Extreme Couponing, Baby’s First Illness, and Party Planning

June 29, 2011

I’m still alive! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Summer always seems to sneak up on us, even though we spend months waiting for it. And it brings the go-go-go along with it. Add in a new hobby, a sick baby, and, well… blogging has been the last thing on my mind!

But first, I have a confession to make. I started couponing. Yes, I will wait while you cyber-slap me.

I even made one of those embarrassing binders. The kind with a zipper. Yes, it’s okay if you want to hit me again.

Can I just say that it’s pretty cool, though? And can I make a promise never to dumpster dive or steal newspapers from neighbors or hoard 60+ bottles of mustard or store paper products under Grant’s bed?

Anyhow, all joking and apologies aside… couponing is addicting. It also takes a lot of organization, both at home and at the store. I’ve already found some ways to save us quite a bit of money on things we actually buy. For example, we are buying food for our 4th of July BBQ and our son’s birthday party, which means a lot of grilling out and food in general. I already have some great deals to get for hot dogs, ice cream, lemonade, and watermelon. I have a deal for the makings for s’mores for when we go camping, too.

One of the important things I’m learning is not to get too caught up in it all of the hype and excitement… it won’t save you money if you keep buying things you wouldn’t normally use, just because you can get a good deal on them. But yesterday, by combining coupons, I scored a good bottle of nail polish for 49 cents. Today, I combined coupons on a pain relief item (which retails for $8.49) that was already on sale, which made it completely FREE. My husband didn’t believe me when I told him I was going to Walgreens and getting it for free, and he’s been teasing me about couponing, but even he looked proud when I showed him that receipt. 😉

What I like about couponing is that you can do as little or as much as you want. It can be very time consuming, though, especially if you want to get as many good deals as possible. There are blogs devoted to finding a lot of these deals for you, though… but, once you see how it’s done, it’s pretty easy to find ways to do it yourself. Tonight, I noticed that I had a Target coupon ($3 off) for a certain brand of lotion, and also had a manufacturer coupon ($1 off) for that same brand. Target allows you to combine their store coupons with a manufacturer coupon, which means I will be able to save $4 on a bottle of lotion. How cool is that?

Here are my recommendations for anyone who is interested in couponing, and “extreme couponing.”

1) Suck it up and make a binder. Organization is key. This link is wonderful for explaining how to make one, and even has a video. The currency pages are WONDERFUL for storing coupons (I got the ones that store 4 per page and it’s perfect for printable coupons, which tend to be longer). I paid $9.99 for my binder at Target (I went with the one mentioned in the video), but it might be worth checking out some discount stores or clearance bins first.

2) Prepare for your trip ahead of time, and always take your binder with you (even if you leave it in the car). Shopping, and then checking out at the register, will be much easier if you have a plan. Have a list. Have your specific coupons ready and separate from the rest of your binder. Do you really want to be digging at the register, with a line of people waiting?

3) Follow some blogs, or at least their facebook pages. My favorites? Coupon Divas and The Krazy Coupon Lady. They will give you a heads up on hot sales, new coupons, couponing tips, and ways to stack what you have in order to get great deals.

4) Start small. Get used to how things work before you dive in and try to make a super huge purchase with a hundred coupons. Grab a couple of things and see how your local stores handle coupons, and get the hang of it with one or two small, easy items.

5) Familiarize yourself with store coupon policies, and know how coupons work. Check out the blogs I mentioned above, they have a lot of tips and explain all this stuff. Print out coupon policies for the stores you frequent, in case you have to explain to a cashier that yes, their store policy DOES allow you to stack coupons.

6) Get your printer ready! Most of my coupons have come off the internet. Target has tons of store coupons on their website. Also check out Coupons.com, Red Plum, Smart Source, and similar sites for printable coupons. And Coupon Divas has a wonderful coupon database where you can search for specific brands and items, and The Krazy Coupon Lady has a huge list of coupons.

