A little over a year ago, I decided to take a one-year leave of absence from my teaching position to test the waters of “Stay-at-Home Motherhood.” I had been dabbling in the couponing world since my daughter’s birth, and in preparation for the upcoming trial year of a one-salary household, I went into full-blown Krazy Coupon Lady stockpiling mode!

I encountered two different attitudes toward this new hobby. First were the positive people who were amazed by the phenomenal deals I was getting on household staples, toiletries, etc. Co-workers sat in awe at the lunch table while listening to me spin tales of my weekend trips to the store. Family members were thoroughly amused by my phone calls, during which I’d make them guess how much I’d spent total out-of-pocket after enumerating all the items in my weekly hauls from the grocery store and drugstores.

These couponing supporters would bring me their Sunday paper coupon inserts on a weekly basis so I had extras. Some of them would even print coupons for me from home when I’d reached my own print limits! Couponing seemed to be infectious, as many of them took up the cause as well. These “glass half-fullers” drove me toward my goal of being able to subsist on a much lower budget than my family was used to.

But this article isn’t for them. They know how much I appreciated and still DO appreciate their support. No, this article is for the naysayers. This is for the people who said, “You’ll be back to work next school year,” with a Disney Villain-esque chuckle at the end. (Okay, maybe they weren’t THAT bad, but to me, it seemed that way.) Guess what? The 2011-2012 school year is nearly over, and I was successful! It took nearly that whole year to balance our household budget so we weren’t regularly dipping into our savings, but we did it, partly due to some KRAZY couponing, and also with some sacrifices.

Here’s what we did:

1. We stopped going out to eat so much and changed the way we shopped for groceries. Now I only buy sale items and/or those for which I have coupons.

2. We downsized our utilities. We signed up for every money-saving program available through our electric company (That alone has saved us a TON of money!) We eliminated our landline and became a mobile-phone-only family. We got rid of the pricey satellite TV service and downgraded to basic cable.

3. We traded in our gas-guzzling SUV on a smaller, more economical vehicle (which also lowered our monthly car payment AND insurance costs!)

4. We built a stockpile. With our super-tight budget, I’m not able to hit up all the stores in town every week to gather up bags full of awesome deals, but I don’t HAVE to. I have my stockpile to rely upon.

I believe that I’ve become a better person with a humbler attitude and a renewed outlook on life after this year. And, guess what? I just turned in my resignation letter to make “Stay-at-Home-Mom” a permanent position!

This has been a guest post by Michelle from Port Charlotte, FL
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29 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing: How I Couponed My Way to Being a Stay-at-Home Mom”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good for you! Much to my husband’s dismay we also became a one-income household. Not for long though. I now market a site-specific body wrap that tightens, tones and firms in as little as 45 minutes. I’m not in it to make millions, I just want to help pay the bills, and It Works is helping me do that. Couponing is helping too :)

  2. GREAT article! We have a small place and not much room to store things but we stockpile as best we can. My brother was a nay sayer until his wife caught on to my deals & was in awe. She calls me weekly to help her match things up but I don’t mind sharing the love :) I give coupons to other shoppers as often as possible and it feels great helping total strangers. Congratulations on balancing the budget & becoming a stay at home momma! Someday when we are blessed with children, I hope to do the same.

  3. GOOD FOR YOU!!! Families can live on one income! I know scads of families that do; and, they are not paupers either!

  4. That’s wonderful!!!  Awesome!!
     

  5. NormaG says:

    This is great, but really nothing new to share with us couponers that know (mostly) all the tricks of the trade. I’m not really a SAHM, because I work FROM home….so I guess I have the best of both worlds :)

  6. Anna says:

    Great job!!! I too am able to stay at home and make ends meet through couponing. We went from making a six figure income to half that…… Guess what? We are happier! The kids are happier. The Lord has blessed us ten times over. :)

    • How refreshing to read your post Anna! The Lord does deserve ALL the credit doesn’t He?? =) I’m a homemaker myself. No children either. The Lord has richly blessed us as well. My husband doesn’t make 6 figures. We have learned to live within our means, use coupons and do not spend foolishly. Also we have managed to keep a savings as well. How many two incomes homes even have a savings??? I would venture to say, they’re not the majority. 

  7. Coupon Chic says:

    What an awesome story!! My husband is in the army, and we have four children.  I’m a hairstyist and with his schedule and our locations it’s really hard to be able to work and manage the children. With family and resources slim couponing has really made a difference in our monthly income! Being able to do one monthly haul typically retailing between 450-500 and with coupons paying under 150, not only gives us an extra 300 for the monthly budget but also feeds us and poors over into my stockpile. I started couponing 3 years ago and it took me awhile to get to this point but MAN OH MAN I LOVE IT :)!!  Even our 3yr old knows a coupon when she see’s it! She told my husband at the zoo yesterday, “we gotta save money daddy!” hahah LOVE IT!

