Diary of a Couponing Newbie: All or Nothing?

by Marcy on June 22, 2011 · 7 comments


The following is a guest post written by Devin Ventre for Stretching a Buck Blog, chronicling her journey into the world of couponing. This post is part 1 in the series “Diary of a Couponing Newbie“. Learn more about “Extreme Couponing the Smart Way” in the All About Couponing Series.

Let me begin this series by saying that I am a person of zero moderation. With pretty much everything I do, I either don’t do at all, or do super hardcore, all the way. Of course, using coupons is no different: up to now, I haven’t done it at all. I’ve heard people talking about it… They seemed to save a lot of money doing it. But it irritated me that there were so many hoops to jump through to save a few bucks, and I refused to play the game. Why should I do all this work, when stores should just charge me reasonable prices??? Well, of course, they should. But they don’t. So here I am, playing the game. And a friend told me that she saves enough using coupons to have a cleaning lady. Game on!

Of course, as a person with no moderation, I don’t start by setting reasonable goals. I want to save $200 off my grocery budget the first week. Here we go…

Couponing Day 1: Today is Sunday, and I’m told that I need to go buy a Sunday paper because that’s where the coupons are. Ok. With the baby in one arm, I’m crouching down at the paper section where I spot two small local papers (which I’m told have coupons) and the Washington Post. Might as well try them to see which has the best coupon inserts. Look how I’m throwing around terms like “coupon inserts”! If you’re not impressed, then you should be. I have never done this before in my life, but I’ve bought the papers and now I’m in it for $3.25.

After a bit of clipping, I notice that the big paper, the Post, has the most coupons. I look into a subscription and it turns out that I can get the Post delivered for $0.77 a Sunday. $20 every six months to save thousands (I hope! I wish!) on my grocery budget??? That’s a no-brainer.

I get home and start clipping. I find coupons for paper towels, mascara, cereal, deodorant, bathroom cleaner – stuff I buy! Stuff I need! Hooray!

But… the MOMENT. The Aha Moment comes when I realize that the shampoo I buy and the lipstick I want, which I just cut out coupons for, are ON SALE AT A DRUGSTORE NEAR ME! On sale and a coupon! Here it is. I have arrived. I am now hardcore. The actual shopping… well, that’s for another day…


Devin Ventre is a homeschooling mother of two living in northern Virginia who wanted a cleaning lady. She couldn’t afford one, and decided to save some money using coupons. Now she has her house cleaned twice a month. This is her story.


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emily June 22, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Oh this gets better and better! First a step by step diary of someone just starting off couponing thats as clueless as me!?! Awesome! Sign me up! Looking in the Washington Post? Hey thats my paper! NoVA?!?! Sweet! Tell me your secrets and your stores ;)

2 Yvette June 22, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Love the ‘Diary” already! If you think you are in deep already wait till you make your first purchase and you will certainly be hooked. Good luck and cant wait to hear about your progress!! :)

3 Devin June 23, 2011 at 6:56 AM

Yep – NoVA! This comes out weekly, so stay tuned. :) P.S. I usually shop at Harris Teeter and CVS.

4 Emily June 23, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Everyone in the area shops at the Harris Teeter, especially since its so new and pretty :)

5 Mary T June 23, 2011 at 7:48 PM

I enjoyed your post and can’t wait for the next chapter :)

6 Heather June 29, 2011 at 9:48 AM

I agree – that first shopping trip was awesome! I can’t go back! Now I just have to get organized – my first couple trips to the register were a bit…bumbled ;)

7 Liz June 30, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Thanks for writing this blog. I’m a working/commuting mom of twin toddlers and, though I really NEED to economize every way possible, tracking sales and clipping coupons has felt beyond me. I’ve also felt like I’m the only person (stupidly) not taking advantage of all the discounts to be had. In other words, I need some hand-holding to get started!

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