June 12, 2012
I was sitting here getting the Ask I Heart Publix post ready for tomorrow and one of the questions got me thinking about what couponing means to me today. I am not sure I have ever really shared my story fully …so I thought it might be time to give you guys a little more on what couponing means to me!
I started using coupons many years ago – before it was “cool” to coupon I always used coupons here and there but did not start really saving big until about 6 years ago.
I started getting serious with coupons after seeing a special on the news about a woman out in California who got a ton of groceries for next to nothing. I just so happened to be putting up our weekly $250+ grocery purchases when I watched the story. I looked at what the woman purchased for $25 and what I purchased for over $250 and about fell over! It’s funny because I can remember almost everything I bought that day and the feeling of disappointment when I looked at my receipt!
That was the day that I completely changed my life and financial future!
After college and graduate school I had accumulated a huge amount of debt including student loans and other credit card debt. When I met my husband I was making good money and also spending lots of money. I would buy whatever I wanted while over $50,000 in debt! Fast forward a few years – we are now married and expecting our first child!
I had always wanted to stay home with my children – at least while they were young. We decided that it was going to be doable for me to be a stay at home mom. My husband’s salary would allow us to live comfortably without my income. We really did not consider our debt to be anything other than another bill you pay. Mortgage, insurance, utilities and credit card bills were just something you pay every month – right?
WRONG…while we were able to make our payments each month, at the rate we were going we would never be out of debt. Not to mention, it is hard to save money when you are putting most of your incoming funds to living expenses and bills!
Couponing made me realize that if I could save money on my groceries I could save money elsewhere. Why on earth would I want to work so hard to reduce my grocery budget to just throw that savings away on excessive spending at the mall or restaurants? I decided that I needed to come up with a budget so that my efforts were actually making a difference.
I made big changes. At first it was hard to change our way of life – really hard!! But…once that first bill was paid in full I started to see that our efforts were actually paying off. It didn’t seem so hard to live on a budget any more!
After a couple of years I had managed to pay off every single credit card bill that my husband and I had accumulated! A few years later and here we are with our only bills being the monthly utilities, insurances and our mortgage. Now I can’t get rid of the utilities or insurances but I am hoping that very soon I will have the mortgage paid off in full!
For me, couponing has completely changed my life. It has made me recognize that a little effort can lead to big results. I feel like I have more control over my family’s future. Believe it or not the constraints of a budget have offered up more freedom than I would have ever imagined! I am now in control of my finances and that sense of relief is like none other.
Now, be aware that it has taken me years to get to this point. I still splurge on occasion and I still make mistakes. Couponing and saving is truly a way of life for me and for my family. I realize that this may not be the way some folks choose to live but for us it works. It’s funny to think that I got here thanks to a few little pieces of paper and a pair of scissors.
You can read more couponing stories from other’s in my Reader Spotlight series. Everyone has a different story as to why they coupon and what it means to them. If you have a story, share it here or email it to me. If you just want to share a comment on what couponing has done for you please feel free to leave it in the comments. I love to read why people coupon and what got them started…it’s fun to peek into other likeminded folk’s lives!