Monday, July 22, 2013

TOS CREW Review- Christi the Coupon Coach-Couponing Made Simple


Couponing.  Heard of it?  Yeah, I thought so.  You would have to be a hermit hiding under a rock these days to not know that there is a coupon frenzy going on in the United States. 
There are lot of sites out there to help you get started,  lots of coupons and lots of money to be saved.  The problem is where does one know how to start. 

I have a solution!

Christi the Coupon Coach, aka Christi Bassford- wife and mom to four,  has taken all the details and ideas and put them into one simple to follow book,  Couponing Made Simple.  I spend a lot of time reviewing kids' products, so yes, this one was just for mom.  As many of you know, I also am passionate about saving money, so with our recent move, new stores and no more military commissary, I was eager to look at couponing with a fresh stat and review the "rules of engagement".  That's military talk, don't 'ya know! ;)
Let me tell you about what this book IS and ISN'T, then we will get into some details! 
First- the chapters-
Success Stories- She has lots to share here and throughout the book.  They are fun to read (pictures included) and hopefully will inspire you!
A New Way to Shop-A quick overview of what couponing is.
The Language of Couponing- BOGO, Blinkies, OPP, Peelies.  Lost yet?  Christi will explain it all.
Organization System- Learn some of the different ways people organize.
Step by step process- By far, the best way to know exactly what to do!
Tips and Tools- Each time you shop you will learn something new, usually from mistakes.  The easy way to learn is from the lessons learned from someone else.
Couponing Ethics- This is NOT about breaking rules and being obnoxious.  This section should be a must read for anyone out there using coupons.
Networking and Communicating- Using the resources out there explained.
Bonus Sections- Other places you can save!
Beyond Couponing- Christi is a Christian and not afraid to proclaim her beliefs.  Love this about her!
Some Take Aways
 "This is not "Extreme", but Real couponing for Real people.
I teach buying a reasonable amount of products using an organizational system that takes a reasonable amount of time for great savings!"
 (from the website)
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That quote is one of the first things that attracted me to this book.  I have read many ones like it.  I even own a few.  But be forewarned...some can be extreme.  I am not an extreme shopper.  I do not have nor want a closet full of toothbrushes, or toilet paper, or whatever the sale of the day is.  I do however want enough to get me through until the next sale comes along. 
It is not ALL about coupons.  Several chapters Christie writes are about finding savings in other forms-  yard sales and thrift for example.  Those are  GOOD places to save money and she has some great tips and ideas for you.
It doesn't have to take all your time.  I am a busy homeschooling mom of 4, who has a life.  And is still trying to settle into a new town and life, thank you.  I do not devote hours to couponing.  Nor does Christie tell you that you have to.  She does however offer several different ways to cut (or not cut) and organize coupons.  I encourage you to find what fits for your time and motivation level and go for it.  This is not the time to try to keep up with the Joneses.
My family does not eat a lot of processed food.  There - I said it, because I know it is one of the arguments against couponing.  There was a time that we did and yes, we saved A LOT of money then.  Let's face it, there are a lot of coupons out there for boxed, canned and bagged food.  If that is where you are, then you will find BIG savings.  Trust me.  Also trust me though when I say if you eat a more back to basics diet you can still save.  We do. 
You do not have to do it alone!  If you are one of those people that loves looking up sales, comparing prices and making lists, God love 'ya.  I am not one of those people.  I, instead head to those people's blogs and use what they have so faithfully put together.  Christi says it is as simple as a Google search of your favorite grocery store plus coupon matches plus your town or state.  In other words, for me I did this week HyVee+CouponMatches+SouthDakota.  You can do the same thing for drugstores which are by the way, my FAVORITE places to save money. 

You do not have to spend money to save.  Christi does recommend buying a paper per family member, but if you are not at a place you can do that, then don't.  I have at most bought two.  Now, I have also been known to ask people for the coupons they are not using.  If you know of a neighbor or relative is just trashing them, be bold and ask for them!  There are also lots of free sites out there that will notify you of store sales, store coupons and manufacturers coupons out there for those items.  It's called stacking, and Christi does a great job of explaining it all.  Promise.  Just as a side note, I do pay a few dollars a month to use a site called The Grocery Game that does that for you as well.  I just found that I liked the way it was laid out best and I like the forums that have amazing people saving amazing amounts of money.  It works for me.  Again, find what works for you and get busy!
Ok, so for a small, and I mean small example.
I am new in this small town and the only gigs here are the farmers market, HyVee (never heard of them before a few weeks ago!) and a Walmart, so I am still trying to figure out what best fits our needs and budget.   It has been a challenging learning curve.  Meat prices alone are at least double to what I was getting at our military commissary.  BUT, Christi reminded me that there are still savings to be found.  I have asked when markdown day is and I am again relearning to stock up on meat when it is on sale.  No coupons necessary, just a watchful eye.
Again, we do not buy much processed foods these days, but there are still essentials out there that we need that you can find coupons for...milk, butter, mayonnaise, mustard, oil, peanuts, an occasionally healthy chip (is there really such a thing?) and the dreaded cereal.  Yes, I am still trying to get that one out of our lives but that is when the other family  members call a mutiny meeting.  Juice is another big one.  We do not drinks sodas, coffee, or tea here so water is pretty much it.  Because of that, and again the possible family mutiny, I do still buy juice and allow the kids to have one glass each in the morning.  Yes, I am mean that way and that would be another post.  Vitamins, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, tissues, hair care and soap are yet other items that we utilize coupons for.  We have lost our major drugstore chains here, but I assure you that with their sales, coupons and loyalty cards, you can get much of that stuff free or for very little money.  DO NOT buy that stuff without using a coupon.
So here was a little experiment...
First off, this was not my weekly grocery run.  I went out specifically to buy only items I had coupons for.  So none of these things were on sale at the time.  But I spent $33.03  and saved $ 9.75 .  Two items were not coupon items- the crab and the peaches.  Like Christi says look for sale on meat (fake, I know, but for my diet) and on seasonal produce.  Both were rock bottom prices so I bought them.  Had I been smart, and not still a bit frazzled from the move, I would have only bought what was on sale AND used coupons for those items.  Yes, it may mean you have more of one thing than another for that week, but after a few weeks it evens out and you "shop" from your pantry instead of buying at full price out of desperation.  It also may mean you alter your menu to take advantage of sells. 
Either way, you have saved money.  Was this example a ton of savings?  No.  But every little bit adds up and in no time you have extra money in your budget.  I have personally saved a ton of money couponing.  There are times I have saved more than I spent.  It is a great feeling and even fun when the cashier cheers you on.  Or when your husband tells you how proud he is of you. 
If you want to get started, Couponing Made Simple,  $18.00 or $4.99 in Kindle,  is a great resource for you.   Fix yourself a cup of tea, sit down with this book and let Christi coach you through the steps.  She will bless you greatly and probably even save you some money along the way.




  1. I just started using coupons and looking for sales/bargains. If the Hyvee has a card, get it! I probably save the most using my Dillons card. Also, remember, WalMart will price match:) Great review!

  2. I agree that every little savings adds up. I learned some new things and have saved some more money!


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