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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coupons are for the birds. (and for organized ladies like Kelsey)

Do you remember this post? I had resolved to be more realistic about what I could accomplish. Then I went to MOPS one day, and a lady talked about couponing. She gave an impassioned, convincing presentation on how to use couponing to save money for your family. She talked about stacking manufacturer and store coupons on top of sales to get great deals on all kinds of items. She talked about a way to organize your coupons to see everything at a quick glance.
I decided to give it a whirl on sort of a small scale. I was only going to look for deals at Kroger and Target. I was only going to buy things that I knew we would use. So I bought a small binder and some plastic sheets to slip coupons in. I drove by the dollar store on Sunday to pic up a paper or two. I cut coupons. I started looking at websites like to get ideas on how to turn my coupons into savings.
Fast forward six months. I'm in the grocery store with four kids. I've got the big cart. Maggie is in the basket in her car seat, Schroeder is in the front seat, D'arcy and Julian are both in the added big kid seats attached to the front. I'm pulling them around occasionally having to say, "keep your hands off your brother" or "if you ask for anything else...". I'm also getting stopped several times to hear "are these all yours?" or "you have your hands full!". Oh, and with every item I'm adding to the cart, Maggie is becoming less visible.
I also have four focuses. Number one- Menu. I have a menu for the week usually consisting of five meals that I plan to make. I'm usually making at least one newer recipe and four other easy or routine recipes that I need to buy ingredients for. Number two- Weight Watchers. I recently joined Weight Watchers not really to lose baby fat. I've lost all the baby fat. However, I still have what I like to call SODA fat. I'm tasked with finding healthy snacks and breakfast items that will help me lose this extra ten pounds. Now, you might just say, "Melissa, just don't buy SODA." Yeah, ok. Number three- stay in budget. I've been trying to stay under eighty dollars and instead of using a calculator, I just sort of add in my head as I go. That works wonderfully with one kid. Ok with two. Not well with three. Not at all with four. My brain is something the kids won't be longing to play with, though. Number four- buy items with coupons. I'm buying these items not necessarily because we need them this week, but because they are on sale and we'll eventually need them.
Yesterday, I went to Target and was going to get Secret Deoderant. I had a manufacturers coupon, a store coupon, and the deoderant was on sale. Well, I had the coupons, they were in my purse. However, I was unable to produce the coupons from my purse when it came time to make my purchases. Why, because I haven't taken the time to organize them ahead of time. Which is crucial to couponing and is, frankly, boring.
But when I picked up Stephen, he said, "Hey, did you see Kelsey on the news today?" Kelsey is a good friend, an awesome mom, and obviously better at this couponing thing than me.

500 Ways to Save: Grocery bills:

I'm not comparing myself to Kelsey. She and I are different, we respect one another, and gain ideas from one another. I thought it was pretty ironic, though, that the same day that I'm sitting at the Target check out counter sorting through my stack of miscellaneous coupons with kids crying in the cart, she is showing the world he beautifully organized coupon book. It made me laugh. It reminded me of that post I wrote six months ago about abandoning the idea of being the jack of all trades (at least in the house management department).
Did I mention that I just planted a tomato plant?

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