Reader Spotlight – Why Pay Full Price?

piggy bank
Today's reader spotlight comes to us from Salli. She shares how couponing and saving money has allowed her and her husband to enjoy retirement. She reminds us that saving money doesn't stop at the grocery store. Look for ways to save everywhere you shop and you'll have fun and help others in the process!

Take it away, Salli...

With all the awareness regarding coupons, it never ceases to amaze me how many people I see in the supermarket shopping without them.  Whenever I have extra coupons that I won’t be able to use, I offer them to someone who looks like they could use them.  Would you believe that I have been refused?  Even if money is not an issue, why would someone pay full price for anything if they could get it free?

My husband and I are retired and are comfortably living the same as when we were working.  That is in large part because of coupons.  And I’m not just talking about groceries.  Never have your car serviced without checking online for a coupon.  We bought new seat covers for the car with a $25 off coupon and always use a coupon for oil changes.  Even with clearance prices, many retailers offer extra savings with coupons.  Every restaurant and fast food place at one time or another has specials and coupons available.

Stockpiling is great for groceries and toiletries, but also for clothing.  Sales on underwear, t-shirts, socks, shoes – purchase on sale with coupons and put away for future use.  Publix sells items other than groceries.  I’ve gotten free pens, pencils, light bulbs, baby bottles and knee-highs there by matching coupons with their sales.  I never wait until October or November to start Christmas shopping.  Winter clothing goes on sale during spring and summer and makes perfect gifts in December.  Some online department stores offer rewards programs and free shipping or local pick-up.  This past year I got several pairs of shoes, a couple of blouses, a bunch of kitchen gadgets, even a large stock pot – all free!

I could go on and on, but I must give credit where credit is due.  It started with iheartpublix which led me to other sites and other wonderful people like you Michelle who work so hard to make our lives easier.  I’ve signed up with several sites, and every morning and evening I check my emails for the day’s bargains.  I especially love that you post Publix upcoming sales with match-ups on Monday morning and the Happy Report on Wednesday.  Since our new circular goes into effect on Thursday, it gives me several days to work on my list and gather all my coupons.

Not only is it fun, but we're able to share with our family and to donate to charity.  It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, just the desire to save money.

I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

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

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Creating Your Own Price List!

Grocery Price List
Today's reader spotlight comes to us from Michelle over at Hallo-the-House. She shares how easy it is to create your own price list. I am a big advocate of making your own price list. As I have mentioned before...price lists are very personal as we all have different needs. A must have for me may be a luxury for someone else and thus the price points will vary dramatically.

Take it away, Michelle

I believe that one of the most important ways to save money on groceries is to use a price list, and I find that using Microsoft Excel makes it easy. Over the years, I’ve made adjustments on how and what I track, but I now have it down to an easy to use system that works well for me.

The best way to start is by entering in all the items on your receipt after each shopping trip. After just a few months you will build your list to include most of the items your family regularly buys. And once you have those items entered, it takes very little time to update the list after each trip to the store.

My spreadsheet includes the following items:

Item/Brand/Type (Tomatoes/Hunts/Pureed)
Size (number of units - 29)
Unit (oz)
Regular Price ($2.19)
Regular Price per Unit (Excel formula - $0.076)
Sale Type (BOGO)
Sale Price ($1.10)
Sale Price per Unit (Excel formula - $0.038)
Manufacturer Coupon ($0.50/4)
Manufacturer Coupon Amount per Item ($0.125)
Store Coupon ($1/4)
Store Coupon Amount per Item ($0.250)
Price after Coupons (Excel formula - $0.73)
Price per Unit after Coupons (Excel formula - $0.025)
Store (Publix)
Date Purchased (2/19/15)
Quantity Purchased (4)
Notes: Last BOGO (1/15/15)

This may seem intimidating, but it really takes me just a few minutes to enter the receipt information after each trip, and where I’ve noted the Excel formula does the math for me.

Having a price list of all of the items that we buy helps me to know the best price for each item. I can easily compare unit prices to see if a different size or brand is a good bargain. I can also keep track of the frequency of BOGO sales for items that we frequently use. For example, my husband likes the Publix brand Seltzer Water. Because of my price list tracking, I know that it goes BOGO about every 8 weeks and how many I should stock up on. This means that I always pay half price for seltzer … and many other items.

