My dear husband, a stay at home dad, has gone nuts.  Not just nuts, but chips, pretzels and just about anything that he can buy at a coupon providing discount!   There's buried treasure in those grocery store aisles, and hubby is out to stake his claim!

It seems that he's not alone.  With plenty of time on his hands, he and a few other stay at home dads have joined forces, so let the grocery stores beware.  Together, with black binder in hand, they share and compare coupons, fully armed and dangerous.  I must admit, I do appreciate his enthusiasm.  His hobby isn't such a bad thing – he's not a gambling man, nor a drinker, and certainly not a womanizer.  The current economic crunch with its low job security and  the currently increasing rate of inflation can only encourage us to tighten our belts.

But  darling, didn't we agree to stop eating junk food!  Don't you remember, we were both getting too big for our britches (literally) and had to make some major changes in the way we ate.  Now – or so I thought – we eat only whole grain foods, fresh, not canned, overly salted or processed food.  With a little time and effort, we've more or less regained our lovely youthful figures.  So what in the world are peanut butter filled cookies, chips, cake mix, and frozen pizza doing in my kitchen?

My darling hubby says he got all this stuff “gratis“ after buying other stuff that we really need, like toothpaste, shaving cream and potatoes.  I guess that makes sense – buy a bag of essentials, get a bagful of junk food absolutely free!  Imagine that. 

So now I want to know:  is it possible for a coupon carrying cowboy to leave the grocery store with only desired purchases?    So I did a little digging.  I found out that other wives had the same learning curve to experience for their coupon-toting husbands.  And I found out that there is an answer to all of this. 

Think, “Is it a necessity”?  

I told him I really appreciate what he is trying to do.  After all coupons won't cut our grocery in half, but certainly help reduce it.  I got a bit invoved.  Before clipping a coupon,  think:  is this something we really need?  Is this something we will actually use?  If the answer is no, then why bother first clipping, then buying, then taking up valuable space at home if it was always a flavor that nobody liked and a style that no one would be caught dead wearing!

Good quality coupons do exist. 

I found at least one, and they are called Catalinas.  Purchased at our local gas station with a fill-up, we accumulated $150 in free coupons, which I started using for fresh produce, meats, and cheeses.  There are others as well:  like quality hair conditioners (buy one, get one free), oatmeal, deodorants and detergents – got to keep your eyes peeled for these!  These are things I would normally buy, with or without the coupons, and naturally mean the most to me and my budget.

A postive for a negative.

Those items which we ended up not using, we ended up giving away to a food pantry charity. Some say, why would you give away something that you wouldn't use, but no two people have the same food choices, and it's a much better decision than throwing it away.  I heard the experience of a poor mother without money to buy or make a cake for her child's birthday.  As it happens, her weekly grocery bag contained the unexpected box of cake mix and frosting, which nearly brought her to tears!