My household doesn’t work like most other household, meaning “family” households with kids and stuff like that. My household is pretty simple: a one bedroom apartment which holds my long-long-term boyfriend Chris, myself, and two cats just coming out of being kittens. We recycle as much as possible and don’t stick to brand names and the usual “necessities” of life that most people do (like we use 1-ply toilet paper instead of the 2-ply ultra quilted crap most people buy because they are so afraid of getting near all that they have to use a giant, over-kill barrier :P).
That’s a good thing too because I am the one who has to buy all the household/grocery stuff; Chris pays the bills for the utilities and the apartment. I don’t make anywhere near as much money as he does and, even with couponing, I often live paycheck to paycheck. Before couponing I would spend anywhere from $150-200 for two weeks worth of groceries and that wasn’t a lot of groceries either even with the simple, non-name brand stuff we buy. I would often be buying the real necessities like milk and toothpaste and then only have a small bit left over for other things. It was hard and I know a lot of people in my area struggle with the same issue. Which is why I am so happy I took up couponing! I have even gotten my mother into it, she only does it small time though. She came over once and was like “you have enough shampoo for an army, I think you can stop now. Chris, you need to have a talk with her.” And, bless him, Chris said “the grocery bills didn’t change so I don’t have a problem with it. Keeps us stocked.” x3
Anyway, that’s the issue isn’t it? Stockpiling. Couponing is great for saving money and getting what you need for dirty cheap. However, in order to really be effective at it, you need to stockpile which means you need space. Obviously, a one bedroom apartment is not that big and so I had to get creative with storage. Well, not excessively because we got a little added bonus for being on the third floor (top floor) in our building. The first two hold all the water and electrical equipment for the building but there is nothing on the third floor so we get that little bit of extra space to use ourselves. It’s not much, but it is big enough to fit two large storage racks that give me four big shelves to store stuff on!
Really just a little space like that can be so helpful. Even if you don’t have a sweet bit of extra square footage like I do, those racks work wonders for storage and saving space. The shelves are really nice and big and, at four shelves high, you can fit a LOT of stuff on them. Sure, big storage shelves may not look nice in the living room (if that’s the only place you have for them) but you could always get a really long piece of cloth to drape over the top shelve and put only the stuff you don’t mind people seeing up there. Got to work with what you have right?
I also use the cupboards and such in the kitchen and bathroom to store things like toilet paper and dish soap (I try to keep some things in the rooms they will be used in, especially the major things like toilet paper!). While the storage racks mentioned about can help a great deal in keeping things organized, if you don’t have space for them then there are ways to keep your cupboards organized too. Just like with a utensil holder, they make different sized storage containers for drawers as well as stands for inside cupboards, just look around the kitchen section at your locale store and be creative!
My point is, I hear a lot of people saying they would love to start couponing but 1) don’t have the time and/or 2) don’t have the space. I am not going to argue time right now (even though the internet makes it so easy!) but space shouldn’t be an issue so long as you take a little bit when you first start and plan out what you want to do. When I first started, I already had the storage racks set up and they were easy to keep organized, but when it came to bulky things like paper towels and laundry detergent I had to think about it. And remember, you have to be weary of WHERE you place things too! I started out with my extra laundry detergent in the storage shed outside but I can’t leave it in there with winter coming because it would freeze. Understand? Hot, cold, wet, dry… you have to think about that too.
Yes, planning out a storage system can be annoying (ask a friend to help!) but once you get it down things will run smoothly. And if you are planning to move sometime soon, that’s a good thing to add to your list of things to look for: storage space and places you could set up storage. With me it was all touch and go for a little while because I had enough extra space with just the two of us to play around and see what worked best, but I eventually found a great system (which reminds me: those storage racks do have a max load per shelf and I like to rotate things from one shelf to another every so often just to even things out, just a thought).
So, storage is possible in small spaces no matter how many people you have running around. Not to mention that since your providing for those people a lot better with couponing, I don’t think they will mind seeing a few things of mustard sitting around you know? And, a bit of hope, once I got into couponing and started saving a lot of money, I was able to buy some household items that were really nice and helped things out (like a new microwave stand that has closed storage, looks nice and holds a bunch of stuff). Starting out is always a bit tough, but it evened out for me in about 2-3 months to where I had everything in a good place where everyone in the house agreed and was able to pick up a few things that helped out with the extra money I was saving.
My household is a small, one-bedroom apartment but even with all the stuff I have packed away in here it looks very cozy and spacious. I know my household doesn’t work the same as many other peoples, namely those with kids, but the thoughts and ideas are the same. Everyone wants to provide for their loved ones, it just takes a little thought and organization to really do it well with couponing. Truly, anyone can do it and if you have any trouble you can always ask for help!