Tuesday, October 4, 2011


October 4, 2011

As fuel costs have soared the amount of mystery shopping I do has been curtailed severely. Since we live so far from town I need a minimum of $25 worth of payout to even leave the driveway to cover the cost of the fuel and to make it worth an hour or so of my time to do a mystery shop.

OR I need to combine it with already scheduled errands. So I’ve gone from several shops a week to maybe 4 or so a month. This has slowed down our gazelle for being totally debt free greatly too. This has bothered me hugely.

I want Gary retired as soon as possible. I do not want to end up like my parents, always waiting to do something some day. My parents always said they would “go to such and such and do such and such some day”, but they both died young, without ever doing it.

Gary and I have big travel plans and we don’t want to wait for some day. Right now if all goes according to schedule we should be totally debt free in 2 years 9 months and 3 weeks—that is too long to wait as far as I am concerned. So having extra “gazelle feed” to get debt free is very important to us. I needed a way to stretch more money out of our budget or make more money, but what?

I had been mulling that over for weeks.

For a while Gary was traveling for work, so I ended up watching a lot of late night tv. I guess I watched 20 “Extreme Couponing” shows before a light went on in my dim little head. I could go BACK to couponing.

Yes “back to”. You see in the late ‘70’s through the mid ‘90’s I was what was called back then a “Coupon Queen”, now called an “Extreme Couponer”. The best I ever did in a grocery store was $650 and they paid me around $9.50 to exit the store. I then went home and did rebates on almost everything I had purchased. For years we seldom paid for groceries, but it was a lot of work.

Our first trip to Walt Disney World was paid for by couponing in 1981. We really want to make another major trip to Walt Disney World within the next year, as well as speed up our getting debt free.

Then I closed down my baby sitting service, and both kids moved out. With just Gary and I and me being a scratch cook I slowly drifted away from couponing. When we moved I pretty much stopped completely.

Life got busy and I just never got back into it, until now.

It’s been 14 years since I was the coupon queen and things have changed tremendously. 14 years ago there were no internet coupons, rebates were the order of the day, and grocery stores had coupon/rebate boards readily available. Plus stores doubled and sometimes tripled my coupons.

Now there are store loyalty cards, register rewards, each store chain has a different set of rules, no doubling/tripling of coupons in our area and we no longer subscribe to a paper.

I had no idea where to start.

I do know from my past experience that doing this is a LOT of work. I also know it can get out of control very easily. I do not want or need to end up with storage closets full of items we never use, or could never use up. I want to continue to do scratch cooking for health reasons. Nor do I want to spend all my time clipping coupons and searching ads. Therefore, I need a happy balance.

The next few posts on my blog will be my journey back to being a coupon queen, but not an extreme queen. I’d like to invite you along for the ride.

Jan who hopes her following posts will help others get started into couponing as well in OK

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