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Hi! I’m Dana, the writer behind the scenes of The Coupon Challenge, a Hampton Roads based coupon blog. Are you looking for ways to save your family money? The Coupon Challenge provides coupons to help you save on groceries, restaurants, clothing, and everything in between.I strive to help you save on the products you need, so you can spend more on the things you want.
You’ll find store matchups to help you get more bang for your buck as well as links to score free products. I’ll keep you appraised of free/cheap events, give frugal advice and even offer chances to win giveaways!

Take a look at my getting started series if you’re new to the world of coupons. You may also be interested in my weekly menu plans and freezer cooking as a way to save time and money in the kitchen. Look around to find out how I can help you lower your monthly budget, so you can spend your hard-earned dollars on what is most important in your life.

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More About Me:

I have been with my wonderful husband, Derrick, for 11 years. We have 2 energetic kids that keep me on my toes. Monkey is 6 and LuLu is 3. We live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.  I welcome you to meet my family and learn about our spending habits.

After my son was born, my coupon usage became more of an obsession. I’ve always enjoyed finding a good bargain and watching my grocery spending become less each month. I have taken this further into frugal living by cooking more, wasting less, shopping for the best deals, and much more. I have found that I can put more money into things that are beneficial and enjoyable to my family by changing my spending habits.

Once we were debt free (except for our house), we continued saving money so I could stay home with our 2 children.  We enjoy using our savings to spend time together as a family and create memories.   We also love traveling and exploring the World – day trips camping or hiking, heading to Disney World or taking a Cruise.  My husband and I have fond memories of family vacations growing up and we want to share those same experiences with our kids.

I started blogging in January 2010. I used to send out emails to family and friends with all the deals I was finding. I felt like I was bombarding their inbox’s with deals (which I was). I wanted a place where they could go at their leisure to find coupons and deals, thus The Coupon Challenge was born!

I love comments and getting to know my readers.  Leave a comment or send me an email to say hi!  I’m always looking to improve The Coupon Challenge, so let me know your thoughts, needs or questions.

Thanks for reading!

Contact Me

Have a Question or Comment?  Want to Share a Deal or Event?

I’d love to hear from you!

Email me
dana @ thecouponchallenge (dot) com

Meet the Coupon Challenge Team:

Melissa – Content Contributor and Farm Fresh Matchups

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Hi! My name is Melissa. I grew up in Virginia Beach and now live in Hampton, Va. I’m a Navy Brat and moved to Virginia Beach when I was 7 years old so I proudly call Hampton Roads home. I am a mother of 3 wonderful kids, Danielle, Cole and Mikey. These days it is just John (the love of my life & best friend) and I at home with our kitty cat Kathy. John is an Army Veteran, Tanker, and I am a Disabled Navy Veteran and yes I miss it so very much! :o) I was an FMF (Combat) Corpsman, EMT/ EVOC, Pharmacy Technician and even served time with the Marines. HooRah!

I have always couponed, even as a child with my mom, but not the strategic way that I do now. I would make a list, find coupons for items that were on my list and then proceed to shop and spend way to much on groceries for the family. I came across “strategic” couponing a couple of years ago while I was in the hospital. I was flipping through the TV channels one night and came across “THAT” show. Yes, you know which one that I am talking about. :o) And no, I no longer watch “That” show. So anyway, I was discharged from the hospital and I went home and eagerly started researching on the internet everything that I could about this type of couponing. That is how I came upon “The Coupon Challenge” and fell in love instantly. Especially with the Farm Fresh Matchups! I was so happy to find a website that was local with deals specific to this area. Soon after, I quickly realized that the show was a farce, but yes you can save LOTS of money and even get items for free doing it the “right” way. I was hooked to couponing immediately! It became my obsession and a game of sorts. How much could I buy for the least amount of money?

Read more about Melissa here
Contact Melissa:   [email protected]

Emily – Content Contributor and Giveaways

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Hi! My name is Emily but most people just call me “Em” these days. I am married to the love of my life, Brock, and together we have the two best kids in the world, Jack and Lucy. Baby #3 is due in December 2013 and we couldn’t be happier to become a party of five!

