I would just like to start off by saying that I admire Tightwad in Training's money saving skills and coupon expertise!! I have never been skilled with coupons. In fact, just yesterday I went to Target with several coupons in my purse, and by the time I gathered my list of items and ended up at the checkout, I had a crying baby in my arm, a 3 year old climbing out of the cart and coupons flying everywhere!! The clerk was SO sweet and helped me gather my coupons; if it wasn't for her, they would have gone to waste.
I think the main reason I am far from a pro coupon queen is because I simply do not have the time. As much as I would like to say I have it all balanced and smoothly functioning everyday as a mom of two, I just don't. I do what I can do and try my best. I do pride myself on being a frugal shopper, however. With a family, I strive to find the best deals for them. My husband and I have a set budget, and we stick to it which is positively key in being financially responsible because the 'unexpected' inevitably happens!!
I look for sales, but I don't go crazy hitting every sale I find because that would defeat the purpose of a sale!! ;o) I look for sales that fit me and my family. I also learn when certain items will go on sale by looking them up online and learning the stores. For example...Almost every time a new movie releases, it is $5 off for the first few days to a week at Wal-Mart or Target. Target advertises their sales in advance every Sunday through Saturday. Wal-Mart is the BEST, cheapest place to buy groceries, in my opinion. I could spend hours sorting through coupons to hit up the nearest high end grocery store or go to Wal-Mart on a whim, saving just as much money because the prices are so much lower.
Just as Tightwad in Training has recommended, I, too, ask for coupons or specials whenever I can because it's always worth asking. I sign up for the coupons I will use online, especially baby coupons like diapers, wipes, etc. because I get absolutely, positively overwhelmed when random coupons come streaming in from everywhere. I take advantage of reward codes as well, and sometimes you can find items cheaper online than in a store, esp. at Wal-Mart; if you have them delivered to the nearest store, they come at no extra charge.
My husband loves thrift stores. Although it's not my forte, you can find really good deals occasionally. One thing we try really hard to do is research what we want to buy, especially for higher purchases that take more of a chunk out of your bank account. When you do your homework, you can save sometimes hundreds of dollars just depending on where you buy from. Be careful of scams, however; they are out there, especially on Craig's List. Look for places that offer guarantees. I used to shy away from online shopping, but now, with two kids, it's much less of a hassle. I make sure I'm careful with who I buy from and what information we provide.
Everyone has their own way of saving that works for them!! I'm always open to advice and enjoy learning new ways to save money. Luckily, my husband and I are pretty low maintenance; we realize that stuff is just stuff, and we try to remember to store up treasures in Heaven because everything we have here will be gone one day. We also believe in the power of tithing, not because we have to, but because we want to, and what we have is all because of God's blessings!! We've experience financial peace as a result. Make sure you keep a savings of more than you think you will need, too. Pay off debt and establish credit. Don't overbuy, and most of all, keep following the excellent tips of Tightwad in Training!! :o