Shopping ListCreating a Shopping List

The second way that I use my price list is to create a shopping list based on the current sales and what we need for each week. Using the I Heart Publix weekly coupon match-up list, I highlight the items on my price list that I want to buy. To the left of each item, I enter in the Sale, Quantity and Cost for the items I plan to purchase that week. An Excel formula at the bottom of the sheet shows me the total for the items to be purchased which helps me budget, and is especially helpful on the Gas Card deal weeks when I want to spend $100 in order to purchase two gas cards.

Once I’ve highlighted the items I want to buy, I copy and past those rows into my weekly shopping list (on a separate Excel sheet) and also list the coupons that I have for that shopping trip. I leave a space to write in the actual price on the printed list as I shop since this may vary slightly from what I planned. Since my price and shopping lists are set up in the same order as the aisles in my favorite Publix it makes it super easy to quickly do my shopping and stick to only what’s on the list. I can also easily compare my receipt against the shopping list (which I do before I leave the Publix parking lot) to make sure that everything rang up correctly.

Knowing the best price for the things you buy and having a shopping plan for each week can greatly reduce your grocery costs. Just a little effort up front to set up a list and about a half hour of planning and tracking each week can really pay off in both money and time!

I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

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

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Saving For Snacks!

UnknownToday's spotlight comes to us from Lacey. She shares how learning to coupon has become a fun addition that has blossomed into a way to help others. 

I always was the type to just grab whatever I needed off the shelf at a grocery store and buy it. I didn't really compare prices or even when I did it wasn't a major issue. This has caused me to spend up to $300 every week on groceries! Mind you, it's not like I had the money and I knew I had to change and budget ASAP, especially with 2 kids.

I always rolled my eyes at my mom who would use coupons, but with money being tight, I needed to try it.

Well, let's say, I have become addicted! Thanks to iheartpublix, I have saved over $400 a month getting triple of the items I was getting before! I have my own stockpile with shampoos, deodorants,  coffees, pasta, laundry detergents, etc to last me a year. I also get tons of FREE stuff daily! Who doesn't like free items? I also love not worrying about "am I going to have enough money for my kid's school snacks?"  They have enough juice and snack to last them a few months, and I always make sure I stockpile up on juice when there is a good sale. I now try to help people to coupon because we all know how rough it is with money these days. It makes me feel good to show someone else how to get things for super cheap/free!   I love looking for a good deal and it also helps me take my mind off of things!  Thanks iheartpublix!

Keep up the great work Lacey!

NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

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

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Generations Of Publix Fans

i-heart-publixToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Linda, who shares her story of how the love of Publix was passed down to her from her grandmother. I

Take it away, Linda!

#MyPublixStory. In October 1968, my father died suddenly of heart attack, leaving My Mother, two younger brothers and me at home. My Mom decided to move us to South Florida where my Grandmother was already retired in Lauderdale by the Sea.

My Mom and brothers went to Florida from Philadelphia by train. I drove down by car on a wonderful three day ride with my Grandmother and my Aunt. During that drive I began my love for my beautiful new home State, and have such fond memories of spending the night in St Augustine and my first drive South along A1A. But what made the most long lasting impression was that my Grandmother told me, "Patricia, (that's what she called me - my middle name) you will love the grocery store where I shop - it was the Publix store in Sea Ranch Lakes- such a beautiful store and the young men bag your groceries and take them to your car and don't accept tips." And I did love Publix grocery shopping with her, where her first stop would be to the cookie aisle where she would open a bag of Pecan Sandies which we would snack on while we shopped. I think of this to this day and Publix is still my favorite place to shop. My Publix is in Brookside Square in Coral Springs and also by Heathrow in Lake Mary.

I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

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

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Adding To The Family

kidsToday's spotlight comes to us from Lindsey. Lindsay shares how couponing and saving money helped her afford to add to her family...literally! I love hearing from folks who have been with me for a while. It's hard to believe so many of you guys have been hanging out with me for years now...I appreciate you guys so much! You all mean the world to me too...thanks for taking the time to visit me!

First of all, I want to say thank you for iheartpublix and iheartkroger! I have been following iheartpublix for many years now and it has truly changed my life.