  8. Gene Evensen says:

    Awesome job Michelle, although the kids at school will miss you

  9. Mary Smith says:

    Wow I’m happy for you!  I myself will be going back to being a stay at home mom again, I’m self employed and my husband is retiring after 25 years of being a city police officer.  We to will down size and start over by even moving to Tennessee were the money can stretch and double couponing is possible,  Thanks to Krazy Coupon Lady I have been couponing now for 1 year and 2 months I have a stock pile room well stocked and I even help with friends, family, community, and over seas donations,  The down side of the story is moving that stock pile and learning a new set of coupon rules lol Thanks KCL!!!!!! 

  10. Anonymous says:

    It seems many in our society don’t value the true “career” that a stay at home mom has chosen. It is ultimately the hardest and most important job anyone will ever have. I am not discounting those that don’t have the choice or have chosen not to. I have done both over the years. But, ultimately I have gained the greatest job satisfaction anyone could ask for when I look at my children ( I have 4, ages 20,17,11 &9). Happy Mothers Day to all of you Krazy coupon moms out there.

  11. Good for you!!!!  :D  I can relate to many of the things you are saying even though I’m not a mom…  My husband and I decided that I should stop working to focus on studying to try to get my license as a dentist here in the US (I’m a foreign trained dentist) and we downsized to an apartment, stopped going out to eat, got basic cable, no landline, etc…  And, even though I was already couponing before while I was working, now I’m reading this blog more and following the deals more…  We are doing good with only one income and hopefully I can also achieve my goal…  :D 

  12. Anonymous says:

    How great for you!  I am so envious.  That is all I have ever wanted to be.  :(  

  13. Anonymous says:

    The first three steps are really just learning to live within your means.. And that’s great advice, I just don’t understand how people don’t grasp this concept on their own. I’m 19 years old, married, have one child, and another on the way. My husband is a specialist in the army, and I am a stay at home mom. Since getting married I have learned couponing is a great way to save tons of money, but so is realizing you can’t always have all the nice amenities, especially on a single income. But we have what we NEED, and because we live within our means, we can have some of the nicer things we want. Plus, I get the privilege of being able to stay home with my kids. What more could you really ask for?

    • Anonymous says:

      Mamaashley ur soooo right my husband is an staff sgt in the airforce & we’re a family of 5 (17,13&1) we cant take luxury vacations every summer , but we hv what we need a nice home,2 cars & the necessities,with some of our wants so thats whats important to us& that outweighs any other job …

  14. Good for you!!!  No other job is more rewarding (nor as much work!)

  15. Unfortunately for me, even spending a minimum like i do now for food and toiletries is not enough of a savings for me, to quit my job.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I too am a stay at home couponing mommy & I absolutely love it my hubby is military we dont hv a huge income but we do pretty good ,we save good also & hv been able to afford a brand new vehicle due to my extreme savings…luv the article !

  17. Kate Smith says:

    way to go! I used to live in Port Charlotte and I’m glad someone close to home can make it couponing like this Congrats!

  18. Definitely, so true! Since my fiance and I found out I was pregnant, I went into overdrive with couponing/budgeting too, because we want me to be able to stay home with my baby when she gets here. Couponing definitely helps. They paychecks I got during pregnancy I would use to buy diapers when there were good sales and (since I worked at Babies R Us) I would pick up great deals on baby stuff when it would get clearanced or there was a great sale/coupon. We have a big stockpile and all the toothpaste and toothbrushes we should need for a good long while. :) I would go so far as to say it would be impossible (for us, at least) to be a stay-at-home-mom without couponing.

  19. My children are 16 & 9…they really don’t need a stay at home mom.  I have been the money maker for the family for the last 14 years.  I’m now at that point where I would like to wake up in the morning & enjoy going to work.  I have built up a stock pile to rival an armory.

    Time for mom to live her dreams on making furniture!!  Thanks for the great article!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I used to dream of making furniture also, until I got a splinter in my finger.

      • Leah Harris says:

        Wait… I don’t think she said anything about making furniture.  It was about quitting to be a stay-at-home mom.  gotcha.

        • Anonymous says:

          You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool Pizzaz anytime!…LOL  Nice try though…Haha! :-)

  20. You are so inspiring! You have done a fantastic job with all the changes to stay within what you need. 

  21. Anonymous says:

    Becoming a “Stay-at-Home-Mom” is one of the greatest things that you can do for your children!  Good for you!  As far as the haters go…
    When people get jealous of you, it’s because they find you great in some way. Envy is a mental cancer. Remember that!