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Do you buy items only if you have a coupon?

I remember one of my first big couponing trips. I came home so excited about my savings and I couldn’t wait to spread it out on the table and show my husband. He had only one question, “Where’s the Diet Coke?”

This was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted him to be excited as he oohed and aahed over what an amazing job I had done. Instead I got, “Honey, that’s great. Where is the Diet Coke?”

My answer? “It wasn’t on sale!” To me, this statement explained everything. To him it meant grabbing his keys, driving back to the store and buying some Diet Coke.

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It all comes down to one simple word: perspective.

Yes, I shop with coupons, and yes, I use them to save a substantial amount on my weekly grocery bill. But our family doesn’t have to go without things we want, or even things we flat-out love, like Diet Coke.

For example, my family still needs milk, fresh fruit and produce. We still need bread to make sandwiches, and yes, apparently we need those diet sodas.

What do I do when my family needs something I don’t have coupons for? I buy it. But, through understanding the sale cycle and building a sensible stockpile, I’m able to significantly cut down on the number of items I need every week.

My overall grocery bill is much lower; therefore, I can afford to buy items my family needs without breaking the bank.

For just one or two hours a week of time invested, most people are able to cut a significant percentage off their weekly grocery bill. They won’t have a coupon for everything they buy, but it is fairly common to save $100 a week or more. When you pull back and look at the big picture, this means saving upward of $5,200 a year.

So just keep it in perspective. If there is something that you really need, or just flat-out love — buy it. Then, start watching for a sale on that item so you can build your stockpile and increase your savings. It takes time, but each week your needs list will shrink as your savings grow, and grow and grow.

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