Back in 2009 my family moved to the Atlanta area due to my husband's job. He worked crazy hours and was hardly ever home. I was a stay at home mom to my 3 year old son and desperately wanted more children. It caused tension between my husband and I because he truly believed we couldn't afford to have another child. Soon after moving a friend of ours told me about iheartpublix. I had randomly used coupons in the past but never knew the proper way to shop and coupon. Within a week I was addicted. It was amazing to see how much combining coupons with the sales could save. It wasn't long before I was also shopping at Kroger and drug stores. Couponing was truly a lifesaver for me in many ways. With my husband working constantly it gave me and my son an activity to work on everyday. My little one had fun matching the like coupons, learning how to use scissors, and going on treasure hunts in the stores to find the items we were buying with coupons. It kept us busy and took away some of the loneliness.

Within a few months we had cut our spending from about $700 a month to about $300. And our spending just kept going down. We also had a really good stock pile started. After a year I was able to donate items and share with friends and family. The greatest part was that I had found a way to show my husband we could afford another baby. Actually 2!

I had my long awaited princess in August of 2012 and another beautiful princess in February 2014.

Using coupons has made my dream of having a house full of children come true. We have a stock pile of everything we need and use on a daily basis and we save a ton of money every month.

^^^None of that would have happened had I not discovered iheartpublix. Thank you so very much for all the time and effort you put into iheartpublix, iheartkroger, and iheartsavingmoney!!!! It has completely changed my life and I could never thank you enough.

Thanks so much Lindsey! I appreciate you sticking with me for all these years...it really means a lot!

I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

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

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Teacher Appreciation That Won’t Break The Bank

teacher-appreciation
Today’s Reader Spotlight is from Donna, who shares a great way to put those coupons skills to work for those end of the year teacher gifts. I love this idea. It's fun and a fun change of pace that any teacher would love!

Take it away, Robin!

I know the end of the school year is approaching and I wanted to share a cute idea for a teacher gift.

Each grade representative at our school collects a generous donation from each family to provide the teachers with a sizable cash gift at the end of the year.

But I always like to give my children's teachers a personal gift from our family. Usually it is a basket filled with I tems I have collected over the school year using coupons.

This year I decided to try something a little different. Each candy gram cost about $8, using coupons, sales and free Bath and Body Works travel size items.

I punch holes at the top of each page and tie them together with curly ribbons!

I'm sure the chocolate really helps after a long school year!!

Such a fun treat that I am sure any teacher can put to use 😉

I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

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

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Tips On A Smooth Checkout

Unknown-1This week's story is from Monica. She shares some tips and ways to make the shopping trip a bit easier for you and your cashier. Hopefully some of these tips come in handy for some of you!

Take it away Monica!

My name is Monica and I live in Glen, Mississippi - a tiny dot on the map in the northeast corner of the state.  I shop at Publix in Florence, Alabama, which is about an hour away, but it's definitely worth the drive.

Yesterday I went to Publix and saved 70% - the cash register had run out of tape and didn't print the bottom of my receipt and I didn't realize it until I was already in the car but  I spent $108 plus tax and saved just over $250.  As par for the course, I used 100+ coupons.

 I was talking to the cashier and asked her if she hated couponers and she said, "Not when they're like you!"  I asked her what she meant and she said when couponers are organized it makes her job so much easier.

 I wanted to share what I do to try to make the lives of the cashiers easier and make my trips less stressful:

1.        If I'm getting any item free because of a coupon (such as the flat bread this week) then that's the last things I let them scan and I give them those coupons first - so they don't have to hunt for a price.  I do the same thing for any items with a rain check.

 2.        After I give them the free coupons then I hand them the store coupons, then competitor and the manufacturer coupons last.  My particular store doesn't accept any competitor coupons now, but when they did that was always the second group.

 3.        I only shop early in the mornings when the store is not crowded because I generally buy a lot of products and use many, many coupons.  A long line and grumpy customers is not what I want to leave the cashier with.

 4.       I refuse to argue over a coupon.  If, for some reason, the cashier rejects one or two I usually let it go.  I may put the particular item back but for the most part I just take a deep breath and smile and say, “Ok.”

