Guest post by Lacey Wilcox at Live Loved
Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re on this website because you have a desire to save money. I’m right there with you.
Like many people, my husband and I have made achieving complete financial freedom as one of our goals for the new year. Together we’ve created a budget, told every penny where it is going to go, fought to maintain “gazelle-like” intensity (you’ll only appreciate that if you’re a Dave Ramsey fan), and worked to see that it all happens.
I have loved how each of us has our own unique role in this goal. For my husband, that role involves working to earn an income, being our spiritual leader, and taking care of things that are above and beyond me (things like knowing when it’s time to rotate the tires, or change the oil).
My role, however, is a little different. I get the blessing of taking care of our home, and more importantly, our sweet baby girl. While my husband earns the income, I try to make sure we spend as little of it as possible. Websites like MoneySavingMom.com have become my best friend. Couponing is becoming an art form. And getting things at the lowest possible price is now, well, an obsession.
I think about it constantly, read tons of websites and ads throughout the day and cut coupons like crazy. (Please tell me I’m not alone. If I am, just don’t let me know.)
It’s a noble obsession. I mean, who doesn’t want to help their family save as much as possible? What could be wrong with something like that?
Nothing is wrong with it. Not one thing at all.
In fact, I think such a desire shows responsibility, diligence and good stewardship. For me, I feel it is a part of fulfilling my call as wife and mom, one that I am so humbled and honored to receive. So I repeat, there is nothing wrong with wanting to save money, and doing what is necessary to carry out that desire — unless it becomes an obsession.
The very definition of an obsession is something that eventually consumes you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want saving money to be what consumes me.
And so, I find myself already tweaking my New Year’s resolutions (Okay, to be honest, I had never really set official resolutions to begin with, but you get what I mean).
I want to save money. I mean I really want to save money. But with everything I do toward that, I’m going to check my heart and mind constantly to make sure that my motives are coming from a pure heart, and not one that is consumed.
My guess is many of you have already been at this place. What suggestions do you have to help keep a right perspective on saving money, without making it an obsession?
Lacey Wilcox lives in the Panhandle of Texas with her husband, Kade and sweet baby, Selah, where they manage Panfork Baptist Camp. Lacey writes about adventures in marriage, mommy-hood, and camp life at her blog.
Just wanted to encourage to strive- by God’s grace- to prioritize, not just in the use of our time (which is also God’s, that we need to be good stewards of too), but also in why we are doing what we are doing. We don’t want to be so consumed with saving money that the focus is money, but on blessing first our husbands and children that God has given us the role and resposibility to care for and love. For example, you may be getting lots of great coupons, sales,…but are the items even beneficial/healthy for the ones you are caring for? Many times they are cheap and great ‘deals’, but laden with harmful chemicals, toxins, preservatives,….that we are putting into the ones we love. NOT a blessing or benefit to those who are under our care 🙁 and stewardship. Prov. 31, Titus 2,…
Pray constantly for wisdom, strive to trust God’s sovereignty and provision of money and how to use it (He is the ultimate Provider),
be discerning, sensible,………..
praying and striving to humbly do the same
The messages above have been like 100 whispering voices that my heart has been waiting to hear for awhile now. I have been obsessed with couponing for my family for a year and a half now, and like Lacey, I worry that it will consume my life, my marriage, my motherhood, my friendships, my job. I have been slowly starting to pull back my OCD behavior and I now find myself even more rewarded in all areas of my life. I strive for better balance across my life and I truly thank Lacey for the inspiration in this post, and to all the wonderful women who have felt moved to share their stories and their inspirations here! All your whispering voices are truly helping hold my spirit high!
I also was consumed by couponing at first. It was so amazing to me how we could find such great deals and how much money I was saving. I lived and breathed couponing. Now I’ve got it figured out what works for our family, what we really need, what is easy to donate and I don’t fret if I miss a sale cause there will always be another one and God will always provide. I also found my house was getting too stacked up with “free” items and I was looking like a crazy “freebie” lady. I don’t talk about it as much anymore but I am a much more conservative shopper than I used to be and I believe God blesses us for being wise with the money He has given us. It just takes time to figure out what your family needs, how often items go on sale, what you can donate and eventually you will have it down to a science and it won’t take as much of your time. Hang in there.
My advice is to take scheduled time off from couponing. For me, this is usually in the summer. Not only does it eliminate that feeling of it consuming you, but it allows you to use your stockpile. I will only seek out deals during this time that I always need (for me that is razors and detergent).
Also – once you get a grasp on what your family needs, what a good deal is, and how much money you can spend, the “consuming” feeling tends to subside and it becomes just a way of life.
Jenni Georgeson says
I, too, became obsessed with couponing when I felt like it was the only way our family could stay within a budget; it consumed all of my free time, and became a matter of personal pride. Then I realized how stressed I was, how exhausted, and it didn’t seem to matter to me to save a few dollars when I wasn’t enjoying my family. I also started competing against numbers I found on blogs online, and would feel bad if I couldn’t stay within someone else’s budget.
Right now I don’t use very many coupons, and it’s ok! I know how to shop well, I know how to stay in budget, and I’m much less stressed when I think less about shopping. I’ve also come to realize that food is my passion, and it’s ok to splurge on your passion, within your budget guidelines. My husband works in entertainment, so we get a lot of free tickets to shows. We keep our expenses to a minimum in every area that we can, we pay an honest tithe, and we are grateful for everything the Lord has given us. If those things are all in place, the rest of the budget works itself out. Every. time.
I feel your pain. About 10 months ago I got into couponing hard and heavy. I had my nose in every sale ad or every online site I could find, just to find another coupon. I was at CVS about 4-5 times a week (granted it’s right next door to my job) but I was consumed with this. I would buy way more than what my family needed, donate some to charity or my sisters family. But it was getting crazy. People at work said I needed to go to coupon rehab. Now I give myself a budget on groceries and pretty much stick with it. Menu planning is a great way to stay on budget and much easier when dinner time rolls around. I think having a plan and budget for everything will let your mind rest a little and enjoy your family. Like Cheryl says, No Women is Super Women!!
