Sunday, June 27, 2010

More on Stockpiling and Brand Loyalty

First, let's discuss Stockpiling. You may be asking yourself why on earth you would want to stockpile. There are several sides of the issue to consider.

Maybe you don't have too many people to buy for. Maybe you are single. Maybe you have 8 kids, a husband and 3 dogs. Maybe you are an empty-nester and it's just you and your husband. Due to the varying sizes of families, I wrote my first post about newspapers and stockpiling to get you to think about what it consumed in your home. If you are single, you do not need to stockpile 20 or more bottles of detergent. Furthermore if you have 8 kids and do 40 loads of laundry a week, you would want more than 2 bottles stockpiled. Make sense? You stockpile according to your family's needs. I've gotten a deal before where I bought thirty boxes of pasta before because I got it for about 10 cents a box. A coworker explained to me that there's no way she could stockpile like that because she and her husband could never consume that much. Well, that's fine. But why couldn't you buy 2 boxes of pasta for 10 cents a box? It's about purchasing the amount you need for your family.

Now that we've talked about HOW MUCH you should stockpile, let's talk about why. We are in a state of the economy that stinks. I keep hearing on the news that it is going to continue to stink for a while. Even if your employment isn't in trouble now, it might be later. No matter your source of income, it could be reduced for a number of reasons. If you practice stockpiling and become a well versed, seasoned couponer you will have a stockpile on hand that would allow you to cut out grocery shopping for a while. You may even be able to only buy the items you can get for free for some time until you are able to increase your income again. Another side of stockpiling involves financial crisis. Maybe your income wasn't reduced, but any of us could experience some kind of financial woe. Maybe something in your home needs a repair that can't wait and it's going to cost a great deal of money. It could be possible that a large unexpected medical expense comes into your family. Well, if you are stockpiled then you can stick to just the free items for a month or two, have the groceries on hand that you need and shop from your stockpile. Wouldn't it be helpful to have the stockpile on hand?

On a side note, you might be thinking about your storage space at this point. I am going to discuss that in another post.

Let's talk about brand loyalty. Honestly, you will maximize your savings if you are not brand loyal. Generics are not always cheaper when it comes to couponing. So you may have to reprogram your thinking when it comes to brand loyalty. Now you may think, I love Tropicana Orange Juice. I don't care if another brand is free, I am going to buy Tropicana Orange Juice. Okay, fine. But are there other things that you can let go of brand loyalty with? Does it honestly matter what brand of shaving cream, or laundry detergent, or canned vegetables you purchase? You are going to be purchasing name brand items when you coupon anyway. If you are insistent about brand loyalty (my husband wants me to buy only Heinz Ketchup), you are going to have to become even more focused and wait for your brand of item to go on sale. It will, but you may miss out on other deals in the process. So it's time to re-program your thinking a little.

You might be thinking, I hate ____. I am not buying it because it's on sale. What's the point of keeping around food my family won't eat. This is not about just buying things because they are on sale. Your family might not eat junk food. Well, you don't have to buy a box of cookies because they are on sale. You look at the sales for the week and you only buy what your family will eat. This is not some kind of method to just buy things because they are cheap. I have tried some items because they were free. Sometimes my family enjoys them and other times we don't. However, I am not going out and purchasing diet Pepsi when my husband is a diet Coke drinker. I hope that clears up some doubts you may have in your mind about this process.

I wrote this post hoping that everyone would be able to clear their minds of some doubts you may have about the couponing process. Remember, you buy what you need for the size of your household, keep your mind open about brands, and purchase items that would actually be consumed in your household. Most importantly you stockpile to help your household's financial standing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

BUT! I need dog food and it isn't on sale!! ARGH!

No need to be frustrated. There will be times that you need an item that is not on sale. This will happen more often while you are building a stockpile.

What you need to do is utilize the Coupon Database. Type in the item you need, for example Dog Food. You could even type in a brand name. For example, Alpo. If there are coupons available anywhere for that item, they will be listed in the forum. Then, at the VERY LEAST, you can purchase the item at full price and use a coupon on that item.

I am SUPER DUPER excited about this database. Sometimes there are things I forget to buy when I'm focusing on all these sales and I am happy to know that I have this database to help me out!

I should pay WHAT for that???!!??? Couponing Lesson #3

Did you know that there is a price you should try to stick to for several items? Did you know there are TEN things you should NEVA EVA pay for? Well, I didn't either until today.

