Note from Crystal: One of the most exciting things about having this blog is the opportunity to hear from readers. Your kind and encouraging emails brighten my days. And while what is shared on this blog is the combined effort of hours of work from many different bloggers and readers who take the time to find and share the deals with me so I can post them, I am honored and humbled to have a little part in helping families to live on less than they make so they can save more and give more.
I hope Jill's testimonial below of how MoneySavingMom.com has impacted their family and the changes they've made as a result is an encouragement to you today–wherever you are in your financial journey.
Guest post by Jill
Prior to early July 2008, I never gave any thought to my purchases. If we
needed something, I bought it. If we wanted something chances are we
bought that, too. I always rationalized that I was a working mom so we could afford those extras.
Then one day, on a parenting message board I
frequent, there was a topic of what websites you visited daily.
Someone responded with MoneySavingMom.com. I clicked the link and the rest, as they say, is history.
Originally, my thought was that I'd try to save what the higher fuel
costs were costing our family. That was easily achieved just by
entering the world of CVS shopping.
I was proud of myself and my new found
frugalness. Oddly enough, I
found the deal finding, coupon clipping, and deal shopping strangely
entertaining. Suddenly, in addition to the weekly savings I was
accumulating at CVS, I was also saving in entertainment budgeting because my
new entertainment was saving money!
Somewhere along the line, I came across a blog about questioning your
purchases. What stuck with me was the question, "How can I do this for
less?". It was a life-changing concept.
It didn't say that I should
necessarily go without my desires, just that I should search for a way
to do it cheaper. Eureka!
I quickly started adopting that idea as
part or my daily mantra. Recently, for example, my husband and I
wanted to get our children the John Deere Gator ride-on toy. In the
time where we paid for shampoo and toothpaste (that's how I refer to our pre-CVS days!), we'd go to the toy store and spend the
$350. This time was different.
I sat with the idea of wanting it; I
knew we didn't need it right then, so I waited. Then, one day I found
one on ebay and we won it for $36–just under a 90% savings! You know
what? My kids are just as excited as if it were brand new.
I've found there are two ways to think about being frugal. There is
the "Wow, I saved $95.23!" approach and there is the "Wow, I only spent
When I first started this journey, I was amazed by
how much money I was saving and didn't focus on how little I was
spending. It wasn't until I checked my bank account recently, that my
eyes were truly opened. Our account was rapidly growing and it wasn't
because we were putting more money in, we were just taking less money
Being frugal, shouldn't be about how much you save, it should be
about how little you spend. Some days I could rack up great savings on
products I don't truly need, but I have to focus on spending less, not
Throughout this journey, the economy has continued to decline and my job
has become less stable. Back when we paid for shampoo and toothpaste,
the thought of being unemployed would have terrified me. Now, we are
actively planning for me to become a stay-at-home mom. Yes, our
spending has changed so dramatically, that it not only negates the
raise in gas prices, it would also balance my loss of income (along
with the savings in childcare and work-related expenses).
watched our savings account rise, our cupboards and freezer fill, and
our heart rest easy in knowing God's provision for our family. What amazes me is that while we are spending significantly less money
each month, we aren't sacrificing more. We are still eating the same
foods, buying the same products, and living a life with extras. We are
just being a lot more mindful of the sales, asking ourselves "How can
we do this for less?", and stockpiling a bit when there are good deals
on products we regularly use.
MoneySavingMom.com hasn't just provided me with a few good deals; it has provided me the
opportunity to have a sense of peace in a worrisome economy. We'll be
okay, it will work out, and if all else fails, we have enough Kashi, Chex
Mix, and Johnson's Buddies to see us through the rough patches!
Jill is a working mom of three who is eternally
thankful her mother-in-law's paper route nets her multiple copies
of the ads each week.
photo by Darren Hester