I think that it is so important to keep this in perspective! Obsession with money, even if it comes from a good place, is toxic. I keep myself in check by remembering that I don’t have to be perfect. There have been times that I have spent hours couponing, only to not even get to the store! I find myself get into a situation where I coupon for hours and then feel burnt out so I don’t keep up with it. In those instances, I remind myself that I’m doing my best and its okay to not be perfect!
Angel G. says
When I first started couponing, I drug my hubby and two children all over town to save less than a dollar a box on things like pasta and was buying toys and board games that just messed up the house. My hubby and children were miserable, and all I could think about was the good deals I was getting. A few months in my husband asked had I realized that I just waisted a gallon of gas and forty five minutes to save 25 cents a box on pasta. Another month went by, I had a garage sale and guess how many “good deal” toys went? Keeping in mind that a good deal must include the minuses…
good deal – gas – time – storage space – ware and tear on family = worth of the item
I so appreciate everyone’s comments about how their husbands perceive their couponing.
Our husbands are a great barometer of where we’re at with couponing!
I hadn’t realized that it was becoming an obsession with me until my husband became angry with me while I was talking about yet another great coupon deal.
He’s always been very supportive of me and proud of my efforts; but he confessed that my obsessiveness was beginning to cause him to feel like he just “wasn’t enough” as a provider. In my “pride” over my ability to score good deals, and steward the money he was bringing home, I was unwittingly making him feel like he’s not doing enough (and he earns a fantastic salary!)
It was definitely a huge wake up call for me that I needed to repent, and restore balance in my life!! The value of my relationship with my husband: Priceless! :0)
Great post! I was completely consumed with deals when I started couponing as I was blown away by how much money our family could save. Loved getting the deals, but didn’t like how it was taking so much of my time. I prayed for balance and eventually found that it was okay to take a couple weeks off as there was always another sale. Now I’m not so stressed if I have to buy an item and don’t have a coupon. I try and just be thankful that the majority of the time I am able to get an item on sale and with a coupon. It makes a huge difference.
I also like being able to save by getting cheap toothpaste and razors, so I can spend more on different ministries that I want to support!
Martha Artyomenko says
For me, I found that the saving money could start to start to consume me, when I realized I am thinking more of myself than others. We live in a smaller town and if I buy 100 boxes of pasta because I can get it for free and no one else can get any before they can get another load in, I am not living my Christian walk and thinking of others. I have to make sure I think of what I can use, to have enough to share someone else, and then think to leave some for the poor lady who drove 80 miles to the grocery store to get some pasta…..since that happens here alot and I have been the poor lady who only comes once a month to shop and finds someone cleaned out all the stock!
Thank you. People are more important than things. (already said by a prior poster, but appropriate here too)
This post was great. I had been couponing for a while and probally was “obsessed” before I was laid up in bed with strepthroat. I missed a week of couponing and I did not even miss it. I realized then that I needed to find a balance. I still love couponing and getting that great deal but I feel less stressed about it and don’t worry I miss I a night or even a week being on the computer to help me get that great deal and in the end I will be OK.
I SO agree! In this economy it would be so easy for it to become an obsession. I definitely believe that God wants us to be wise stewards of what He’s given us, but not let it consume our thoughts, time, and lives. Thank you for being transparent and sharing what many people may be struggling with. Blessings.
What a great, thought-provoking post! If anything is “consuming” me other than my relationship with the Lord, be it couponing, my children, or my marriage, then I am in sin. Balance and keeping our hearts in check is vital!
thanks for this reminder. got a wake up call yesterday when my husband and i both went to the dentist. we don’t have dental insurance and found out that we are both going to need some very unexpected work done. we were planning on paying off our car by this summer…instead we will be paying for our dental work. so…God put things in perspective that He is in control…not me…not my plans. thank you.
I stopped using certain types of coupons when I realized I was spending 5-10 min figuring out which one would save me the most, but the difference was les than $.50 and sometimes just $.05. Soap, paper towels, toilet paper and tissues were the worst.
I also spent some time comparing stores in my area to determine which would be the least expensive for me, taking into account their prices, sales, and coupon policies. Now I shop mostly at that one chain and don’t fuss about the rest. If I had less money I’d pay more attention to the loss leaders at other chains, but this works for me and my budget.
Deborah Kingham says
I understand what the poster is trying to get across, and I do agree somewhat. Some weeks when money is very short I used to get really upset,But I can’t tell you how great it is to have the info that I get from Money Saving Mom and others and know that I can possibly buy what I need for a whole lot less. My DH is a police officer and didn’t get a raise this year so we have to be very careful with our money. Plus with the economy the way it is and inflation starting to kick in I’m trying to buy a little more to stock up for when prices go up(this summer from what I’ve heard). Yes I do get a little upset when I miss certain deals but I have to let myself not get overly upset about it. I realize new deals come along all the time. My DH appreciates the time I put in to help us save money. As with all things moderation is needed.
This became very real to me when we moved to small-town Wisconsin last year. All we have in town is a gas station and Dollar General. Any other shopping requires 30 -60 minutes of driving. Because of this, I don’t shop very often – just a couple times a month. That really helps keep couponing and deal-seeking under control!
That being said, it’s also important to remember that for some people, they simply can’t make the decision to take a break and just spend more money. When money is extremely tight, that option just isn’t there. But, in that situation, it’s important to remember to find balance.
My personal couponing “rules”
-I plan a menu and shop at one store once per week. (+ occasional CVS)
-Computer/coupon/blog time is limited to a portion of afternoon naptime (my “free” time).
-I don’t “Like” things on Facebook to get a coupon or jump through any other hoops.
-I give about one third of my freebies away, extended family first, then food pantry.
-I avoid talking about couponing/deals very much with my friends and family. It seems to put the focus in the wrong place.
-When I do share about couponing, I encourage others to give, give, give. That is the reason I do what I do.