Hop on over to to learn more.

Here is a link to their handy dandy price list right here.

Couponing Lesson Post #2:

Here are Kati's notes from today's workshop. This one discusses the basics of a deal:

Click here to download and print if you'd like.

Newspapers and Stockpiling

I attended a great workshop today given by three women who attend my church. Their website is I suggest that you visit their website and subscribe to it. You will have the weekly updates emailed out to you if you do.

I am a bit overwhelmed with a few things, so I am going to write several different posts on couponing instead of one long post.

The first thing I want to talk about is a sales cycle. I knew before today that they existed, but now I know how they work. Things usually go on sale every 12 weeks. Meaning ketchup is going to be on sale every 12 weeks. Laundry detergent is going to be on sale every 12 weeks. Insert the product and it will be on sale about every 12 weeks. Your job is to think about the size of your family. How much laundry detergent do you need for 12 weeks? Well, I do about 8 loads of laundry a week myself. If a bottle of detergent does 40 loads, then I will go through a bottle in about 5 weeks. I usually over-estimate my needs. Let's say I go through a bottle a month. Well, that would mean that for a 12 week period, I would need at least 3 bottles of detergent. Everything needs to be bought in multiples of two (more on that later), so when it's on sale and i have the coupons I would need to purchase 4 bottles of detergent. So think about how many of an item your family would need to get through 12 weeks. Do you have a large family? Then you might need 10 or more of an item.

Understanding how much you need allows you to determine how many newspapers you need to purchase each Sunday. At the very least, you need to get 2 because everything needs to be bought in multiples of 2 to increase your savings. Personally for my family of three plus one dog, I subscribe to my newspaper and as of today have 4 papers delivered every Sunday. It is cheaper to subscribe to the paper and get a deal on Sundays only than it is to buy them from the gas station every Sunday. UNLESS, you know a street hawker that will give you a deal if you buy multiple papers from them. If you live in the Tampa area, please email me and I can help you get a deal on your subscription. If you do not live in the Tampa area, call your newspaper's bulk delivery department and see what kind of deal they will give you.

You have to rethink the way that you shop. You are going to build a stockpile of items when they are at the rock bottom price. You are going to begin moving away from the idea of going shopping and buying everything you need for a week or two. Instead, you're going to learn to shop for free from your own pantry.

The first thing you need to do before you continue is begin thinking about how much your family needs. Then call your newspaper or make friends with a street hawker and order your papers. Please remember that you will save FAR MORE than you spend on newspapers if you do this correctly.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that I have been attending a Women's study at church. It's called One In A Million by Priscilla Shrier. It has been an amazing study so far.

Last night, she closed her teaching with a powerful parallel. I am going to attempt to re-tell it as she did. There wasn't a woman in our study that had a dry eye by the time she was done.

Priscilla told a story about a time she and her husband took her young sons, age 1 and 3 to Disney World. She said they were in the section where they have things for young children. There was a playground that her 3 year old son was particularly interested in. While her husband went to get something for the family to eat, she allowed her children to play on the playground. The 1 year old wasn't able to climb up to the slide on his own. So while watching the 3 year old navigate on his own, she climbed up the slide with her youngest in tow. She said that he was elated at the opportunity to slide. As she reached the bottom of the slide, she looked around for her oldest. She looked all through the play area. She began describing him to the other mothers, and they didn't know where he was. After she determined that he wasn't in that play area, she realized that her son was missing. After bursting out in tears, she informed a Disney Employee of the problem. It was then that she was surrounded by Disney Officials and was asked the questions no one ever wants to answer; What was he wearing? Do you have a picture? and so forth. Priscilla said that she was imagining the worst and the thought was horrifying. They looked for her son for an agonizing FIFTEEN minutes. Finally, Priscilla glanced up through her tears and a Disney Employee came walking with her son in hand. She ran to her little guy, scooped him up and just bawled. The young boy of course did not realize why his mother was crying. Finally she found out that he didn't see her up on the slide with his little brother so he chose to leave the play area to look for his mommy.

She said after it was all over she held both of her boys in her lap. As she cried and thanked the Lord for bringing back her oldest, the Holy Spirit spoke to her. He said "Priscilla, you couldn't live without your son for fifteen minutes. I gave my only Son to die for you. Imagine my sacrifice and how heart wrenching it was to allow my Son to DIE."

