Today’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!
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??
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.