That’s about it. 🙂
For me, living a frugal lifestyle has morphed over the last five years or so from being an ego-based competition, or new way for me to feel a sense of self-worth (which it sorta was at my “worst” point) to now, where I have more balance and “bigger fish to fry”. I think I had, while being well-meaning and all, my priorities confused. Nowadays, I try to make the economically sensible choice by default—in the grocery store, on Date Night with my hubby, or wherevs, but I have realized I am more than just a chic that can save some bokoo bucks 🙂
I also have come to the point where I realized saving money was becoming all-consuming for me. I purposely found someone in need that I could help financially and gave them an extra boost. This was above my normal amount of giving to my church, etc. That money I gave to that person most definitely could have been used toward bills. However, I needed the reminder that I needed to have my priorities straight. =) Bravo for being so transparent! =)
Excellent post that I can relate to in so many ways.
The euphoria over scoring a great deal can be really powerful, but its not always well-placed energy. Some rules I follow are:
Don’t buy stuff you don’t use, even to leverage another deal.
Don’t create a false sense of urgency – you can probably afford more than your most ambitious budgeting goals.
Limit the # of stores you frequent.
My bargain shopping has settled into routine of wasting less, cooking more, bargain shopping at one primary grocery store, and having lots of fun scoring deals at Walgreens.
One thing I am doing more of is just not buying stuff. You can get so crazy about saving that you spend more by going out to shop every day or stockpile a lot of junk you don’t need.
It’s amazing if you start to declutter what you can find in your own home. I have a pretty clutter free house, but I found a lot of kids toys I had forgotten about, craft projects I abandoned, and books that look interesting. I am trying to use up a lot of the things in my own house before I go buy more things, because if I don’t want the items I have why am I keeping them?
Also, I am cooking a lot more whole food and there aren’t as many coupons for that, but it feels good to make my kids a yummy pureed soup from all the leftover veggies in the house or make muffins from scratch. I have friends that spend a lot of time deal-hunting and couponing and I think it’s great if you enjoy it, but I enjoy saving on gas by not running all over town and cutting down on packaged junk foods. I also love cooking. We all have our own ways of saving!
Lacey Wilcox says
I love this! It’s actually something we’ve started to do in our own home, and it’s been amazing!! If you have any great recipes you’ve been using with more natural ingredients, you should definitely share!! 😉
I agree. We all have our ways of saving that we enjoy. We need to feel at peace with what we are doing and support others in the choices they make. We are all in different circumstances in our stages of life and in how much we earn, but we can all do our best and support others as they try to do their best.
Thank you for your article and comments. I just started couponing in February and am trying hard not to let it consume me too. I feel good about saving money, but I don’t want to have a lifetime of cereal in my home! I have already filled my freezer, cupboards, and cabinets and spent less than what I spent pre-coupons. I know there is a balance and I will be more diligent to find it now!
Great post! This is something that has been on my heart and mind a lot this past year. I have an 11 month old so sometimes I feel like the weeks I take the time to link up coupons with my grocery list are weeks where my house falls apart. There have been so many times when I think “I’m just going to get on the computer for a few minutes” and before I know it a whole hour has passed by. I recently read an outstanding book by Elyse Fitzpatrick “Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone. This book really helped me get off this whole idea that I HAVE to use coupons and get all the good deals ALL the time. Honestly there are some weeks where I do not look at the deals at all and so often these are the weeks where I feel the most spiritually refreshed. I’m trying to ask myself these questions “Why am I choosing to do this right now? Who or what am I looking to for my happiness? Have I sought God first and spent adequate time with him? Am I using my deal hunting to bless others or to fuel my love of things? Is my home in order? Am I deal hunting b/c it is more fun to shop rather than keep my house decent and in order? Tough questions and sometimes the answers are really humbling.
Thanks for making me think again!
A timely post for me. Just last night, I asked God to forgive me for spending more time on couponing than I do in worship and dwelling on His word.
So true that it becomes an obsession! I’ve got to change my priorities. Thank you for reinforcing that.
I was thinking the exact same thing. My hubby and I both lived on our own for about 12 years before we married. While we chose to split our chores into “his” and “hers” when we married, we both know how to take care of things like cooking, cleaning, laundry, vehicle maintenance, lawn mowing, etc. One of the sweetest things we can do to treat each other is to do the other person’s chores for him/her. Also, I want both of us to be capable of taking care of ourselves in case something happens to one of us.
I agree. My husband & I share the chores, but especially since I work for a hospice, I understand how important it is that we both know how to do the home & vehicle maintenance and all of the other little things. Even if something relatively minor were to happen to one of us, like tripping on one of our toddler’s toys (a constant possibility, no matter how often we pick up!) and break an ankle, the other person might need to pick up the slack for a few weeks. At the other extreme, I’ve seen way too many 70-year-old widows who are just now having to figure out how to write a check or drive a car. I don’t think it’s as much of a risk with my generation as it is for my grandma’s, but it’s still an important reminder that we all need to know what’s going on with our home & family & finances.
The post reinforces for me that it’s important to set limits and be good stewards of both time and money. Sometimes I read stories of saving so much money on groceries, but having to go to 3 stores, and I have tried not to feel guilty for not doing that and taking more time to spend with my son. Thank you for reinforcing the perspective!
Iwork a more-than full-time job plus take care of our home because my husband is having trouble finding work. But, I’ve found that couponing has helped me become more disciplined with my time because I’m so short on time. For instance, I don’t waste time on things like watching TV because, quite frankly, I don’t have the time to waste. After I get home, do my “daily chore” (a system that gets all the major chores done over the course of the week), cook dinner (usually from scratch), and pack lunches for the next day, I have about 30 minutes to relax before bedtime. I use this time for couponing — a quick check of blogs, print, cut, and add items to my shopping list. This limits my couponing time plus it settles couponing in my mind as a hobby (which makes it relaxing to me). There seems to be less potential for obsession/burnout with this treatment than my prior view of all-couponing-all-the-time.
Monroe on a Budget says
I do clip coupons and watch the sales fliers; but, there’s a point of diminishing returns. You can’t expect to feed your family for FREE and that seems to be the impression people get about couponing.
