Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review: Couponing Made Simple




I have never been good with the coupons. I forget I have them. They get wadded up in my purse. Half the time I leave my grocery list at home. Yup. I’m that girl. 

But this girl is also on a tight budget. Aren’t we all! I have friends who parade their weekly couponing wares on Facebook. They spent .57 for $113.79 worth of goodies. Okay. Maybe not that extreme. But you know what I’m talking about. 

Extreme couponing has become quite the “thing” these days. And no wonder. Inflation. Loss of income. Gas prices. Yikes!  While I want and need to save money, I have always felt like couponing in general wasn’t a good fit for our family. Plus, I am high maintenance. I have very little time and energy to devote to hours spent over piles of coupons and wandering from store to store. 



So when the opportunity came up to review Couponing Made Simple by Christi the Coupon Coach I was torn. Could I give it a go? How would it fit into our lifestyle? I needed someone who will teach me the basics of couponing that can help me be a good steward of my family’s resources without exhausting me in the process.  Could Christi help this tired and stretched momma?

I can now say that after reading the book and putting some of Christi’s suggestions into practice I am now a believer! 

What I Received



Couponing Made Simple


I received the Kindle version for $4.99. The paperback version of the book is available for $18 (it's regularly $20). Both can be purchased through Amazon, but you can find the link at Christi the Coupon Coach.  
How It Works

Couponing Made Simple is a “how-to” about using coupons with success. It is not a manual on how to buy 42 bottles of shampoo for .17 in one trip. It is a practical guide from a real mom who uses real techniques to bless her family.  But wait there’s more! (I’ve always wanted to say that) Christi always gives us her best advice on how to bargain shop just about anywhere. She writes in an easy, conversational way. I felt like I could be sitting at her kitchen table with a cup of tea. 

Here is how the book is set up. 

    Chapter 1 - Success Stories - Christi shares some her success stories…just to whet your whistle!
    Chapter 2 - A New Way to Shop - This might challenge some of you a bit!
    Chapter 3 - The Language of Couponing - At last! I always felt as if couponing language  required an onsite translator.
    Chapter 4 - Organization SystemOuch! I need one of those?
    Chapter 5 - Step-by-Step Process - Yes, please! I need someone to hold my hand.
    Chapter 6 - Tips and Tools - You might be surprised about what you learn!
   Chapter 7 - Couponing Ethics - So happy Christi included this.
    Chapter 8 - Networking and Communicating - That’s what friends are for.
    Chapter 9 - Bonus SectionVery handy tips for shopping almost anywhere.
    Chapter 10 - Beyond Couponing - THIS! Blessed my socks off.

How I Used It

I told you I am high maintenance. Our family seldom eats processed foods. I make almost everything from scratch. We are also on a very limited budget. I rarely have “wiggle” room to purchase anything just because it’s a good deal. I have lost almost 80 pounds in the past year. I have certain ingredients I use more frequently, but there are seldom coupons on apples and broccoli.  

I have also been in treatment for cardiomyopathy for the past 14 years. When I was 27, I had my first episode of congestive heart failure. I had a major car accident when I was 24…leaving me with a lifetime of orthopedic limitations. My ‘get up and go’ is not as vigorous as it was once. When I was at my sickest I had to limit my shopping to one store. Even now (though I am sooo much better) I have to be economical with my energy. 

I do a lot quite a bit of shopping at a salvage grocery. I have to watch for outdated products and the like, but I really enjoy seeing what I can come up with what I find. All of that said, I also realize that I could be doing a better job of saving in items like toiletries, vitamins, household products, etc. The weeks I have to buy garbage bags and laundry soap at the same time nearly demolishes my grocery budget. There has to be a better way! 

So here’s the low down. You have a high maintenance chick who needs to keep it healthy and doesn’t want to wear herself out in the process. That could be a lot of you! What could Couponing Made Simple possibly offer THIS girl? 

1.       Here are some of the things from Couponing Made Simple that I put into practice right away.
2.       I bought a Sunday paper. Christi recommends buying one for each member of your family. Baby Steps. I wasn’t quite ready to go whole hog.

3.       I cut out the coupons (duh). I set aside those I knew I wouldn’t use, but others might. 

4.       I checked out a website per Christi’s advice that would help me match up coupons I had with coupons I could print online, etc. I printed a few coupons and was able to download a few more onto my favorite local grocery store’s frequent shopper’s card. 

5.       I then stored them in a “thingie” I had in my homeschool cabinet. Christi has a much elaborate system laid out, but I am of the “use what you have” school of thought and I have “thingies” in high abundance.  

6.       The next day I went to town. Not literally. I actually live in town. I just visited the same places I always visit and used Christi’s advice. 

My results? 

I don’t have any pictures of my bounty to show you. My husband is a very helpful grocery “puter upper.” Between the deals I found at Adli’s, some wonderful markdown meat finds and my coupon matchups I found some great deals. Even my husband was surprised with the amount I got for my money.  

I can give you a play by play of my trip. First of all, I generally split my grocery shopping between Aldi’s and a local grocery store. While Aldi’s doesn’t take coupons, the local grocery store is very coupon friendly. I happen to live in a good sized area with a lot of options. There are plenty of shopping choices just down the road. I am also not a loyal brand shopper. I am perfectly fine with trying out new products.  I started at “my” Walgreens. I know the folks at “my” Walgreens. I used a few store coupons for some fantastic deals on back to school items, deodorant and a couple of cans of tuna fish. 

I went next to my local grocery store which is just down the street. Because I had made my list ahead of time, I knew that I could use not only my Sunday Paper coupons, but also my store coupons that I had downloaded on my card. I also had a few coupons I had printed off. I love my local grocery store employees. This is where building a relationship with the folks in your local businesses can pay off. When I checked out I had 4 different coupons for these two packages of toothpaste. 

Yes. That is Josiah's hand. He thinks he has to get at least one body part of him in every picture I take.

I got them both for only .25. That is .25 for both. So for 12 ½ cents I got toothpaste. I was pretty proud.  Our sweet checker is one we see a lot. He was more than happy to give me the best deal he could. He also let me use a store coupon for a package of fish filets that wasn’t exactly for the product I had picked up “We want to make sure you are getting the best deals you can,” He told me. 

So here is a bit of my advice. I really believe that regardless of your circumstances Christi the Coupon Coach has something you can take with you. Her is advice is SIMPLE and practical. And I’ve decided that for the time being I am going to keep an eye for deals in my usual places. There is no need for me to pay so much when I can take advantage of the deals available to me. You have to make it work for you and your family’s particular needs. I have decided to take just a little bit of time every week, cut out my Sunday Paper coupons, check out the online coupons and make sure I’ve loaded coupons on my shopper’s card.  That little time spent is going to make a big difference in my wallet.  

I recognize that there is a lot of helpful information concerning couponing advice out there. What I appreciate about this book is that it is all in one place and that the information just wasn’t about grocery couponing or even couponing in general. 

Christi has so much wonderful advice. During the course of this review, she occasionally sent encouragement and helpful emails to the members of the Crew. You can see her heart. I loved all of the ideas and tips she passed along. I know that they have been a blessing to my family. I look forward to continuing my savings journey. 

Couponing Made Simple is also available in hardback for $18.00 in addition to the Kindle version (which I received). 

I know you will enjoy reading other crew member’s adventures in Couponing. You can do so by visiting SchoolhouseReviewCrew.com.


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