Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Homeschool Review Crew: Book: Couponing Made Simple

When I was in Scotland last week (for another blog post), I got a text message from my wonderful White Knight. It said:
Spent another $100 at Kroger - hopefully will get us most of the rest of the way through the week... I don't see how we keep them alive with the amount they eat.
And another said,
I let the two oldest order their own food at lunch today. I will NEVER do that again!
Seeing messages like these from my husband, is it any wonder that I would jump at the chance to review a book called, Couponing Made Simple: Simple Steps to Successful Couponing by a lady named Christi the Coupon Coach?

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I've wanted to try coupons to save money; I've gone to classes to learn how, talked to super-couponers who are walking the walk, cut out the coupons out of the papers, had the kids helping look for them... but have never been successful. This lack of success is for to reasons: 1) I'd cut them out and either forget them at home or forget to use them until they were expired, and 2) we don't eat many things that are sold at the store that aren't considered produce or "specialty" items, which don't often have coupons offered. I received the paperback book, instead of the Kindle Version. The back reads:

Imagine providing for your family in these tough economic times for pennies on the dollar! The sooner you get started couponing, the more you will save, You will wish you had started earlier! The plan, organization system, tips and tools can jump start you into a new way of shopping. Join Christi the Coupon Coach as she shows you the way to amazing savings for Real People!
Through the very title, we're reassured that this is an easy-to-use method that will work even for people like me. We'll see. I was hopeful but still somewhat dubious when I got the book in the mail.

The Good
  • At only 123 pages, the book is short and sweet. 
  • There are lots of real pictures showing deals made and counting out money saved
  • The emphasis is not on the "extreme couponing" and stockpiling methods seen on TV, but on what you can do in about two hours a week - I spend that amount of time each week just making my grocery list sometimes!
  • Christi lays out the steps for her method in a simple and easy-to-follow way.
  • Christi's method doesn't require going to multiple stores each week to find good  deals
The Bad

Well, really, in the end my only "bad" here is not Christi the Coupon Coach's fault. If you're a crunchy-holistic person there just aren't that many coupons to be had out there, no matter how many coupon lists and websites and blogs you join and follow. In my case, I was able to find coupons for things like Toilet Paper, the White Knight's special cereal, Grapenuts (the only cereal the kids get any more), peanut butter... perhaps a few others, but there were very few that I could get for things I buy. 

I make my own laundry soap and cleaning solutions, tooth paste and medicines come from Young Living Essential Oils; we make our own breads, canned tomatoes, soups, broths, pizzas, etc. and buy the bulk of our produce from our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture/Farm Share.) What's a girl to do at that point?? Throw in the towel? 

How I Used Christi's Method

I did not throw in the towel, but gave it a good shot. I didn't find any of the really great double deals or coupon doubling that earned me free merchandise, but did figure out that our local Farm Fresh stores have started giving out a 10% military discount on Mondays because sequestration has closed our commissaries that day (Smart move, Farm Fresh! It got my business!), so I started taking my coupons to FF on Mondays. I got $2.50 off on my toilet paper (and it has to be one brand in my house), and a second deal earned me 2-for-one on our yogurt (also a specific brand.) I also managed to spend $.25 each on a couple of boxes of GrapeNuts because of a coupon and the boxes being in the Clearance section of the Commissary.

Christi threw in all kinds of personal stories and testimonies. In her section entitled Tips and Tools, she handed out nuggets of wisdom like, "How Much Does Five Pounds Weight?" And reminded readers that if a bag of apples says it is five pounds, it may be just under five pounds, but it could also be just over five pounds. In that case, the best bet would be to get the one that is just over five pounds - but who thinks to weigh bags of pre-weighed fruit? Most of us don't, so those little tips are a great resource!

Bottom Line

Is it worth it to purchase the book, Couponing Made Simple? I would say it is. If even I can get in a few deals here and there, it is worth putting in the effort one. more. time. and Christi the Coupon Coach, who can sympathize with the life of a stay-at-home-mom and has four kids of her own, makes that easy to do. You can purchase this great little resource on Amazon for $18.00, or get the Kindle edition for $4.99.

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