Being able to stay at home and raise my son has been such a wonderful blessing. When the thought of having to get a job outside of my home again almost became a reality, I was beside myself.
Now that I am using coupons and stockpile shopping, I am saving our family around $400.00-$500.00 a month on our grocery bill. Without those coupon savings, I would be forced to leave the home and work for someone, while my son went to daycare. I recognize how lucky I am to be able to continue to stay at home, as I know others are not as fortunate.

Using Coupons + Saving Money = Happy Home
I have been able to teach a close friend the "art" of using coupons effectively to save money. She, in turn, has taught a friend.....and so the savings go on. Both of these woman are stay at home moms like myself and were just looking for a way to make ends meet. Using the information they had learned, they set out on a venture to acquire several inserts per week. Having multiple coupon inserts if by far the quickest way to grow your stockpile and your savings.

Their quest caught the attention of the local newspaper in their town, and a story was published about them.
Sunday paper inserts are just another recyclable item for some people to put in the bin on Monday morning, but for two ladies in the area, the coupons found in these inserts are huge money savers for their families and others who are in need.
Using Coupons To Save Money
Mary Winslow of Center Barnstead and Denise Rainey of Strafford are two coupon collectors who share a passion for not only saving money, but for providing for their families. Searching and collecting coupons for the past several months have put more money back in their pockets, while at the same time helped their local food pantries during these tough economic times.

"We've figured that we have both saved in the thousands of dollars now on items," Winslow said. "Who doesn't want to save money, even if you do make a good income?"

Both Winslow and Rainey are stay-at-home mothers who homeschool their children. Their husbands are the sole provider when it boils down to income, but lately the two have pitched in by finding ways to get discounted or free items by way of using coupons.

"I've had people say to me that they don't have time to do this," Winslow said. "I'll say back to them to think about it since I think they don't have time not to do it."

During the week, they both will cut a few hundred coupons out from flyers and newspaper inserts, which takes them around an hour to do with help from their children. When they are finished, they put them in an organized binder and sort through them to make sure all the expired ones are thrown out and the new coupons are up to date.

Some coupons that the two collect will have a dollar off a single item, and some stores will sell that particular item for a dollar or less. When searching through the inserts, Winslow and Rainey try to find the best deals, which have led them to get various toiletries for free.

Winslow started collecting coupons in April, learning the process from Rainey who just started in March. While visiting a friend in Connecticut, Rainey learned to use coupons from a friend who had been doing it for some time. While visiting her, she learned from her friend the techniques that she uses today, which has helped save her hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

"I was amazed from what I learned from her," Rainey said. "She has cut her food budget, not kidding, just household spending, by 89 percent."

Rainey said she has cut about 76 percent of her spending by using coupons. The reason why her friend in Connecticut has saved a bit more is because there are stores down that way that triple coupons.

"We shop at a variety of different stores," Winslow said. "We collect the coupons and do research on what deals are happening are different stores."

Using Coupons To Save Money Winslow and Rainey commonly go to places in town that double manufacture's coupons up to $1, such as Vista Foods or Shaw's. Once a week the two travel up to the Lakes Region to collect and use coupons at various department and grocery stores. The best deals, according to Winslow, are finding more than one coupon of a really good deal.

"For example, if there is a coupon for a dollar off a certain kind of toilet paper and you go to a store that sells it for a dollar or less, it's free," Winslow said. "If you can have twenty of those coupons, I mean, who doesn't need toilet paper?"

This provides an addition savings, which allows them to purchase more items, and any additional items can be donated to a pantry or other place in need.

"For instance, if we have a 75 cents coupon for something and bring it there, it's now a $1.50 off and we've been able to get a few things free that way," Winslow said.

Winslow said she usually goes grocery shopping once a month for her family. Last week she went shopping and by using coupons she collected, she was able to save $198 on her grocery bill.

"Just think about it, with all that money you can save from your grocery budget, you can put that toward something else that your children wouldn't be able to do or have normally," Rainey said. "We're living on one income and it just helps."

The two collect coupons for their own families but also go out of their way to help others by providing food and toiletry items to food pantries in Barnstead and Strafford.

"We both donate heavily to our local food pantries in town," Winslow said. "The food pantries are always glad to see products other than food come in since a majority of what they receive is just food products."

Some of the extra toiletries that Winslow and Rainey collect are donated to the pantries, which they say are very thankful to receive. For those who are having financial problems, they will put together care packages together from the items they've been able to get for free or very cheap. With the right coupons and during a certain sale week, Rainey and Winslow can get food items and other products at low or no cost.

Next month Winslow plans on collecting items for soldiers who are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Winslow, along with Rainey, will be putting together care packages with toiletry items that are in high request by soldiers.

"We were going to see what we could get with coupons and send that stuff overseas to the troops," Winslow said.
*article copied from the Laconia Citizen

Being able to teach others and see the results first hand is truly one of the best parts of doing what I do. I get to see someone else benefit from being a smart, educated consumer who uses coupons to save and in turn gets to continue to stay at home with their children. Another happy home is made thanks to coupons.



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