Super Savings Saturday: Why I, Intrepid Mom Blogger, Bother with Coupons {and Then Blather About It to You}

*Revised 12/20/08, 11:03 AM*

Money Saving Mom is taking a well-deserved break for the holiday season so I'm linking up with the Drugstore Diva post by Denise over at The "Cents"sible Sawyer. She's one of Walmart's Elevenmoms and just started writing for their new blog, Baby Buzz.

Go head over to visit The "Cents"ible Sawyer and see all the good deals she's got posted! And say hi while you're there {*waving hi at you right now, Denise*} !

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In case you hadn't noticed, our economy is perched precariously on a big fat bailout bubble. Jobs are disappearing {particularly in the manufacturing sector}, people are saving nearly nothing* while happily charging a new Wii for the holidays**, and last summer, it cost more to put one gallon of gas in your car than it did to buy a Happy Meal for your kid.

Peeps, there's no better time to learn the art of couponing than now.

And it truly is a skill, one you have to be willing to learn on-the-job, so to speak. Luckily for you {and for me, going back to a little over a year ago} there are ever-growing resources for beginning couponers in the blogosphere.

It's not impossible to learn how to score some serious deals, but it does take an investment of your time. Go visit my friend Andrea and read this if you need some couponing instruction; she did a good job laying out the basics.

So, in the spirit of transparency {which I will never fully embrace here; some things are best filed under Eyes Only, m'kay?}, I thought I'd share the top five reasons why I coupon with you fine folk this week before showing you what deals I found this week.

Maybe, just maybe, you'll be inspired to start your own super savings journey.

Top Five Reasons Why This Intrepid Mom Blogger Bothers with Coupons:

1. FREE is my favorite flavor. There are many things you can get for absolutely ZILCH with coupons by matching high value coupons with sales items or with store loyalty programs {think CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid}.

2. Back to black. We took two losses on two homes back-to-back, all while raising two, then three small children and moving twice {we moved six times in a total of 11.5 years; ahhh, military life!}. We've got some debt to pay off as a result and have a plan to do just that.

3. Investing for our future. We've been diligent investors for many years now {always on one income}, something we've been able to do because we save in other areas of our financial lives. And peeps? That whole idea that Social Security will be there to fund your retirement? I'll be the first to buy you a beer {or a diet Mountain Dew} if there's two red cents left to rub together after all the Baby Boomers bleed it dry.

4. Sharing is nice. When I find something free or nearly free that I don't need, I still get it. I can give it to our local food pantry (they need toiletries for their clients, too, and diapers are like gold) or just give it to friends and family. I don't have a massive, Armageddon-styled stockpile in my house; when I've got more than I need, I try to share the goodies. It feels good.

5. Life lessons for the weefolk. Pinky already understands that you never buy something without first looking for the best price. Tater is my coupon collector at the store {those blinky machines are his fave}. Financial smarts start at home; I want our kids to be able to make smart money decisions one day when they're older.

And there's absolutely no shame in learning how to stretch a buck 'til it squeals - no matter how old you are.

Now, let's get down to the goodies!

WALGREENS:

I spent a total of $6.70, saving $23.02, or 77%.

I didn't earn any Register Rewards to roll over this week, but that's ok; I've rocked the past two weeks of RR deals and I have some Easy Saver Rebate money waiting to be credited to my gift card in January.

The M&Ms were pure bribery for Screamsy's good behavior; I consider it a hidden cost of couponing with small children.



CVS

I spent $2.27 in cash and $15.48 in ECBs {from previous weeks, mostly from the CVS Black Friday sale}, saving $24.37 or 91% .

Best part? This deal earned me back a whole new $10 in ECBs {Buy $20 worth of GM cereal or bars, earn $10 in ECBs} to use for my next CVS pillaging. WOOT!


WAL-MART

I spent $4.38, saving $9.42, or 68%.

My vanity demands that I tell you that I am NOT a size C in pantyhose. They were totally free, the C's, and I'm sure I'll find a way to donate them to someone who needs them.

Oh, and Mom? Pretend you're surprised when I give you the Turtles, m'kay?


So there you have it: my deals for the week. I also scored some groceries at Kroger, but the deals there were less than stellar.

Still, for $13.35 I did pretty well gathering things at other stores, things we need and use, which is why couponing rocks this mom bloggers socks.

Love you guys! Thanks for reading!

*The personal savings rate is in negative territory these days. I'd say something witty, but that fact is just plain scary.

**I'm not personally opposed to credit cards. I do think, however, that we as a nation are pretty much idiots when it comes to using them wisely.