A few months into our marriage my husband and I were looking for ways to save money. We began couponing. “Couponing” refers to combining coupons and sales to save maximum money.
We took on this project with gusto–buying newspapers, asking family and friends for their weekly coupon inserts. We even bought a banquet-style folding table so could we could cut and organize every coupon into a binder. I became known as the Coupon Binder Queen. By doing this, we saved hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. The new printer I bought was immediately paid for by the coupons I printed out and used.
A whole new world was opened up to us. We bought brands and products we never thought about before, even if we had no use for them.
“We might like these,” we said, “So let’s buy. Plus, we’re getting a good deal.”
We “good dealed” our way into greater credit card debt and less space for our stuff. We had a stockpile.
Then the nagging conflict came: how can I maintain a clean and spacious one bedroom apartment while having lots of stuff around? Something had to give.
The first thing I did was assess our stockpile. What we used, I kept. What we didn’t use, I donated. Mostly we got rid of brands that we tried once or twice and didn’t care for. The upside to this is that what we stockpiled on were consumable goods–toilet paper, toothpaste, paper towels, canned goods, etc. We kept the brands we knew we would use up and donated the rest.
We still coupon today, only in moderation. We stock up on toilet paper and other consumables based solely on need. We also stock up on goods that can be donated to outreach programs: diapers, laundry detergent, canned food, etc.
We value our time together and couponing this way allows us to do that. No longer do we need to waste valuable time (and money!) running to the store to pick up items we thought we had. We have what we need. Every once in a while, we re-assess our stockpile and fill accordingly.
We’ve also been able to substantially reduce our debt because we are not buying as much as we were. We are working toward zero credit card debt, and we are a long way from it, but we are also in a much better position today than even a year ago.
This way of minimalism may not be for everybody, but it works for us. And that’s important.