As ladies, don't we just love those two words? No seriously. I do. Things have changed a lot around here the last few years, and for the better I might add in the finance department. We started our family very young (as in I graduated from college almost 5 months preggers with Kyleigh), so we never really had a "nest" built up you wouldn't say. Tack on 3 different student loans, car payment, mortgage, credit cards, groceries, utilities, etc. and it was a recipe for disaster. We spent a couple of really hard years just floating through all of it. But, we made it through and live to tell the tale. Once I got into a decent paying job, things seemed to level out a bit, but it doesn't mean we were any better really with being responsible with our money, we just had more of it to spend. Again, we would put things on our credit card or eat out just because or I would feel the need to "treat" myself to that pedicure every week or so. When I started working from home, things changed a bit and seriously took a turn when I started toying with the idea of quitting my job and staying at home.
I took out my highlighter one month and just went through and organized our expenses for a month and I couldn't believe how much we spent on just eating out alone. Yes, I worked late a lot and was so overwhelmed at that time with everything going on and eating out was SO much easier, but still. You just get a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach when you sit and break things out like that. It's so easy with debit cards to not really see where your money is going until you get that monthly statement. A change was going to have to be in order if I was seriously considering quitting my job and staying at home. We had already begun a year ago to only use our credit card for online purchases or emergencies and cut up any other ones we still had. We cut out eating lunches out. Cut out eating dinners out 3-4 nights a week. Cut out shopping at the mall just because and really started looking for deals.
It started out as a tool to see if our family could afford one income, but it became so much more. I just couldn't believe how much money we wasted before we started using coupons and shopping smarter. I swear I would not be able to sleep at night if we spent money like we did back then! I feel guilty for buying anything without a coupon now! Of course you can take it too far and get obsessed with couponing (there are some crazy folks out there online!), but for the most part, we have saved an incredible amount of money on everything from groceries to clothes to toiletries and diapers. In fact, I've not paid full price for any pack of diapers we have for Asher and after over 18 months of buying diapers, we are pretty stocked up!
I wanted to share a few tools I use with everyone. Below are just a few sites that I check out for coupons and deals. Depending upon what stores are in your area, you might find a site that works for you! We also get a Sunday paper and have signed up for several coupon sites (groupon, etc.) which lets us get deals for half price! Hope you guys enjoy!!!
I have signed up for email deals on the following sites:
If you have a favorite restaurant or clothing store, sign up for their emails. I regularly get coupons for Old Navy, Gap, Children's Place, Kohl's and restaurants like Friday's, Quiznos, Ruby Tuesdays, etc. I want to say at least once a week I get a coupon from each of these places!
I also do some online survey taking. You are in no way going to get rich from this, but the points sure come in handy around Christmas....and when you have to re-buy all of your baby stuff years later! We haven't paid full price for any baby items we had to buy for Asher! I rack up the points from survey taking and cash them in for gift cards for Amazon, etc. Several Christmas presents were bought this way this past Christmas and I'm hoping between these and the twice a year toy mark down at Target (look for this in January and July...toys marked down 30-75% off!!), our Christmas will be paid for in full and at half price :-)
So pretty much now we either buy it on sale, with coupon, on sale with coupon (which we LOVE) or we just don't buy it at all. I've learned to be patient and wait things out (oh the patience I've had to learn these last couple of years!). Hope these sites help some of you guys out and happy deal hunting! I know my coupons for Old Navy are about to be used to get some much needed Spring clothing around here :-)
Back With Five!
10 months ago