I tell people to look up the USDA Cost of Food at Home study (google it) and then look at their grocery bill. Take out the non-food purchases such as cleaning supplies and paper products, add back in the money spent on dinners out / fast food. Did you hit “thrifty” range on the USDA chart for your size family? Then you get a passing grade.
It is possible for some families to be under thrifty, and we are, but that’s not realistic for everyone. Even the pickiest family can hit thrifty if they are resourceful.
My husband is a big help at keeping me in check. He is able to point out to me when I am being irrational about stuff. (Last week, I was trying to figure out how I could get the $10RR from Walgreens for buying adult diapers!) In addition to being obsessive about it, I know that part of it is greed, for me. I want more and more “stuff.” I tell myself, “oh, I’ll donate this or that.” But my stockpile continues to grow and never shrink.
Our heavenly father continues to bless us and shower us with Grace. We just have to keep turning our hearts to Him day by day and hour by hour.
This post speaks so strongly to me, and so does your comment, Bonnie. I agree that my best check is talking to my husband or thinking about what he would say if I told him about this latest new fantastic deal. 🙂 As much as I sometimes don’t want to know what he would say, he is always right on – while I have gone overboard.
The mentality of frugality can easily slip into a compulsion and I try to check myself by holding my things, and my money loosely. Most times, my time really is more valuable than the minutes spent cutting and driving all around to get the best deals. As with most things in life, balance and moderation seem to be key. I have found that when I’m a good steward and diligent worker, God always provides regardless of my striving. He’s just that good!
I definitely understand where you’re coming from. I would take my struggle a step further in that I have felt convicted that obsessing over saving money has shown me that I am trying to create my own security rather than depend on God. Please don’t misunderstand. I absolutely believe we have a responsibility to be wise, prudent, and good stewards of what God has blessed us with. I just mean that sometimes it’s like I almost think that if I could just save enough money, we’d never have to worry again about money. Which is frankly ridiculous for starters 🙂 and is also creating a mindset that I can “control” things by having enough money which isn’t true. (Though it does help of course!)
It reminds me of the verse about putting our trust in men and chariots and how futile that is. We’ve got to have money to live and we need to be fiscally responsible but we can’t put our trust in how much we’ve saved alone.
A couple phrases that we use with our kids that are strong principles throughout Scripture are “people are more important than things” and “God owns everything, we own nothing.” For our 3 year old, that plays out in many ways, including: sharing his toys with his friends and baby sister, and dividing the money he earns for chores into first his give, then his save, and then his spend boxes. For us as a couple and parents, it means checking our motives everytime that we do or don’t make a purchase. For me as a wife and homemaker, it means checking how much time I spend looking for deals, and what my reaction is when I sprint over to CVS on a Sunday afternoon only to find that they’re already out of the great “free” or “money-maker” deal that I was after that week.:) (I hope that I am not the only wanted tempted to frustration when I find that my first deal scenario, and my plan B scenario, and even my plan C scenario just won’t work because all the other couponers in town beat me to it.:))
We just bought a new couch and loveseat set. We paid cash, shopped around everywhere, and got a great deal, but I still found myself feeling guilty over spending the money. We had decided that it was time because our chair and sofa had a decided lack of spring left to them. And, when we had people into our home, it was typically at least two at a time, and if we had more than one person over, someone ended up sitting on the floor due to lack of seating. Usually one of us, but we think it still made guests uncomfortable to see us on the floor, even though we were fine with it.:) So, we arrived at what we felt was a good decision. But still the guilt would plague me when I hopped online to check the grocery deals for the week and read the inspiring stories of living on less! But I had to remind myself “People are more important than things,” (including saving money on things) and that was a major player in our decision. So, it’s okay to have a new sofa and loveseat. So I’m going to enjoy it.:)
I’ve made a conscious decision to be thankful we have the money to buy the things we need instead of feeling guilty that I didn’t save as much money as we “should” have.
I find that it’s therapeutic to give. It combats that save/hoard mentality for me. Just this morning I sent 3 bags of Chex Mix to my daughter’s school for snack and I felt myself wanting to hang onto them, to hoard them. I don’t like that, I should be more giving! So I sent along a roll of paper towels for the teacher also (what 1st grade teacher doesn’t need paper towels?) I know it’s small, but that’s something I did this morning to combat my money saving consumption. 🙂
I felt the same when I first began to coupon.
It was a turning point for me when I made a simple organizational decision. Instead of cutting out coupons all Sunday afternoon and then organizing them into the file…….I simply write Sunday’s date at the top of the insert and pile them neatly under my bed.
All the blogs tell you what insert to look in for each specific coupon. I only cut it out then. The little bit of “flipping through” is nothing compared to cutting them and filing them.
This saved me tons of time! Works for me!
I feel the same as Shelah. I was going crazy clipping and organizing coupons every week. When I started keeping the inserts intact, it was so much easier for me.
Not only do I save time organizing (just a minute every week instead of hours), but I also feel less pressure to “use” all the coupons I spent so much time sorting. I don’t carry the giant binder of coupons with me anymore.
It’s freed me to spend my time on the things that are important – family and friends.
I just wrote a post about this myself! We have to be very careful and keep our priorities in line or before we know it we’ll be serving the very deals that were supposed to be serving our family.
This hits home for me too. As soon as I get home from grocery shopping, I begin to plan my next trip. The one thing that helps me most is prayer – asking God’s wisdom to keep everything in perspective. As for checking blogs, I either do at a time of day when I’m not taking away from something else. Also I give myself a time limit. As others have reported, couponing has been a great blessing, and it has also allowed us to bless others.
