I just saw a news segment about how much money can be saved by giving up smoking! Did you know an average smoker smokes away nearly $2200 each year? That's a LOT of money! As my almost 16-year-old son is well aware, that's a decent used car. Depending on your mortgage or rent, that's 2-3 months of payments. It's paying off a credit card. It's new living room furniture. And on my budget, it's 22+ weeks of groceries--almost half the year!
A lady in the news story said she was giving up her cigarettes because, "I can't afford to smoke." Well, this year, I discovered that I can't afford not to coupon! Back in May, I returned from a trip to the grocery store barely staying within our then budget of $150/week. Prices were really beginning to rise on everything, and as I drove home, I was praying about it. "I need some help with this, Lord," I remember saying. "There's got to be a better way to shop. There's got to be a way to save more money."
When I got home, my husband literally met me at the door with a message that HomeLife magazine wanted me to do a story on money-saving expert, Coupon Gal Kelly Hancock and her ministry, Faithful Provisions. Kelly's heart was to teach people how to save money, primarily at the grocery store, so that they could live generously!
I met up with Kelly a few weeks later, and she began to mentor me in the art of shopping, couponing, and menu-planning in such a way that it all works together. You see, I thought I knew how to shop and menu-plan (in my opinion, I didn't have time to coupon--LOL). But I really didn't know how to incorporate those three aspects in order to really make a difference in my budget, my kitchen, and even in the lives of other people (I've been able to give to two different food ministries this year!). Kelly showed me how, and I count her teaching as well as her friendship among my greatest blessings of 2009!
Recently, I found a bit of confirmation as to just how much I have learned since May. I found a grocery receipt from this past April in a jacket pocket. I had spent around $150 on that trip and saved 21% (around $30, buying store brands and sale items). This week, I spent $92.43 and saved 48% (that's $84.78--$36 of that was coupons). Wow! This is typical for me now! I love it!
So, how hard is it? Well, I follow Kelly's blog daily for coupon match-ups and special freebies, and I spend a couple of hours planning every week. The way I figure it, who wouldn't take a two-hour a week job (working from home!) that netted $200/month? I'm not passing that up. I can't afford not to coupon!