Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Beginners Beginning Guide to Couponing

Let me say, right off the bat, that most of the information here comes from a coupon workshop I just took led by Jenny Martin from Southern Savers and from the information on the website. So jump on over there and check out her easy to navigate site. (Uh, right after you read this post.) I am receiving NO compensation from Jenny or Southern Savers by writing this post.

I've been clipping coupons for my grocery shopping ever since I got married over 20 years ago. However, in the last month, I think I've realized how to save money more effectively with coupons.

Excuse me...did you just say, " I don't have time to clip coupons?"! (Yes you did. I heard you.)
That's like saying "I don't have time to save money" which we all know is just stupid. As with any new activity, you're not going to be proficient right away. It takes practice. But I betcha if you do this ONE time and save a significant amount of money, I saved $100 at the grocery store on my first try and now I can't wait to go play the "grocery game" again.

It's super simple.

You are going to maximize your savings by buying an item on sale and pairing a coupon (or two) with it. That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

Now if you're going to do this, here are some basic things you need to know.

  1. You need coupons.
  2. You need to know what's on sale.
  3. You can't have brand loyalty.
  4. You don't HAVE to go to a bunch of different stores to save money. (But you might want to go to more than one.)
Coupons: Find them in the Sunday paper (larger city papers have the most to offer) or online at sites like, and You can also buy coupons online. One reputable source that I'm most familiar with is The Coupon Clippers . Now why in the world would someone BUY coupons?! Yeah. I wondered that too, so I asked. Here's what Rachel from The Coupon Clippers said: "Well, because many places the newspaper costs $2.75... if someone wants, say 10 of one item (i.e., 10 packages of Marcal toilet paper), they'd have to spend $27.50 buying 10 Atlanta Journal and Constitutions.... and then do all the pulling out of the coupons and then the cutting. Whereas, they can just pay us $2.00 and we'll ship them 10 coupons for the $2 off Marcal Toilet paper. So, it saves them time and money. Instead, we buy the papers and do the cutting.

If you spend $6, you're going to save $60 at the store, if you do not double the coupon value."

Knowing what's on sale: What I love about Southern Savers is, Jenny posts the absolute best price on items. She doesn't just list items in the sale flyer, because not every item in the flyer is really on sale. She's doing the work for you.
Items are usually on sale once every 6 weeks. This is called the sale cycle. So when you find an item on sale at it's lowest price, you will buy as many as you need to last you six weeks, making sure to pair a coupon with each item. That might mean one box of cereal or three, depending on your family.

Now there are slightly less than a jillion ways to organize coupons. My favorite lazy way is to get my coupons out of the Sunday paper and write the date in marker on the front of the insert and file it in an accordion file according to month. Each week, I check Southern Savers for the grocery specials which lists the coupon needed for each item and then I go through my inserts and cut my coupons. Easy, peasy, lemon cheesy.

Hopefully, this has piqued your interest and encouraged you to TRY. It is not hard. It takes a little time and a little thought, but it is SO worth it.

If you're curious to learn more, go here for Jenny's Get Started Guide.

I'm betting the first time you save some money or actually get something FREE, you'll scoot over here and tell me and the rest of the world about it, won't you?


I thought so.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yarden Bounty

This weekend my husband took a stroll through our yard and this was the result. While others with more decorating savvy would have pulled out the cut crystal vases; hubby, always resourceful, pulled old drink bottles and small bowls from the cupboard. (Perhaps this also speaks to the fact that there are NO cut crystal bowls in the house?) So this week, as I've fixed lunches and grabbed dishes from the cupboard to piece together meals, I've caught the gentle fragrance of roses wafting up.

It somehow adds a bit of gentility to our otherwise helter-skelter lives.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Media Cabinet Revival


Two--NOT one, but TWO remarkable things have happened today.

One. I figured out how to transfer pictures from my phone to my computer. ALL.BY.MYSELF.

Please hold your applause....

Because you will be amazed to hear that I finished, yes FINISHED a project.

I know. I know.

What? You don't believe me?

I got pictures.

Check it:

Media cabinet--Before:
(Definitely in need of a revival. No?)
Cardboard squares cut to size.
Fabric cut to cover cardboard.
Glued fabric to cardboard with decoupage glue.
Inserted into picture openings.

How bout them apples?!

Monday, April 19, 2010

In Memoriam...Monet

It's been a hard weekend, folks.

I started down my driveway early Friday morning to find my cat lying there having been mauled by dogs.

I got Monet when she was a kitten. We picked her out of the litter, my friend telling my husband, "Oh, this one is a sweetie. Very loving."


She became MY cat. She hissed and complained at anyone else who was near. Tolerating them but little else.

My husband graciously allowed her and her half brother, Tiger, and a beautiful grey cat called Monaco, to live indoors for many years; then hubby got fed up with having to dig me out from under the cats at night to sleep with me. :D

The older the cats got, the more digestive trouble they began to have and hubby lost it when someone lost their lunch on one of his cameras. (Can't say as I blame him...) So, outside they went.

Monet always greeted me as I arrived home. Meowing loudly to inform me of the days events. After I went inside, she would hop up on the warm hood of the truck and sleep.

Most mornings I could count on her sitting in my kitchen window staring at me as I made coffee, making sure I realized it was time for breakfast.

Making coffee has never been so lonely.

Although she was 15, she was feisty and wasn't showing signs of aging. I am so angry that she was taken from me in such a violent way.

And that we were helpless to prevent it.

My brain is at odds with itself. Wondering at the depth of grief I have-- "It wasn't a human, it was an animal." "This is part of the circle of life." -- is at war with-- "She was my baby." "She was a family member."

So while I'm trying to reconcile all this in my head, Tiger and Coco (remember the three legged kitty?) are getting lots of extra strokes and hugs.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sometimes, the Only Way to Go is to Stop

So I got sick this weekend.

It really wasn't a bad thing.
It just made it more of a challenge to work on Saturday.

But Sunday?

Oh, blessed Sunday.

It seemed sacrilege to stay home from church on Easter Sunday, but actually observing the Sabbath and having a day of rest did so much for my soul.

My girl and I read the paper (funnies first), had monkey bread, read all 4 Gospel accounts of the Resurrection (could you IMAGINE being Mary and suddenly recognizing someone who you thought was dead was now ALIVE and standing before you?!), we sat on the couch awhile watching a few videos, I read, I rested, we took a walk, we painted, we had mac and cheese for supper and called it a day.

And now-- it's spring break!

I still have to go to work, but not having to wake up a family and motivate them toward the door and the day....

makes me feel like I'M on VACATION!