I have a hard time with couponing because I rarely see coupons for the items we eat. We tend to eat very healthy, I guess – I don’t buy anything with corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, artifical coloring or flavoring, or more than one kind of sugar (and the kind it does have is usually cane juice extract or natural sugar). This eliminates 90% of the products that offer coupons on occasion. Also, I support the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, because so many personal care products (the vast majority) like cosmetics, body care, etc. are laced with toxic carcinogens. Most people are under the mistaken impression that the government has some sort of agency that prevents such products from making it to the market – not so! Even Johnson and Johnson BABY products have known carcinogens in them. It’s unreal what is allowed to be sold to us – and the effects are cancer, hormone disruption, infertility, etc. But most of the personal care products offering coupons are among the offenders, too.
It’s not that I only buy granola and organic milk, and only use Burt’s Bees lotion, etc. – I buy a variety of stuff, but I try really hard to find the healthiest option within my budget. I’m able to use maybe 3 coupons a week usually. They offer coupons on some organics, but they are usually so high priced already that you still spend more than you would on lower-quality items. So, I split the difference: I buy the healthiest version of the regular item that I can, which 9 times out of 10, does not offer a coupon.
I would love to coupon more. I just can’t seem to find a way to make it work for me, unless I feed my family stuff that I REALLY don’t think is good for us, and that has long-term consequences.
Anybody in my situation?
We’ve been moving in that direction. So, I’ve found that most of the coupons I cut are for things like razors and just a handful of other items. I’ve been doing much of my cooking from scratch, and find that my budget is basically the same doing that (and buying my scratch items in bulk) as it was when I was couponing. Best thing ever, I don’t have to run to the store every week if I’ve stocked my pantry with the basics, and I don’t feel like there are a ton of deals I’m missing. I spend way more time in the kitchen cooking, but that is time that my daughter can spend with me and maybe just learn something in the process.
I’m also slowly finding that if I look really carefully, deals for skincare products are out there too. We’ve just begun our switch there, but I’m excited to discover that I can do what I feel is best for our family and still keep our budget low, still pay of debt, and feel good about how I’m (trying) to take care of my family.
Andrea Q says
Have you looked into a natural food co-op?
ann k says
We both are in the same boat. What works for me in food is ‘cooking from scratch’. Even without coupons, by shopping sales and stockpiling, I can make healthy meals within my budget. Stockpiling really really works! Sometimes I go beyond my budget but make up in other areas. In my opinion, its perfectly okay to spend a little more because at the end of the day, food is sustenance.
As far as hba items go, I am still not out of all the stuff I had stocked up using coupons. But once I do, I might have to budget to let the good stuff fit in. Again, minimizing the number of items we use has worked great for us. I make a few things at home like lip balms, body butters, salve, etc. Diluting products and stretching their life helps. 🙂
I’m in the same spot you are! I grew up in a healthy home and my Mom taught me to cook from scratch, make my own cleaners, and watch out for all the chemical laden foods, cleaners, and cosmetics. No offense to anyone’s buying habits, that has been real important to me. After getting married I thought maybe I should get into the coupon game. I tried it for a few months and my husband ran with me many times to Walgreens, CVS, etc to look for great deals. After seeing all the time I was spending he asked me to please stop. He thought my time was worth something, and we actually spend more money because the huge majority of coupons were for things we normally wouldn’t eat or use. So I had all the “junk” (to me) coming in my home and was very happy to stop and give it away. I found the more I got into coupons the worse we were personally eating.
I am not perfect by any means but I keep trying to cut our food budget back farther and farther. After all, there’s only two of us. These are some ways I save money:
1. Shop at Aldi’s for milk (hormone free), veggies and fruit if from the US, and basic baking supplies that I will use.
2. Buy milk products at Costco, veggies, honey, and various other items that I find are cheaper there.
3. Plant a garden then can and freeze
4. Cook from scratch. Amazing how much money this saves. I rarely ever buy boxed foods, Mac N Cheese is a special treat.
5. Order some bulk items such as flour, baking powder, beans, etc from a food co-op I belong to.
6. Always create my meal menu’s off what I already have on hand in the pantry, freezer, and fridge just buying the extra needed for the meals and great deals I find on food we eat. That saves a bundle!
My goal is to start making my own cleaning supplies again, after I use up my current stash. Hope I get to that soon.
Sometimes it is hard to read all the great deals everyone is getting. I’m happy for them, that’s what works for their family. I just keep my eyes open for “my kind” of great deals, which is rare with coupons, and enjoy my free time to pursue other ways of saving money for my family. We’re doing fine, and like I said, we saved money when I stopped with the coupon deals. That’s the point of the whole thing, each family finding what will save them money. 🙂
I think working on saving money turned for the better once I realized that I should not do every deal. Simplifying and doing without became more important to me that finding each and every deal. I still deal hunt for main groceries, but we make our own cleaning supplies, found an inexpensive, concentrated laundry detergent that lasts us almost 300 loads at a time, cleared out a lot of our house (sales, donations) and now we just work hard to avoid getting tempted to buy things we do not absolutely need. We are not perfect, we have four kids in live in suburban Minneapolis, MN. Our kids are in activities, we have a lot of the same situations, just like the rest of the “normal” people.
So, my advice is keep it simple. The less you need, the less you need to buy, the less you need to clean, organize, hunt for, the more time you have. That is the best deal around.
Thank you! This is one I am trying to embrace but I have a hard time with it.
What’s your laundry detergent?? Thanks! 🙂
Beth, I found an extremely concentrated soap nuts oil at http://www.naturoli.com and bought a bunch when it was over 50% off.
try the Duggar recipe-its great and super cheap!
I have had the same struggle, and I think when the time comes that you can’t do everything and find the best deals all the time, is when you give yourself some slack. I have two small children(a 2 year old and a 9 month old) and am pregnant with my third. Subsequently, I am TIRED all the time. Last week, I purposefully skipped out on a triple coupon sale in my area, even though I still had some money left for the week because I just didn’t have the energy to hunt all the deals. It worked out well, because this week, I went a little over in my grocery budget because I was too tired to worry about dinner and grabbed a cooked chicken from the store for an easy dinner- it was cheaper than getting take out so we still saved money and I was able to use my energy to play with my kids instead. For me, there are times of plenty and times of famine. During these “famine” times, I am grateful for all the hard work I did over the past few months to create a well-stocked, frugal pantry so I can skip a few deals and still put my family first. I hope you are able to find a balance that works for you!