7) Get the Sunday newspaper and check out those inserts. I’m going to start picking up the paper, and may possibly subscribe. This is a great chance to get manufacturer and store coupons, browse sales, and start planning your shopping trips for the week. I’m also a sucker for the weddings, engagements, and anniversaries section of the Sunday paper.

8 ) Take a deep breath. It can seem overwhelming, but don’t panic. Have fun with it. Don’t try to play catch up; start small and do what you can. You don’t have to clip every coupon. But do clip what you can… you never know when another coupon will come along from another place, and you’ll be able to score a wonderful (or free!) deal.

* * * * *

In other news… my son got sick for the first time last week. And it was awful. He came down with a fever on Wednesday night (got up to at least 102.9, possibly higher). I was worried he had strep but it turned out to be an ear infection. He quickly became sick of medicine and thermometers.

It was a VERY rough few days, for both of us. It is hard to have no help and take care of a sick baby 24/7. I felt so bad for him, but at the same time I found myself becoming frustrated with him. If I even thought about putting him down, he screamed. He had to be touching me at all times. He struggled to sleep. He spent 95% of the time whining or crying or fussing. It was awful. And then, of course, I’d feel guilty for thinking of myself because the poor kid was so miserable. It is really sad to see a sick baby, and you just want to take all of their pain away. They don’t understand what’s going on.

Needless to say, I am soooo thankful to have my happy boy back! The last few days have been wonderful. He is turning into such a fun little boy… so silly and sweet.

* * * * *

Finally, I just have to say that I cannot believe I am planning Grant’s first birthday already. It is crazy! Where did this year go? It makes me so sad. It is very, very hard to let go of Baby Grant and realize he is quickly turning into Toddler Grant.

At the same time, it is such a fun ride. It is so fun watching him learn new things, try things, make progress. I am beginning to accept that we are leaving babyhood and it’s time to embrace this next step. Right now, he is majorly (MAJORLY) in love with books. Of course, I am thrilled. He goes for his book bin before his regular toy bin. He will lie on the floor (on his belly, so cute) surrounded by a bunch of books, and flip through them and look at the pictures and babble. And, yes, try to eat them. But that’s okay, as long as his love for books sticks around!

Anyhow, I got his birthday party invitations done today (photo ones, how fun!) and they are in the mail. Yesterday I was wide awake in bed at 6:30am, panicking because omg his birthday is really soon and we haven’t even sent out invitations. But they are done, and I have his party supplies, and I am getting really excited for it. Even though I will probably spend at least some time that day crying because holy cow my boy is getting too big and I can’t do anything to stop him and I love him so much it hurts.

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3 Responses to “Extreme Couponing, Baby’s First Illness, and Party Planning”

  1. mamalooma said

    YAY! I love when you blog!

    I totally made a binder 2 weeks ago! Ha! I’m basically just sick of spending money on toilet paper and stuff like that. Only I HAVE dumpster dived! But I live by apartment buildings with newspaper bins (covered) in the alleys, so on Sunday at 1pm I opened up some lids and grabbed some inserts. They were right on top so it was no big deal. But yeah, I felt kind of crazy.

    Poor sicky. I hate when the kids are sick. I had to nurse Greta all night for about 4 days and hold her 24/7 for 4 days when she had her fever/whatever was going on with her. I was wondering if was an ear infection too but she seems to be on the mend!

    It’s hard to let the baby days go, but the toddler ones are fun too!

    • I love that you made a binder. 🙂 I feel less dorky now!

      Yeah, some dumpster diving is cool. But I’ll never crawl into a stinky dumpster around here! But newspaper bins? Heck yeah, if there was such a think here.

      Yeah, sick kids are no fun. Grant actually didn’t want to nurse much, which was frustrating because I didn’t want him to get dehydrated. The first night he nursed a ton, but the next few days was pretty minimal.

      Glad Greta seems to be feeling better!

      Yeah, it’s hard to let go of babyhood. 😦 I just get sooooo damn sentimental. But I am having so much fun with him now. I’m realizing that the baby stuff is more enjoyable than FUN, you know? But this new stuff is really FUN. I can only imagine once he’s running around! haha

    • I say “yeah” a lot. And “but.”

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