Coupons deserve its own blog post, because it has been truly life changing. In July, I watched an episode of Extreme Couponing for the first time in years. I asked myself- How do they do it? Is it really possible? I had a lot more time on my hands this year to figure it out. Now, 5 months later, it is a way of life for me, and I will never go back.
Today, I checked my Rite Aid account, and I earned 1,000 points and reached Gold Status. (1 Point= $1.)
As you can see from the photo, I am currently at 1,005 points. It will reset back to zero on January 1st, 2015, but my Gold Status will remain. (20% off everything in the store.) It shows my total sale and UP Reward discount, but it does not account for my coupons...
So essentially got over $1,000 in products for around $100 in real dollars. This week alone, my shopping trips to Rite Aid will get me roughly $40 in products for free. (4 bottles of Excedrin, Ivory soap, 4 Herbal Essence body washes, Monster energy drinks, Christmas candy (M&M's and Dove), Axe Shave Gel, and 6 boxes of Playtex Tampons.)
AND THIS IS JUST RITE AID! I have been getting free and cheap stuff from Shop Rite, CVS, Walgreens/Duane Reade, Walmart, and Target. In total, it is more like $2,000 retail value of products over 5 months for only 10% of the actual cost. That is more money than my part-time job in college paid me for an entire YEAR of work. Couponing is literally a part-time job, or at least like a revenue stream.
Seriously, it has ruined me forever. I can never go back to paying full retail EVER again.
|This is a screenshot of my Rite Aid member dashboard.|
|Aside from toiletries to the poor, I was able to score a lot of really great toy deals to give to the Children's Ward at the hospital and Toys For Tots.|
My parents no longer have to worry about dish washing soap, laundry detergent, toiletries, cleaning products, etc. We have 6 people in this house, so trust me, these things get used up really quickly. It has only been in the past few months that I truly realized how much money it takes to run a big family.
It's mind-boggling how much money my parents must have spent over the years without using coupons. I feel AMAZING to know that I have this skill before I even get married and have even one child of my own.
For the first time in my life, I walk around my house, and everything is a name brand product. Tide, Colgate, Palmolive...
I was always one of those people who scoffed at name brand clothes or products, because I thought: "What's the difference?"
In some cases, it's true. There is not much of a difference. In other cases, it is clearly better quality.
I can't even explain how desperately I wanted to help my family with their struggles. My dad is disabled, my younger brothers are still in High School and college, and the Depression is really hitting us hard. I would feel so powerless when I would see us running out of things around the house, and I could not afford to buy anything. I would actually hide products that I bought in my room to make sure I was the only person using it, so it lasted longer.
Now, I have back-ups of just about everything in my closet. It's like having my own personal drug store. If we run out of shaving cream, I just open my closet, take it off the shelf, and bring it to the bathroom.
It truly makes me feel empowered. I feel like no matter how poor I get, I will never have to worry about coming up with the money to buy these necessities again. I have enough back-up necessities to last me a few months, if an emergency happened. And no matter how rich I may become some day, I will never waste unnecessary money into products that I can get for 90% off.
My goal for 2015 and beyond is to have a big enough stockpile so that whenever my brothers and I move out and start out own families, I will be able to give them a gigantic box of things that will save them hundreds of dollars to get their lives started. I also want to make sure my parents have everything they need. I also want to gather enough to give to even more charities next year.