Reader Spotlight: Couponing for the Important Things


Today's Reader Spotlight comes to us from Tonya, who faced a tough choice when she lost her job...either find a way to save more money, or have her grandson's schooling be affected. Couponing helped her to pay for the things that are important to her!

In 2010, I was laid off from my job of 20 years. I am a registered nurse that was working for a surgeon. I loved working with him and had been with him since he opened his practice. I knew that the office was starting to struggle with money because of all of the cuts to medicare and to reimbursements. I also knew that they were planning on doing some cuts but I never thought it would be me. I actually thought it would be some of these people that goofed off or never seemed to have much work to do. So, to my surprise, I was called into my boss’ office once afternoon and there he told me that he could no longer afford to have a registered nurse (I knew it was a luxury, since most offices do not have RNs) on staff. Needless to say I was devastated.

We always spent what we made and did not have much of a savings to speak of. I was fortunate that my house was completely paid for as well as my car and we had not used credit cards in years. So, that was a big help. The other thing that I was concerned about was that we had paid for my grandson’s private school tuition and he had just been accepted into an exclusive, very hard to get into, private boys school. There was no way that I wanted to take this away from him or from us.

Let me go back for a minute and explain that I do have some medical problems that I knew was going to make it almost impossible for me to find another job. My job that I lost, had been created for me when I started developing some of the health problems. If you are familiar with this you will understand, but if you aren’t it will make you wonder - I have a severe panic disorder and just driving into work could bring on two or three panic attacks. Also, because rushing seems to make things worse – I was allowed to set my own hours.

Now back to my story – my husband wanted me to stay at home since my health problems seemed to be better with me not working. So, I was going to have to find a way to cut down on our spending. For me, the private school was NOT an option. I would do anything to keep him in this school. I had heard about couponing from my niece and several friends but never had “time” to do anything about this. So, I started researching about coupons and different blogs.

I started following several of the blog sites and they were helpful to a point. Through another site, and I really don’t remember which one, I discovered I Heart Publix. I LOVE Publix, but in my mind I could not afford Publix – it was just too expensive. But thanks to your site – Publix is now about the only store that I shop. (I do occasionally go to BiLo but really save lots more at Publix.) Three years later, I have a very nice stockpile and really just shop now for the rock bottom/stock up items. I can no longer afford WalMart at all. I will occasionally go into that store and just cringe at the prices I am seeing.

Publix is such a wonderful shopping experience. Everyone is so friendly and helpful and I could not tell you how many times I am stopped and asked about my notebook or how I organize things. There are at least 50% of the shoppers couponing there.

Money is still very tight, but I have been able to keep my grandson in his private school, and I have even been able to purchase some items (like my Fiesta Ware) with the savings and coupons. Yes, I even purchased my Fiesta Ware with coupons and Kohl’s cash.

Even if I was to return to work tomorrow and start bringing in a huge salary – I will never be able to shop for groceries without coupons and my BOGOs ever again. The savings is just too great. Thank you for all of the savings that you pass along. Even though I do not take advantage of every deal there is - I am saving a ton of money and it is keeping me at home!

Thanks for sharing your story, Tonya! 

I could really use a few new volunteers for the Reader Spotlight – so please write in if you have a story to tell! Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got into couponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @

This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.


  1. LisaR says

    Tonya, Sorry to hear about your Job loss and health issues!! What a heartfelt story though!! I too lost my Job about 4 yrs ago!! My father closed down his Construction Company AFTER 40 yrs in Business!! Thas was basicly my whole future!! That is when I started couponing as well!! I clean houses now and If I didn’t coupon we just would not make it finacially!!I DO NOT step foot into Publix without checking IHeart first to plan my trip!! Also I am a member of several Focus groups and survey sites and earn all my Amazon money from these site!! So that gives me about $500 for Christmas every year!! You may want to consider that also!! Well good luck with everything!!

    • Tonya says

      yes I also do some surveys, and Ibotta app for my phone as well as shopkick and then I have signed up for the new Earthfare bonus points (I forget what they call it) I have yet to use this as I have not been to Earthfare lately. I go when they are offering a good deal on their meats, eggs or cheeses.
      Thank you very much for the encouragement.

  2. says

    I really commend you for being so selfless and being devoted to keeping your grandson in a great school! I agree that even if I started raking in the money, there is no way I could go back to spending so much on groceries knowing that we don’t have to!

    • Tonya says

      thank you so much. I have two grandsons but have practically raised my oldest who is now 14. The other one is 4. We have struggled to keep my grandson in private school and with my job loss it really has been very difficult. His mom helps when she can.
      The school he attends now is very difficult to get into and he passed the entrance exam like it was nothing. This is one of the reasons I really want him in this school besides he is getting the best education in our area and is making contacts for life.

    • Tonya says

      Yes we have and that is the only way he was able to attend this school in the first place was because he had gotten a 45% scholarship. This school is extremely expensive and very hard to get into and he is making straight A’s. Thanks for your suggestion though because until he started school, I never knew that private schools gave scholarships or grants. :)

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