Guest Post by Kerri Cunningham
Like most couponers, I began couponing in an effort to save money. As my children would say (when they think I’m not listening), duh! I think most of us begin couponing because we want to save or stretch our family’s resources.
A year and a half later, I’m still couponing. To ever-so-slightly paraphrase John Mellencamp: “Oh yeah, life goes on. Long after the thrill of (couponing) is gone.” While I may not get as excited about free toothpaste as I did eighteen months ago, I still actively coupon.
Why? Well, I need to stick to an extremely lean budget, and couponing helps me do that. Even more importantly, I love the unexpected benefits that couponing has brought into my life.
:: Couponing Makes Me Less Wasteful
You may be wondering how couponing can make someone less wasteful. I have found that when I work hard at saving, I am far less likely to waste the products I buy.
In the past, I probably would have thrown away a half-used can of refried beans. Now I remember the work it took to double the coupon to get those beans for $0.25 and I find a way to use them in tomorrow’s lunch. The extra oatmeal gets turned into oatmeal pancakes instead of being tossed out when I remember the extra stop I made to hit that great Quaker sale.
Couponing has lowered my price points on so many items – not just groceries – that I now often pass on purchases I once would have made. Less consumerism equals less waste. And that’s not just a good thing for my family’s budget; it’s a good thing for the world.
:: Couponing Helps Me Practice Hospitality
Practicing hospitality has become something of a lost art in our culture, I’m afraid. I grew up with a mom that entertained guests weekly, but until recently I ended up almost completely neglecting hospitality myself. Honestly, before couponing there were many months I could barely make our grocery budget stretch to feed our own large family, let alone feed guests.
Now, I have extra food in my pantry and extra money in my grocery budget. I can invite others over to share that surplus, or I can splurge on something special for my guests with the extra savings. Practicing hospitality has been a wonderful thing for my family and has helped us connect with many people in our neighborhood and church – and I owe that to couponing.
:: Couponing. A hobby… with benefits.
At the end of the day, I just plain like to coupon. It’s fun for me. A hobby. I look forward to the weekly grocery ads arriving in my mailbox like other women enjoy a good pedicure. Weird, I know.
However, unlike my other hobbies, couponing allows me to bless others. Whether it’s sending care packages full of Rite Aid goodies to my college-age nieces or bringing bags of groceries to an unemployed family, it happens because of couponing. A new world of generosity has opened up since I’ve started couponing.
Raising five kids and financing two adoptions on one income means there isn’t always a lot to spare. Couponing enables me to still give and provides a concrete way to teach my children the art of generosity.
Will I Continue Couponing? For now, yes. That may change down the road if I go back to work or, say, come into unexpected riches. But since neither of those seem likely in the near future, I’ll keep checking the ads and cutting the coupons. I love the savings, but even more I love these unexpected benefits.
Leave a comment! What are some unexpected benefits you’ve experienced from couponing?
Kerri lives on beautiful Camano Island, Washington, where she stays busy raising her five kids and lamenting the fact that the nearest Albertsons is forty-five minutes away. She blogs for fun at cunningcouponer.com.
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