I learned this weekend at the Homeschool convention, that we homeschoolers in Florida are quite spoiled. We spoke with a number of vendors that echoed that sentiment. It seems that many homeschooling conventions in other parts of the United States do not conduct their conventions in a hoopty ploopty hotel, replete with a SPA.
And I think that’s just a shame. After a year in the trenches, every mother needs a little homeschool convention that makes her feel a bit pampered. I did not have any sort of spa treatment, mind you. And I did not even make it down to the jacuzzi. But Trish and I were snug in our p.j.’s nearly every night by 8:00, hunkered down watching HGTV, while sipping wine. WITH NARY A CHILD IN SIGHT.
THAT’S THE KIND OF PAMPERING I’M TALKING ABOUT.
On Friday morning, we hit the ground running. Our first class was at 9:00, and truth be told, it was the one class that I was looking forward to the very most. It was a class on couponing, given by True Couponing.com. What does couponing have to do with a homeschool convention, you ask? Well. This seminar was given by a company, founded by homeschoolers, who want to give back to harried moms that are just trying to hold their purse strings together.
This class was not about extreme couponing, but rather about how to make the very most of your money, while keeping your pantry stocked, and taking care of your family. They also stressed then being in a position to be able to GIVE to those in need. This type of couponing is not about hoarding. I loved their message, and it was dotted with scripture. AND SOME REALLY GOOD SHOPPING TIPS.
The premise of what they teach is to have an organized system for keeping your coupons. Now, I’ve been an avid coupon clipper for going on 25 years now. I once found a coupon that stated “no expiration” but had a date of 1987 on the back.
THAT IS SOME COUPONING DEDICATION. I finally threw it away, because I figured that if I hadn’t purchased the product in 20 years, I likely never would.
But this type of system is different, in that you don’t clip the coupons until you are going to use them. Instead, you remove them from the Sunday paper, and file the whole pull out section in dated hanging files. Weekly, you would then go to the website to see what was on sale for that week, and they would tell you what date to pull the coupon from. This company is local to Florida, so they have the lowdown on Publix shopping, plus the national chains Walgreens and CVS.
They offered a pink translucent file box, which contained pre-made dated file folders, a coupon cutter, and FOUR weeks of FOUR COPIES EACH of all the coupons put out over the last month. To the tune of $40. It generally takes about 12 weeks to get a nice supply of coupons so that you can really take advantage of BYGO (buy one, get one) offers, and that really fun activity called COUPON STACKING. Where you can use a manufacturers coupon AND a store coupon to add to the savings.
I sat through this seminar with my two partners in crime (who also happen to be Fiddledaddy’s sisters) Trish and Cathy. As the (packed) seminar was winding down, Cathy whispered, “Let’s go back to the exhibit hall and buy the pink box.”
What? We can’t just get up and leave!
Yes we can, we have to avoid the rush.
When I realized I was outnumbered, I got up and sneaked out with my cohorts. Cathy bought the box back in the exhibit hall, while Trish and I hemmed and hawed and finally decided that we could put together our own box.
At lunch time, we told Cathy we would take her box up to our room, since her room wasn’t ready yet. We then ate in our sandwiches. And stared at the pretty pink box sitting on the bed. Taunting us.
“It’s so pink. And so very pretty.”
“Look at the pretty pink box.”
“Let’s open it.”
“OOOOHHHHH. Look at all the coupons in the pretty pink box.”
“I like the pretty pink box.”
LET’S GO GET A PINK BOX BEFORE THEY ARE ALL SOLD OUT.
And so we both succumbed to temptation and became the owners of our own pink boxes.
I also ordered 13 weeks worth of 4 newspapers each week to be delivered to my driveway each Sunday. To the tune of less than 50 cents each paper.
I wondered how I was going to explain that to Fiddledaddy. Who is not a fan of the paper. And I wondered how I was going to get the bright pink box passed him without a whole lot of back peddling.
After attending two additional couponing classes (including one advanced class that made me a little cross-eyed) I was able to explain the whole thing to him and he’s completely on board.
Especially since I told him that I think I can get our grocery bill down to $500 a month. Including toiletries and everything. This is my goal.
I spent a good chunk of time getting familiar with the website, and laying out my shopping list. I’ll keep you apprised of my progress. Cathy called me this afternoon all aglow about saving over $100 at Publix today. The gauntlet has been thrown down.
So, are you a coupon clipper? And if so, what sage advice can you give someone starting out?