Erica @ Just Call Me Cheap says
I feel the same way! I have an almost four year old and an almost two year old and I am pregnant with our third child. I am still in the first trimester so I am tired all of the time. The little energy I have goes towards my children and whatever is leftover goes towards keeping the house in somewhat order.
Finding deals is barely even on my radar and now and instead of staying up late and putting together deals at night I go to bed early with my husband and read a book. I feel so much better doing this and don’t even care that I am missing out on hot deals. My life isn’t measured on how much stuff I have stockpiled but it is measured on how good of a mom and wife I am.
Where I think that saving money has a particularly dangerous aspect, is when it is placed above people. You know, relationships with people just cost money. 🙂 So we’ve decided that it is people first (within reason).
At home relationships – marriage, children – you can handle very frugally, but to have an impact on the community, church, and to reach out to people will just plain cost money. If I love saving money more than I love people, that’s an indication of a heart problem. People are what’s eternal, after all. 🙂
Another area I’ve had to watch out for is whether I get more excited about saving money or about God. Seriously, what a loss if I get more pleasure out of saving a few dollars than worshiping the Almighty! I am definitely the loser in that scenario. 🙂
Why do relationships with people have to cost money?
I’ve found this to be the case as well.
My friends are ALWAYS generous with me and I find myself wanting to return that generousity. Even if it’s just a cup of coffee and a piece of fruit….it still costs money.
Every Wednesday when the store ads would come in the newspaper, I swear my heart would start beating excitedly to see what was going to be on sale.
I wish I felt like that each morning when I get to do my Bible study. Now that is something I can work on – thank you Elizabeth for that perspective!
To answer your question in a word, giving. I enjoy saving too, and my life has never been more frugal or prioritized in this area. But the Lord brings opportunities to give in small and big ways, so that my heart does not come to love money over God. Also, I have been amazed at how many opportunities of integrity or sin there are with coupons…seriously! In the self checkout line it would be easy to let a 50 cent or dollar coupon go through that really shouldn’t, and when I’m having a crazy day and trying to get everything done quickly, it is a temptation. I want to be faithful in the little things, too.
Lacey Wilcox says
Wow, that’s a really good point. One thing I pray over and over is that every action I have would be one that honors the Lord, AND models for my daughter what it looks like to glorify Him…thanks for such a great point!
Nora@ The Dollar Hollering Homemaker says
Thanks for opening up your heart in this post.
I got into a interesting conversation with some yesterday about my desire to stay at home forever. They thought that I should pursue a career after my kids reach school age. I feel that my “career” is in the home. Taking care of my family through cooking wholesome foods, cleaning, and being a good steward of our finances. It takes work to do all the things that we are called to do as homemakers, well.
Anyway, I see “deal hunting” as part of my job and I balance it with other parts of my job. If I was to work in an office environment and spent all my time checking e-mail and ignoring my other responsibilities (like answering the phone, presentations, meetings, etc) I wouldn’t be very good at my “job.” Balance is so important in all aspects of our lives.
I too feel like my career is at home. Many wonder what I could possibly do all day long while my kids are in school. I often wonder how I’m going to get everything done.
Last fall I tried spending more time on my blog, but it caused too many problems with my home. I now spend a few hours a week on my blog which seems to work out much better.
It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one out there with the “homemaker is a career” mindset.
Saving money used to consume me (not coupons, but all the other aspects) so this article was refreshing!
I definitely have to work at it to keep my life balanced!
I just had a conversation with my husband about this the other day. He had a chat with his mom who told him that I should get a job. I was so angry because I have a job! I am a mom, a wife, and a homemaker who also coupons and saves us tons of money a month!! I could not believe that all that effort was going un-noticed! Later that night when my husband asked me to sit with him and watch a little TV (I was washing and folding the last load of laundry), I said that I was busy doing my “hobby”! Because I do not have a job so I must enjoy the laundry! He got the point. The next day I took him to Publix so that he can see what I do. I gathered all my coupons and checked my list before going (that took a couple of hours printing and gathering) and when we went to check out and we had saved $209 and paid $19 and the cashier was shocked he then said WOW! and finally understood “my job”! He called his mom the next day and told her why I did not have an official 9-5 job.
When I started I was so obsessed! I’d stay up at night thinking of the deal I missed because I did not have a coupon or how there were no rite aids in my state and even thought of flying out to one to get the amazing deals. But now I know that the deal will come around again. And if its late and we are busy or just relaxing at home for what ever reason and can’t make it to the store, I know it will be ok. I let it go and I go to sleep. Tomorrow will be another day and come Sunday we start all over again. Just have fun with it, enjoy your job!
Your comment really hit home to me because I have had the same issues with my husband. I have six children, too, and it was very frustrating esp. when some of the kids were babies, to have my husband thinking I do nothing at home? (It still is frustrating, by the way.) If the issue comes up again, I would kindly ask him how his meals get cooked, his dishes get washed, his laundry gets done, his children are cared for, etc. For me, I had to sit down and figure what I might earn at a job vs. what we might pay in child care for all the children. He understood a little better after that, but we still have issues about this.
Angie O' says
This is such a timely reminder. Just yesterday, I went out to get a Walgreen’s deal, and it really didn’t go as planned. I was there for over an hour trying to figure out the best deal scenario. I ended up so flustered I even dropped my coupon binder on the ground (which proceeded to explode paper throughout the isle 🙂 All that to say, I didn’t get the deals I thought I would and ended up spending $6 when I could have spend $3.
I beat myself up all morning about wasting my time, spending too much, looking stupid in front of the cashier, and not being bold enough to go back in and get my receipt corrected. Then I realized, I got twelve useful items for $6…Why am I being so hard on myself? And for pete sake, its only $6! I mean money is very tight for us, but still. I am realizing how much couponing has become tied to my self-worth. I don’t think God wants me to live in a place where I feel horrible about myself if I don’t figure out how to find the perfect deal. I needed to remind myself this morning that my “job” of saving our family money, does not define me. Thanks for the post, its wonderful to know we are not alone.
