Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lessons Learned From Extreme Couponing...

Today I made my first charitable donation out of our stockpile! Ahhhhh...did it feel SO good to see my hard work paying off!

You see there is a man at our church that has been without work for quite some time. He is a painter and he has done so much to contribute his talents to ministry without monetary expectations. In addition, he is the primary caretaker for his 11 year old grand-daughter. He truly has a servants heart.

So today it was on my heart to make a contribution into his home. So, I prepared a tote with some groceries...toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, noodles, spaghetti sauce, cereal, jello and I made a tuna noodle casserole split into two meals that could be frozen if so desired.

Now I am not posting this to boast...I want to hopefully portray a very important point about the value of extreme couponing and stockpile shopping...(yes, that is what I am, what I do and what we are about here at MDM!) and it is...



1. I don't throw away any coupons that I view as unnecessary to my household (until expired and I'll give them away to the Military). True that! I never know what sales or deals are coming up and sometimes the best ones that work in my buying strategies involve products I would have never considered buying prior to couponing. Also there are so many, that if used properly, get you the items for virutally nothing. I will get these items simply because they are so cheap or free or sometimes I have to get these items to make it work to get the items I really want for free or close to it. It becomes a wash.

2. Not everyone knows how to extreme coupon and get things for free or close to it. This is a gift and a skill that can be used to not only help your family but bless others in need. I have learned that to me, an extreme couponer, I look at a tube of toothpaste as .16 cents but to most people it is $3.00.

3. Do you know that one of the reasons I started couponing so heavily is because my husband told me that we didn't have enough money for food!?! True that! Now this is getting personal but is true. It is a very scary place to is painful (and makes me uneasy to even speak about). However, this experience brings me to a place where I know how it feels to have no one to ask for help. We make far too much money to get any type of assistance and yet we still found ourselves in this then what? It is a silent goes unspoken. Since I am aware of this...I know the value of the small stuff. You know, that deodorant that doesn't really work on you...well,  if it was given to me during that period of struggle that would mean lunch for my four kids...SO I would have used it anyways. Means nothing to you but the world to someone else.

4. Lastly, I just want to add that just because you don't need it or want it NOW doesn't mean that someday you or someone close to you will. I think about the plethora of candles that I have acquired and the comments that I have received from family members..."I don't burn candles so I don't need to buy those...", "do you really need anymore candles..." ... the answer is "NOT NOW I DON'T but MAYBE SOMEDAY...they don't have an expiration date!" We live in tremulous times, I don't think you can have enough of the basic survival items (but that is just me thinking outside the box here).

You know, for me, extreme couponing started out as a means of survival (not a means of frugality, again for me that is) then turned into a hobby...AND is NOW not about me /us! That is the precedence of starting this blog to begin with. My husband says all the time, "now if we were only doing this from the beginning...think of all the money we would have saved!" Believe me when I say that the time to start is not during desperation!

So today, I say, hold onto those coupons and shop with a list derived from strategy vs. a list derived from personal desire. Here, on MDM, I talk strategy...math...stratego...planning...and it doesn't always make sense at first glance but it does in the big picture. It may take some trial and error...some learning and adjusting but ultimately your family will benefit, your budget will benefit and so will others as you will be able to sow into charity!

So today, I am blessed that I was able to make my first charitable donation with many more to come! Praise God!

Feel free to comment &/or add your own personal expreriences!

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