 5.       I used to take a binder full of coupons with me and I would spend half my time flipping through the binder but I no longer do that.  I still have my binder but it’s not what I use to shop at Publix.  Currently I use the list of what’s on sale from I Heart Publix and the day before my trip I clip whatever coupons for products I am going to buy.  I paperclip the like coupons together and organize them in a small box in the same order as the store.  I only buy items if they’re on sale and if I have a coupon so my coupon box becomes my shopping list.  When I put an item in the cart I transfer those coupons to one of three envelopes – that are labeled either Publix, competitor or manufacturer.

 6.       As I am transferring the coupons to their envelopes I check the dates and also to be sure I am buying the right items in the correct quantities.

I honestly don’t remember the last time I had a coupon rejected at Publix and I use well over 100 on each trip.  The transactions also do not take as long as one would think because I do try to be organized when I go.  Anyway, hope this helps and have fun!  Couponing is the most fun I’ve ever had saving money!

Thanks so much for sharing Monica!

----------------> OK...I only have like 2 more stories in my folder so if you haven't yet shared, please consider taking a moment to jot down your story. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just share your thoughts.  If you have a story to share PLEASE send it in!!

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

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Reaching a Balance

reader-spotlight-balanceToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Bryan. This is Bryan's second time in the spotlight and this time he is reminding us that sometimes you have to remember why you coupon. I hope this helps you find your balance!

Take it away, Bryan!

I have been couponing for a couple of years now.  Like many, I had previously dabbled with coupons, but honestly, I wasn’t that good.  I remember being ecstatic when I shaved a dollar or two off of my total.  Then I was shown how to COUPON and a whole new world of savings opened up for me.  I was even featured in a reader spotlight in 2012.

I became VERY good at getting things inexpensively or even free.  I would rush across town after work to pick up free dog treats from Family Dollar, and then swing by RiteAid for cheap mouthwash.  Then I would chase a deal at WalMart and another at Kroger, pick up paper towels at CVS and pasta at Publix.  All in one evening.  Ah, those early days….

And now I am a few years in, and I have learned SO much from my experiences and from iheartpublix.  I thought it might be worthwhile to share some basic tips for those just starting on this journey.

  1. Learn the cycle for each item that you commonly buy.
  1. Learn what you really use.
  1. Don’t make a special trip for something that you don’t use.  (I drove across town for those free dog treats at Family Dollar – that was a great deal – except I don’t even have a dog)
  1. Your time has value (and so does your gas).
  1. Your goal is to spend less than you did before couponing on the things that YOU need, not to have impressive ”savings”.
  1. Pick your stores.  Choose one supermarket and one drugstore.  Whatever you need will eventually cycle on sale at either your chosen supermarket or your chosen drugstore.
  1. ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE HUMAN.  So what if you miss a fantastic deal or skip a week (or more) of couponing?  You are still doing better than you did before.  If you need a break, take it.

Now I find myself making two or three purchases a week (instead of twenty).  And I take a week or two off when I feel like it.  Maybe I miss a deal here or there, but there will always be another….

Such a great reminder and perfect for old pros and for folks just entering the world of couponing. I always try to remind people that there will be another deal...life is way to short to stress about missing a deal--enjoy the savings!

----------------> OK...I only have 3 or 4 more stories in my folder so if you haven't yet shared, please consider taking a moment to jot down your story. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just share your thoughts.  If you have a story to share PLEASE send it in!! 

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

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – Saving On More Than Junk Food!

piggy bank
Today’s Reader Spotlight is from Jacki, who reminds us that there are coupons for things other than just junk food. You can save money on lots of different things, you just have to determine where you can save the most!

Take it away, Jacki -

I was hesitant to begin couponing because of the lifestyle that my family and I lead.  We live what some would call a "green" lifestyle (although I just call it normal!). We eat mostly plant-based diets, and our food allergies prevent us from eating most processed, pre-packaged foods. So for many years I didn't think there was a place for me in the world of couponing. When I became a stay at home mom three years ago, I finally decided to give it a try.

At first I did only coupons I could print from my computer - I figured I had nothing to lose just by trying it! I used I Heart Publix to learn how to match up the coupons with BOGOs to get the best deal. I was shocked to find that I was soon saving almost as much as a spent every week on groceries!  Soon I was asking family members who got the newspaper to save their coupon inserts for me, and eventually got a subscription for myself as well.