Like most other things in my life, I have a problem with moderation when it comes to couponing. 🙂 It seems like it’s “all or nothing”, and either option makes me miserable in the long-run. I find that it’s helpful to set a timer for myself (like I do when I’m on Facebook, haha) so that I don’t end up spending my kids’ whole naptime surfing the web for deals, printing out coupons, and scouring the ads. I also limit myself on the number of stores I’m willing to go to, because I found that I was spending more in gas and time than was feasible. Plus, I’m a SAHM, so that’s a lot of time for my kids to spend in the car and in stores.
I knew I was becoming too obsessed when I found canned pineapple at a good price (cheaper than I’d ever seen!), so I stocked up, only to go to my next store, a half-hour away, and find the same pineapple for 30-cents cheaper a can. I was so upset I LOST SLEEP that night because of it, all for a savings of less than $4. My husband spoke sternly to me about that one…lol.
I stress about things like paying too much and get looks from my husband, so you’re last sentence made me laugh. We were at Walmart last night, and they had the Easter Peeps (a special treat for my husband–though he can only eat like 1 before going into a sugar coma) for .98. I was so upset because I had just bought him a pack at the Dollar Tree for $1 the night before. My husband rolled his eyes at me getting upset about paying .02 more!
You know, it is exciting for me to save money and I get a little thrill from getting free items however there are weeks (like last week) I went to the grocery store without any coupons in hand. It was hard but I recognize my family time is sometimes more important and when I don’t have an hour to spare in the week to coupon I don’t. I still do a good job keeping our budget down and it is a good feeling. Between working 2 jobs and a toddler, things are busy! The lovely thing is that I’ll be going part time soon thanks to my husbands new job and raise and the jobs that will allow us to pay off our cars-yippee
Carolynn @ mylittlebitoflife.com says
I have been in these shoes (and in some aspects still am). At first, couponing was all consuming! It took away too much from my family and I started to feel like a failure because I wasn’t taking as good of care of my family and house as I would have liked. But I also felt like a failure if I didn’t get all the deals and could have saved money! Now I’m getting a little run down and I am thinking that with my husband’s raise, I am going to increase our grocery budget just a bit because I am tired of running to lots of different stores. I have four kids, and although it may be more expensive on some things, I like going to Sam’s and stocking up, that way I know we have it! Here is a blog post I wrote about 6 months ago about first learning the ropes on couponing (the things I wish I would have done when first starting out)! http://mylittlebitoflife.com/?page_id=357
Betsy Durand says
Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in sharing your heart….I think, as you can already see, many of us struggle with this pull between being good stewards of the wonderful blessings God has given us balanced with not becoming controlled by it. I, too, as a mom in ministry struggle with this frequently, especially since (as a help to my husband) I handle the bills and such, so I see what is coming in and going out and this, in part, motivates me to scrimp and save as much as possible. The only advice I have for you that has been helpful to me is to simply pray and ask God to continue to help you in having wisdom in balancing your priorities and ensuring that money-saving does not become and idol in and of itself before God. He has promised that He will give us wisdom if we ask for it, recognizing our need for His help! I also read a fantastic book that has helped remind me of some key principles of biblical stewardship- The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. Highly recommend it! Sometimes I have to go back and read it again and again. Ask your husband, too, for help in keeping you accountable in not spending too much time on the computer or with newspapers, clipping and searching! 🙂
Great post! I used to be “consumed” with saving. Until I realized that I was spending too much of my time finding deals and not enough on the truly important things. My rules for myself are 1. Do the deal only if it is easy (less than 1 or 2 steps). I will not go out of my way to a store just to save $. For my little family, I get more than enough “freebies and deals” at my regular grocery store. And I still get a lot to donate and give away. 2. Buy it only if I will use it or can gift it- even if it is free! 3. I “unsubscribed” from a few sites I used to follow that posted sooooo many tempting deals that all I was doing was checking them out. I narrowed down my deal sites to 2 or 3 that seem to have my same values and only post the best deals. This is what works for me and I feel like I’m not missing out on saving and not spending excess money or time chasing deals.
what are your top 3-5 websites for deals? i only know of this site.
I think it’s important to keep it in perspective – when it takes time away from your family, it’s not beneficial to me anymore. I’d rather pay a little more for more time with my family. It’s also okay to know that it’s important to splurge on something every once in awhile.
I loved this and I am right there with you. For me this is what keeps the ballence in many areas of my life. If it takes away from time spent with my family, it isn’t truly worth it.
What will they remember later in life? Running to 5 different stores on weekends with a hectic Mama? Not the picture I want. We spend a lot more time at home, in parks, libraries, and other “thifty” but fun places they will remember. Helps me keep focused on what is important. 🙂
Such excellent points! I would do well to remember these points. Thanks for the admonitions!
This wasan awesome article, I am new to the entire savings world (just started FPU this week 🙂 ) and as a single mom, working full-time and grad school full-time, I find my self checking the websites and what-not before work email. I am goijng to takethe advice from you all and find a balance! My motives are to save so i can give…therefire i plan to schedule “savings” time like i do everything else, if a coupon is available outside of that time, i just miss out…but making it a scheduled line item should work for me! Thanks ladies!
Lacey Wilcox says
That’s so awesome!! I love that you’re wanting to start with that attitude now!! I keep reminding myself that, while saving money IS a very important thing, it’s not the most important thing!! I do the best I can, while constantly trusting the Lord to be over it all!! 🙂
It is exciting to see how you can save so much money with coupons and easy to let it take over you. I find that if I set limits on how much time I spend each week, I am able to keep things in check. Some weeks I don’t coupon at all if it is a busy week. There will always be good deals and opportunities to save money. We just need to find a balance. I find this is true with our time and talents too. We don’t have to be a supermom who sews, cooks and does everything. If we find something we are good at and that we enjoy, we can focus on that part of saving money and not worry about the other possibilities out that that we could be doing.
