even more pulled to be at home so I could work in the classrooms, prepare more home-cooked meals, be available if they were sick and meet them at the bus every day after school.  Plus, I didn’t want housework and chores to fill evenings and weekends when I’d rather be spending time with thekids.

I started putting the bug in my husband’s ear in 2009 that I was ready to “retire.”  Being the ever-prudent financial wizard, my husband cringed and talked about how important my paycheck was to our monthly budget.  Yet, respecting my desires he said, “Well, let’s see what we can do.”

In early 2010, we revisited the idea and scratched out a rough plan of how we could make it work.   We looked at our monthly budget and decided to eliminate some unnecessary expenses.  With a tightened up budget, my husband felt confident we could make it work.  Yet, I could see some trepidation in his eyes as the reality of a lesser income was hitting him especially in the current economy.  In that moment, I vowed to do everything in my power to make sure our expenses stayed low and that our budget would not feel the impact of not having my paycheck anymore.  Staying at home for our kids was my highest priority.

In March 2010, the day before my 39th birthday, I broke the news to my employer of 17 years that come June I would be done with my job.  I grieved the closing of this chapter of my life, but I rejoiced in the fact that finally I would be home 100% of the time for my family!

Two weeks after giving notice, I ventured into the world of couponing and by the end of March I was already saving significant money.  I studied more websites and read books about couponing and saving money.  By the end of 2010 and 6 months into my “retirement,” I had lowered our monthly grocery and household budget enough that it offset my former paycheck.  Obviously, this relieved my husband and even motivated him to become a couponing rockstar!

I share this story with you because I know many of you moms want to be at home.  In this economy, plus all the expenses it takes to run a household, it is almost impossible to even think about staying home.  Without a paycheck coming in anymore, I needed somehow to control the money going out.

For me, couponing was the solution.  It has completely justified my staying at home.  It does take time, lots of effort, and dedication.  It’s not a cakewalk.  I view it as a job since it is my way of contributing to our budget.  Whatever your reasons for wanting to save money or having more control over your budget, explore the world of couponing.  It can save you easily 50% or more of your monthly grocery budget if you are dedicated to it.  It just may be your ticket to being a full time mom or whatever your dream may be.

Just a few weeks ago, I was gently reminded of why I coupon.  While cutting my 6th grade son’s hair, he says to me, “By the way Mom, thank you for waking me up in the morning, cooking breakfast and getting me off to school every morning.  I know not every kid has that and I appreciate it.”  Okay, after my initial shock (yes, I did think: “What alien are you and what did you do with my son?”), I was deeply grateful — not only for my son’s kind appreciation but also for the opportunity to be there for my kids each morning.  All those hours of clipping coupons, shopping sales and being called a “Coupon Queen” suddenly were all worth it!  Yup, it’s easy for me to tell you why I coupon…three very preciousreasons!

What are YOUR reasons for couponing?  Let me know in the new Make it Missoula Forum.  Sign-in and sound-off on the topic of couponing, saving, living a frugal lifestyle, decorating on a budget, or whatever home economic topic tickles your fancy.

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Enjoy this blog? You might also like Erin’s previous posts on Save by Stockpiling Food and Household Items, Coupon Clipping Tips and TechniquesBack to School Budget Meal Planning, or Decorating for Fall on a Frugal Budget. AND, be sure to check out the “Missoula Save it Club” on the MakeItMissoula homepage (see the Daily Missoula Fix buttons in the left navigation bar) for savings updates throughout the week!

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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 her family.