I find that I save the most by stocking up when there is a good deal on something I would buy anyway.  Even if I don't need the item right away, I set aside money in my grocery budget every week so I can stock up on such items when there is a good deal so I will have them when I need them. The things I buy the most with coupons include pet supplies (especially cat litter and dog treats), applesauce, baby supplies (baby #2 due any day!) and frozen vegetables. There are things I coupon for that our family probably doesn't go through as quickly as the average American family, like paper towels (we use mostly washable rags), but I do still use them occasionally, so it's nice to pay less for them when I do buy them!  Another example of this would be disposable diapers - we use cloth by and large, but still occasionally use disposables, and it's nice to not have to pay so much for them when I need to buy them!

I am so grateful to I Heart Publix for showing me the basics of couponing and making it easy to understand. The first time I ever made a trip to Publix I was so nervous that I must have checked and double-checked my stack of coupons 20 times!  Now I coupon with ease, and I love that Publix is so much more coupon friendly than other stores in my area. Thanks, I Heart Publix, for all the hard work you do!

Couponing is really for anyone...you just have to figure out what you can save on!

I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

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

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)

Reader Spotlight – You Saved HOW MUCH????

imagesToday’s Reader Spotlight is from Amy, who has an fantastic system to make her saving REALLY work for her. So far her savings have covered a down payment for a house and three advanced degrees. The kicker... Now you tell me that saving money doesn't make a difference!

WAY-TO-GO-AMY!!!!!

Couponing can change lives. I know that it sounds cheesy, but it’s so true. Six years ago, I was teaching school and my husband was starting a new job. We were both on starting salaries, had a six-month-old baby boy with lots of medical bills, and found out that we were pregnant with a second child. Our grocery bill for the three of us was over $700 a month. Granted, that included lots of diapers, wipes, and eventually baby food, but that’s pretty outrageous (compared to what we do now).

The same month I found out we would have a second child, a special person in my life sat down with me and showed me what she does with coupons and sales. She’s so patient, and it’s a good thing, because I’m detail-oriented. I listened carefully, took notes, and made it my mission to save, save, save. I couldn’t have done it without I Heart Publix and the sale sneak peeks, deal scenarios, and menu plans.

The first year and a half that I couponed, my life changed drastically. I got a crockpot and cooked at home a lot more and ate at restaurants a lot less. I got an upright freezer and froze things that I got at a steep discount (including milk, eggs, bread, cheese, and lunchmeat). I found incredibly creative ways to store items. I was determined to make this work.

One challenge I gave myself – and it was DIFFICULT – was to move the “You Saved ____” amount at the bottom of the receipt into a savings account, down to the penny. A lot of that amount came from BOGOs, but a lot of it also came from coupons. A ton of it came from free products, because the entire cost of the product was saved, and I know I got multiples. After a year and a half, I had $14,000 in savings, and my husband and I used that money as a down payment to purchase our first home.

We’ve since had a third child, and we continue to make smart, frugal choices with our money, and we definitely don’t deny ourselves anything. We continue to put money in savings for the “You Saved” amount, and with that money over the past five years I’ve paid for two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree. I quit my dead-end job that had me going to an office every day and now I am a consultant, traveling a handful of days a month but spending most of my time at home. This means more meals cooked at home, more attention paid to the children, more laundry done, beds are made, floors are clean, pets are taken care of, and there’s a LOT LESS STRESS. We’ve even paid off all our debt except our home, and there’s really not too much left on the mortgage. To be 30 years old and that close to financial freedom feels good.

Couponing affects more than just our dinner table. Coupons change how much we spend for birthday parties, goody bags, holiday decorations, clothes, hygiene products, vacations, gasoline, craft supplies, and even home renovation projects. It changes our entire lives.

Consider the domino effect that can take place when couponing comes into play. Because of my experience with couponing, we can now work the jobs we love, run an efficient household, get messy and silly with our kids (all that free shaving cream turns into bathtub paint and outdoor fun!), and even vacation a few times a year. It takes determination and dedication, but it’s totally worth it. Schedule an hour or two out of your week and make it happen. Your whole life can change for the better.

If this story doesn't motivate you to save...I don't know what will. It definitely has me looking at what else I can do to save more moolah. Congratulations Amy...I am so very proud of you!

I NEED YOUR STORIES!! If you have a story to share PLEASE SEND IT IN –pretty please with a cherry on top?? icon biggrin Reader Spotlight   Nancys Coupon Box

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

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or have sponsored content. Read my disclosure policy.)