If I wasn't crying already at the thought of my own son becoming missing, it was now at the thought that my God gave HIS SON Jesus Christ to die for me. What a Sacrifice. All for me. And for you. And for everyone else.

Romans 10:9-10
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your hear that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Drawing the Line

I never really expected to write a blog post about this kind of thing. But I guess this issue is getting to my core lately.

I won't hide the fact that I am a Christian. Jesus Christ is my personal Savior. He died on the cross to save all of us from our sin. He is my everything, and without doubt guides my steps. I am so far from perfect, there aren't words. I have so much to learn, and so much work to do. However, because of my Savior, I know He forgives, and allows me to learn and grow through my mistakes. I have made plenty of mistakes, and Jesus is there to pick me up after I've fallen. And He's allowed me to get back on track time after time. God is good, that's for sure.

Now I have a five year old son. My husband and I are often talking about making good choices for him. Knowing where to draw the line for him when we allow him to watch or do things. Yes, he's only 5... but we know that if we set boundaries for him now that later on it will help him make good choices. I can't stifle him... I can't restrict him from everything, but I sure can filter our television and other things. Recently, my husband and I thought it might be a good idea to take Austin to see the movie Marma.duke. My husband did a little search on the Focus on the Family website and found out that the movie depicts the dogs drinking ditchwater and makes it out that they are drinking beer. There are a few other things that are negative in that movie. They show behavior we don't want our son to have. If you want to read the review, you can click here. Can I filter everything from him? No, but I can make the best choices I can.

I could list a lot of verses from the Bible that explain that Christians are to be set apart. When this issue really began to burn me up last night, I posted Romans 12:1-2 on my status update on facebook. It states "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." (NIV)

In light of this verse, I've seen several things recently that make me wonder why if one proclaims to be a Christian that you would openly participate in things that make that proclamation questionable. Now, you can't look at me and tell that I am saved by the grace of Jesus. So you could use the excuse that no one knows I'm a Christian when I'm out in public, so I can get away with some things. Okay, well... then, the next time I go to the grocery store and they question my use of a coupon I think I'll just curse at the cashier. No one knows I'm a Christian, right... so that makes it okay, right? Absolutely NOT. The Lord still knows what I've done. And even if no one else heard me, the Lord did. Let's take it a little further. Let's say I chose to go out to the beach one day. And with me, I take a cooler full of beer. I set up my lawn chair on the beach and while Austin digs in the sand, I booze it up... become slap out drunk. Now we can talk about child endangerment here, but that's not my point. The Bible says not to become drunken. Does anyone on the beach know that I am a Christian? No, but the Lord does. And I can tell you that living 1 mile from the school I teach at and about 5 miles from the closest beach, I am going to most likely run into one of my former students on the beach. Do you think that's a good testimony to them if they see their teacher boozing it up on the beach? I don't preach the gospel in my classroom, but my students know that I attend church and if they ask I do tell them I'm a Christian.

Recently, I have witnessed fellow believers posting pictures of themselves on facebook. These pictures show them consuming alcohol in various places. On the beach and even in bars. I won't name any names, because it's not appropriate here. But this gets under my skin. I suppose there really isn't anything wrong if you want to consume alcohol in your own home and not become drunk. But when you go out and flat out get drunk in public, what does that show with your testimony? What really set me off was an acquaintance I saw on Television. I won't get into specifics, but he was on a reality show and he stripped down to very tiny underpants. I don't want to put the name of the show or his name. I don't think it's appropriate. My point is that this disgusting act not only grossed me out, but made me wonder why someone who professes to be a Christian would do something like that. You can be funny without stripping down. Really, you can.

I went to a Chonda Pierce concert recently. She talked about some experiences she's had in the secular realm of entertainment. How no one could understand that you can do a comedy routine without cursing and being crass. However, she does it. She talked about lifestyle evangelism, and how people keep wondering how she can be so kind and loving to others, and how she can be in her line of work and not be crass and rude. Because of this, people are starting to ask her questions about her faith and why she's the way she is. She has been able to start witnessing to people just because of the example she sets.

So I'm calling on Christians to draw the line. We live in an evil world, full of behavior that constantly dances on that line. When we start to lower our guard, our standards decrease and we don't even realize it.

I might be called out on facebook because of this post, and you might be reading this and completely disagree with me. But these recent events have caused me to really examine myself and think about where my own boundaries are. Whether you disagree with me about the things that got me fired up or not, please know that my point is that you can't act like the world and then claim not to be of it. No double standards allowed.