Welcome to the Extreme Couponing World!

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This is probably the picture that pops into your mind when you think of extreme couponing. And to some, this is a perfectly normal way of life. For me, honestly, I don’t have the desire to buy 47,000 bags of Cheetos at a time (or ever, for that matter).  I will confess though, it is very addicting and I can see how easily someone can go from the occasional $1 off coupon at the grocery store to 4 buggies of toilet paper for $3. If you are interested in that kind of shopping – hours of coupon clipping, building an extra room on your house for your stockpile of 100 bottles of Pantene (and don’t forget the 47,000 bags of Cheetos), and frequent brawls with store managers over taking your expired coupons – then this blog is not for you. However, if you are interested in saving some money (some is more than none!), I will be happy to share what I have learned over the past few months.

Let me be very honest – I am not a couponing expert and I make plenty of mistakes but this process is all about learning and getting into your own shopping groove. I will share some lingo, sites I visit and groups I follow on Facebook to get you started.

Now, there is a lot of information out there when you start couponing and I was very intimidated when I started. It’s easy to say “the heck with it” and give up in the first week or two. And yes, it can be overwhelming and sometimes confusing but don’t let that stop you. By the time you get a month into it, you will start to get the hang of it and when you go on your first successful shopping trip, you will be hooked! Today, we will discuss some lingo and learn about my favorite site, Southern Savers.

So, let’s get comfortable with some lingo to start off. It will make your life much easier if you can follow the conversations of fellow couponers.

(This list is courtesy of SouthernSavers.com)

Types of Coupons

  • B1G1, BOGO, BIG1F – Buy one, get one (free)
  • .50/1 – Fifty cents off one item
  • .50/3 – Fifty cents off three items
  • Catalina – coupon dispensed at the register at the time of purchase
  • Tearpad – pad of refund forms or coupons found hanging from a store shelf or display
  • IP – internet printable
  • MFR or MQ – manufacturer coupon (you will see this a LOT)
  • PG, P&G – Proctor & Gamble Sunday insert coupons
  • RP – Red Plum Sunday insert coupons
  • SS – SmartSource Sunday insert coupons
  • Peelie – coupon that you peel off the package
  • Blinkie – coupon dispensed near product, in that “blinking” red box on the shelf
  • eCoupon – found on the internet but different because it is uploaded to a card
  • FAR – free after rebate
  • MIR – mail-in rebate

Store Specific Coupons

  • FLIP – Food Lion Internet Printable
  • IVC – Instant Value Coupon (Walgreens store coupon, found in Walgreens Easy Saver Catalog and on in-store tearpads)
  • +Up – Rite Aid Plus Up Rewards
  • ECB – Extra Care Bucks (CVS)
  • RR – Register Rewards (these are Catalinas that print out at Walgreens)

Common Phrases

  • OOP – out of pocket
  • Regional – coupon value only distributed at a certain time
  • WYB – when you buy
  • WSL – while supplies last
  • Raincheck – an assurance to a customer that an item on sale that is sold out or out of stock may be purchased later at the sale price
  • Stackable – coupons can be combined with other coupons or discounts.

Southern Savers is a great website to keep you organized and to learn how to get started couponing. The lady who runs the site, Jenny, has set it up for everything you would need to get started. First, go to the Southern Savers YouTube page and watch some of her videos. I would start with Introduction to Couponing (it’s a 3 part video series). She explains all the basics and how to get started without getting overwhelmed. Then, move on to the videos for each specific store. The drug stores are the ones you want to start with (Rite Aid, CVS & Walgreens).

Go ahead and sign up on the site (totally free), so you can save weekly lists and favorite stores. The homepage is set up kind of like a blog. She posts things daily, from weekly ads to special deals you don’t want to miss. There is a coupon database that will allow you to search for a coupon for any particular brand. It will either give you a link to print or tell you which Sunday insert it can be found in. If you are looking for a deal for a certain item or brand, there is an item search bar that will pull up any current deals available.

Some other great perks to this site:

Savings Tracker allows you to track your saving by adding receipts from all your shopping trips

Saved Lists is pretty self-explanatory. Your lists are saved with coupon-printing links or insert information under each deal.

So, check it out, watch some videos and be sure to visit the “Learn To Coupon” link on the homepage to get started. Happy Couponing!

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Here Comes Baby!

When you find out you’re pregnant, you think “This is the best day of my life!” For the next 9 months, your world is filled with nursery decorating, baby shower planning, gear shopping and lots of anxiety. Your feet swell, your legs swell (um, no one told me about this!), you eat like a horse and feel like a beached whale. You finally give in to packing away your cute tops and skinny jeans and resort to maternity shirts and baggy sweatpants or jeans, complete with belly band. By month 10, you’re counting the days until you feel somewhat human again. You can no longer see your feet, so you rush to get a pedicure days before your due date (because your feet are, of course, the main focus of this upcoming event! :P) You pack your bag and place it at the door and wait.

My day came at exactly 12:00 am the day after my due date (my son clearly got his promptness from me!). I laid in bed for a while, trying to find a position that would alleviate some of the pressure and pain I was feeling. I was used to feeling terrible, so I thought nothing of it. After about 20 minutes, I decided to get up and get a snack, sit on the couch and try to get my mind off my misery. But as I sat on the couch, timing my contractions, I got the strangest feeling that this was not quite normal. Finally, I woke my husband up and told him I wasn’t sure but I thought we might not be sleeping that night. We got to the hospital around 3:30 and by 5, family had been called. We were going to have this baby today!

I will admit, when I had discussed my fears of labor with friends, family and co-workers, I took comfort in their assurances that this wasn’t as bad as most say.

“Not to worry.”
“You can handle it.”
“Wait to get the epidural as long as you can.”

And I will now admit, I was not prepared. I believed the lies of these other mothers, snickering behind me as they gave me false hope. I got to about 4 cm before I got my epidural. Those were the worst hours of my life. I have never in my life felt so much pain… To those of you who have bravely gone through childbearing “medicine free” or “naturally”…you are crazy! Good for you for proving to the rest of us how wonderful modern medicine can be. I would never belittle this quite magnificent feet that some undertake but I will say, personally, I have nothing to prove to anyone by not taking advantage of the great medicine discovered in the last few centuries.

My experience with the epidural was quite wonderful. I recommend it to all the pregnant women I know, who are unsure of what they want to do. I feel like by having some pain relief, I got to enjoy the day a little. I could visit with people and even rest a little. By NO means did this make it easier but definitely an appreciated addition to my day.

That day was nothing like I had planned or even thought it might be like. Don’t feel like a strong woman? Have a baby! By the time you’re finished, you feel like a superhero. It’s amazing the strength you find in yourself when another life is in your control. And ladies, you will be amazed by the strength of your husbands. Mine was rather worried about the whole experience and before that day, I pictured him, at some point, lying on the hospital floor, passed out cold. But he really surprised me. He became strong enough for the both of us. Pregnancy can really test your marriage. And I have found, in our case, it made us so much stronger. We discovered what true, unconditional love felt and looked like.

Yes, being pregnant is hard. Having to take someone else’s need into consideration in everything you do. Avoiding too much caffeine. Kissing exercising goodbye. Laying aside your wardrobe. Living completely for another person. But when you finally get to hold your living, breathing, healthy baby, you realize just how worth it the whole experience was. And you discover that you were meant to be so much more. I finally felt like I had found what I was meant to do with my life – why God had put me on this earth. It was to be Lucas’ mom. And I couldn’t ask for a better job. 🙂

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