When I started this blog, I did it because I was so excited about what I had learned about being frugal. I wanted to share it with everyone, and because everyone was asking, a blog seemed like the easiest way to share. At the time, we only had one child, I had just become a stay at home mom, and I was looking for ways to save money and get the most from our money.
Through several well known blogs, I was well on my way to being a frugalista. Time went on, I became pregnant with the twins and the energy faded somewhat, but I kept going with the stock up theme because I knew that those first months of adjusting to two babies would be challenging.
While I’m SO glad I was able to stock up and have that first month pretty much laid out, as the girls got older it quickly became apparent I couldn’t keep up. There were literally stacks of unclipped coupons on my kitchen table, on my couch where I had attempted to get to it the night before, on the bar in my kitchen, etc. I had piles of coupons that were sitting there being unused and expiring, while I accumulated more and spent the money to do so. By the time I got to the stack, most of what I would use was expired.
I can’t really remember at what point I stopped ordering coupons, but it was such a relief! No more piles of coupons that I wouldn’t be able to use. Of course, that wasn’t the end of things, because I was still printing coupons.
The girls are 18 months in a few days and I still am unable to do what couponers would consider a good coupon shop. I can’t take them into CVS, because honestly, who wants to push a double stroller and pull a cart through CVS?! Not this mom! And it’s not only the fact that I’d have to do that, but also actually deal with the two kids in the stroller, lol! It was easy when they were quiet infants, but verbal toddlers, umm…no thanks!
So, for now, gone are the days of big coupon saving trips. In reality though, I’ve learned a few things since I quit that make me realize why it started feeling like a burden.
1. Couponing and following blogs (I now only check one) that promote them caused me to compare myself to everyone else. I could hardly ever get about 40% savings. That was so annoying to me. I would get great deals, but I really just wanted to be like everyone else and save more, rather than worry about what I would need or use (I could give it away, couldn’t I?! Which sadly didn’t happen). Which leads me to….
2. I was forcing myself to buy unhealthy products for my family just to get great savings. Let’s face it. Food coupons are at least 80% geared towards highly processed foods. That might be ok for you, but for me, I felt guilty. I felt guilty about buying all the packaged foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, numerous food dyes, artificial flavors, and tons of chemicals that are SO not good for our bodies. That is not who I am. That is not what I believe I should feed my family. While I was still not sacrificing the amount of produce or lean meats I buy, I was beginning to stock up on too much junk. Sugar in my house = MAJOR attitudes for a certain 5 year old, not to mention increased sickness and digestive issues. Of course junk = weight gain, mood swings, facial breakouts, eczema and so much more for the rest of us (those are just external signs of what’s going on inside your body…)!
3. I can save more money without coupons by just creating a healthy menu plan and sticking with a strict grocery list of products! I find that if I make a menu, whether it be for one week, two weeks, or the whole month, I’m more likely to stick to my grocery list and the list is small because I usually have some of the things from a previous shopping trip or those uncooked meals. My budget has been $100 a week and with my list, I could spend $60 for the week. Now, that is not to say I don’t stock up anymore, because I do if I find a good deal. Unfortunately, due to the ravenous children in my house, that budget might have to slide up a little!
4. I can coupon sporadically, by only using printed coupons (I won’t buy coupon inserts again) for what we truly do use regularly, and still enjoy the benefits of stocking up on the B1G1 or low price deals that appeal to my family’s needs.
5. I’d much rather enjoy a fresh glass or two of juice or a fresh smoothie! Not only does it give me that sweet or tart I want, but it fills me up and gives me the unseen, but very noticeable benefits of enzymes, fiber, and so much more! So much better than empty calories or carb laden, sugary items.
So, while I am still trying to be frugal in all I do (some days are better than others!), I give my self some slack. What works for one person doesn’t work for all people. Do what works best for you, and be happy with it! This is what works for me, and I’m a much happier, less stressed mom!