Monday, April 11, 2011

Sale Saturday - cheap vs frugal

Ok so did any of you see that "Extreme Couponing" show on TLC this week?  Garbage!!  TLC has a real opportunity to teach millions of people a way to trim their grocery budgets in these hard economic times and they are instead sensationalizing hoarders.  I didn't like the show at all, and it is not portraying real "couponers" who use their time to save money for their family, store enough to get them through for a few months, and give to others.  In addition, savings like that is not even possible here in NJ - and many other states - as most stores will only let you use 4 "like" coupons (as in, 4 Cheerios coupons) in one transaction - not 50.  Also most stores have a limit on how many like products you can buy in one transaction, or even per week, per family.

What I took from the show, is that I am so thankful I am not like that!!  I have a real interest in couponing and yes, I like knowing I have 20 boxes of tissues in my garage (what - we're a bunch of snotfaces in this house) but I am nothing like those other women who store toilet paper under their kids beds, and I never want to get to that point.  It made me sad in addition to angry, because really I think those people shown have a real problem and need psychological help.  Perhaps they are so scared of being without, perhaps they feel less-than without their shelves crammed with stuff.  Perhaps they went hungry as a child, I don't know.

But with all of these negative opinions I just threw out there - yes, I will be watching again on Wednesday night.  Sure call me a hypocrite, it's ok.

So last week I told you of my pantry challenge for April and to only spend $150 for the month.  WHAT?! was I thinking?!  Between hosting Kevin's birthday party for family this past weekend, buying part of 2 shower gifts for friends and cards for Easter, birthdays, Mothers Day, Easter supplies and items for the Tangled party I'm letting the kids throw with their friends and of course our usual produce, dairy, etc...I spent the whole months budget last week!!!  I did save about $140 between ShopRite, RiteAid and CVS, with $27 left over (in RA rewards and ECB) to spend, but out-of-pocket I spend around $150 exactly.  

Kevin and I took the girls to the beach playground on Saturday and I was upset with myself with how much I spent last week.  I went through my purchases in my mind and tried to see what I could have not bought.  And really, everything I bought we either needed or wanted.  I realized that while it's good to have goals for our spending, I don't want to be cheap.  I WANT to be hospitable and entertain at our house.  I want to give nice gifts and give to others who are in need.

So basically, I am on a journey to a happy medium.  I don't want to be an extreme couponer, but I do want to save money on the items we need and want.  I do want to have goals, but not at the sacrifice of enjoying our lifestyle, which my husband works so hard to maintain.  Really, $150 for the week is what I used to spend on just that week's worth of food and necessities!  I am still in the pantry challenge though...I do need to hit the store for their best sales this week, hoping to spend around $25, but we have enough of everything where I don't have to buy any produce, bread, etc.

Where are you with your couponing journey if you have one?  What were your opinions of the TLC show?


  1. This week's Extreme Couponing is going to feature a couponer who sends care packages to the military with the items she gets free or cheap with coupons. You might like that show better! I know I will.

  2. Do you guys sit down and make a monthly budget? I find it helps when I am trying to make spending goals if I can pinpoint exactly where the spending is over the top. That said, when we first did this I realized we were way overspending on gifts for birthdays and other holidays. Now we have budgeted much less for this area and although I would love to give more, spending what I know we can afford makes me feel much better.

  3. Wynne, I will definitely like that better! Niki, actually Kevin's income changes from month to month - sometimes drastically either way - so each month is different with what we can spend. December and January are notoriously terrible, so I try to do all my Christmas shopping ahead now. I KNOW we overspend on eating out, and on gifts, but I just can't cut them too much down yet. We have a bit, but I'm working on other bills/groceries first :) And I agree - spending what you can afford, not what you want, is the way to go, although I still don't do that! More than one Christmas we have taken a few months to pay off!

  4. I've just started getting into couponing, it is pretty addicting, its almost like you won't buy something if you don't have a coupon for it!