I started couponing when I quit my commercial interior design job to stay at home with my babies. It was a hard decision to make since I loved my career, but I knew it was the right choice for my family. Hubs is an public school elementary school teacher and together we’ve found ways to live (and enjoy!) a debt free life, except for our mortgage. I always say “we have everything we need and almost everything we want” . . . with the exception of historic house in the country and a decked out minivan and a few ponies, right? Just kidding.

Read more about Emily here

Disclosure: This post may contain an affiliate link.

Couponing Basics: How to Build a Stockpile

The key to building a stockpile is to match a coupon with a sale to purchase items at a “rock bottom” price (or the lowest price.)  You need to purchase as many of the product as you will need to hold you over until the next sale which will likely be about every 6 weeks.

*Note:  I said to purchase enough to hold you over until the next sale; not the next 3 years.

Why should you stockpile?
  • Reduce your grocery budget (spending $0.24 on toothpaste vs $2.99 really adds up!)
  • Saves time and gas, you could occasionally skip grocery shopping
  • Prepare for the unexpected (sickness, weather, job loss)

What can you stockpile?
You can stockpile non-perishables (such as canned goods, dried beans, pastas, etc), cleaning supplies, detergents, personal hygiene products, feminine care, toilet paper, and etc.  You can also utilize your freezer to stockpile meat, bread, produce for cooking, prepared meals, and much more.

How do you start a stockpile?

-Determine usage: Determine approximately how much your family will use of each item in 6 weeks which is when you will likely see another sale.

-Stay within your budget: If you are just starting out, you may not have additional funds to work with. I routinely spent my entire budget when I started building my stockpile.  If your budget is already tight, try to allow a few dollars every week just for stockpiling.  Even $5 could make a huge difference in the long run.

-Make a price book or list: The most effective way to know when an item is at the lowest price is to know your local prices.  I have a list of my Goal Prices and my Goal Prices for Meat.

-Be patient: Building your stockpile will take time!  You need to wait for the sale cycles to come around and reside yourself to the fact that your stockpile won’t be complete in a week (or 5!)

-Try not to be brand specific: We all have our preferences, but you’ll be able to make the most out of the store deals if you’re not loyal to particular brands.  I really don’t care what canned tomatoes or cereal I buy.  However, we can only use Tide and All free and clear laundry detergents.  Over time, you’ll learn what is important to your family.

-Get multiple coupons: You need to be able to buy multiple of each item when they are at a “rock bottom” price in order to build a stockpile.   If I have 4 coupons to match up with a fantastic sale, that’s 4 products that I don’t need to buy later.  You may want to get extra coupons for products that you use frequently.

-Shop multiple stores: Split your time between multiple drug stores and grocery stores.  I shop at CVS, WAGS, Farm Fresh, Harris Teeter and occasionally Kroger and Target.  I DO NOT shop at all the stores every week!  I simply don’t have the time or energy.  I pick the best deals from each store and get to as many of those stores as I can.

-Limit quantities:  Think about what your family can realistically use or donate.  It’s not a deal if it gets thrown away.  Also, don’t clear the shelves.  Remember to be respectful of other shoppers.

-You’re shopping trips will look lopsided: Eventually you should already have most of the items you need each week, so when shopping you’ll be rounding out your menu plan and stocking up on the best deals.  I recently had a trip where I bought granola bars, sweet moments, miracle whip and a few other things.  Nice combination right?

-Don’t overdo it: Your time is money and your first priority is your sanity and family.  It is very tempting to run around to every store week after week trying to super size your stockpile (been there, done that!)  I quickly learned that I wasn’t doing myself or my kids any good.  I stepped back and realized that there will always be another deal.

A few of my stockpiled items:
Toothpaste = 14
Men’s Deodorant = 16
Women’s Deodorant = 6
Pasta = 20
Cereal = 15
Ketchup = 4
Dish Soap = 9
What are your tips for building a stockpile?

 

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Disclosure: This post may contain an affiliate link.