Thank you for posting this, I am sure that most of us have gotten to the point where it has become an obsession. I started couponing about a year ago. I did realize it was consuming me and I didn’t want to miss out in an opportunity to get something for really cheap or to use a coupon instead of toss it. I started to feel miserable because of it. I don’t think that is the point of couponing and I started to realize that. I believe it was when the coupon show aired on TLC that I realized I was obsessed. I wasn’t as obsessed as some of those on the show by any means, but still it was obsessed. It still took me several months before I was willing to change. We had moved from one state to another and I still didn’t know anyone where we have moved to. I thought I could just fill my time with the couponing. I was miserable.
I started to turn things around when I started to realize that this was not good for me. Now, I spend more time at home taking care of our home and less time out running around. I am not worried about getting all of the deals anymore and I don’t look at all of the sales ads for each store every Sunday morning like I used to. I am also not clipping every coupon in the paper and I am not spending nearly as much time on the internet looking for good deals from blogs and such. It is simply just not healthy for me to be consumed by it. Now I am enjoying my family more. My husband always comes home for lunch every day during the work week. Now I am excited he is home for lunch instead of trying to get home in a hurry with all my deals. I love getting that lunch time together. I am also back to spending time with God daily, something I was letting couponing take over before. Oh my, I hate to think that coupons and good deals were an idol to me, but yes they were. Now I try to look at just shaving off some of our cost of groceries when I do regular grocery shopping. We are a family of 3, so we don’t need tons of great deals, our grocery bills are not that big.
I am thankful to have found out that I didn’t need to let it consume me. I am so much happier now than I was before. I still enjoy coupon blogs, but I enjoy about 15 minutes of that time a day instead of hours and I still like to use coupons, but I just clip the ones I know we will use and I only go after the deals I know we need for now with a little bit of a stock pile.
You are very brave to share your story so honestly. I think it’s easy for many of us to fall into the same trap. Thanks for sharing.
Good for you. I realized the same a long time ago. When the deals at CVS were very hot a few years back, I shopped there almost every week. When I had a cupboard full of things I started to realize that it was too much and needed to stop deal shopping.
The neatest thing is that I have given a lot of it away and still, I find I have just what we need, only buying things like paper goods.
It seems that TLC is coming up with extreme couponing as a series. Although I think it’s great if people can save money, there truly is a fine line about getting what one needs versus hoarding things.
If seeking deals is getting in the way of someone’s life, family, children, caring for the home, then it’s too much. Just as being on the computer too much can do the same as well as anything that keeps us from what is important. It’s good to search our heart.
Yes, saving money is helpful but sometimes it’s easy to take it too far. We can’t get time back that we waste, time is more precious to me than saving money. These days I use little coupons, shop for basics, and try to focus on what is important. Chasing deals for me is not something that I choose to do anymore. As a bonus, I spend less and stay out of the stores more and spend more time doing what I choose to do instead.
Thank You Lyn. I think it takes a while to realize when we are out of control. I am a lot like how you described yourself being now. I shop for the basics and spend way less time shopping and more time doing the things I would rather be doing and giving my time to my family.
My sister in law is very thrifty, more so than I will ever be, but there circumstances are so much different than ours. They have 1/4 of the income we do and they have 3 children, we have 1. She shops at garage sales and thrift shops for all their clothes and Aldis for all of their groceries. They have always done that and they are happy. She does what their family needs to do to make it.
I look at shopping and saving money as a game. Most of the time I win but occasionally, I lose. When I lose, I figure what I’ve already saved covers my loss. I can’t win 100% of the time but I win often enough to off set the losses. I also get upset when I miss using a coupon but I’ve found that when you return to the store where the item was purchased, they will honor the coupon when shown the receipt.
I love your perspective on this being a game. When it’s a game or a hobby, it’s much easier to put it on the back burner for a while when “real life” needs more focus!
I know that I’ve gotten caught up in being obsessed with saving money. It can be easy to do when you live on a budget and don’t have a lot extra. One thing that I found is a must when wanting to save an be a good steward of God’s money is never complain about money around my children. When I heard, “we can’t do that b/c it costs too much” from my kids, I realized that I was way too obsessed. Even if that statement was true, they didn’t need to know that. Kids shouldn’t worry about their parents having enough money to care for them.
I don’t think we should complain about money, but, on the other hand, I don’t think it’s bad for my kids to know that some things that they want are just too expensive for our budget. 🙂
I understand your desire not to have your kids stress about money, but I think it can be appropriate for them to understand the limits of the family’s resources. If they don’t, they may never learn limits until they’re out on their own (and making mistakes!) I remember specific times when I was growing up when I was denied something because it was too expensive. My younger sister, on the other hand, almost never heard that because my parents had a lot of money by the time she came along. Consequently, I’ve always been a saver and she’s always been a spender. Unfortunately, she’s had to learn some hard lessons before getting her spending under control.
I always heard my parents say how tight things were, and I was able to appreciate what we did have. With my kids, I make a point of saying that we CHOOSE not to buy a particular item, or try to point out that the value of the item may not be worth the price. It’s not that we “can’t afford” it, but our money is budgeted for other items.
I’m so glad that I heard my parents say no to me growing up because “it wasn’t in the budget”. I’m in my mid 30s now and look at my friends whose parents never told them that, and 99% of them are in heavy debt. Absolutely heartbreaking!!
I’m so glad that you realized this! I grew up in a home where there was a dollar sign on everything, so to speak. All I heard was how much things cost, how expensive I was, and how stressful it was to be an adult and work a job! There were so many times, even as a small child, that Iwouldn’t even tell my parents that I had a sore throat, toothache, tummyache, ect, because I knew they (my dad especially) would blow his top about me having to be taken to the doctor. It never made sense to me since we always drove brand new cars and lived in one of the nicest subdivisions in the area. I guess those things were more important to them. I still feel like I have to order the cheepest item (even if it’s something I don’t like )on the menu when my husband take us out to eat, and I know that comes from my childhood. I certainly don’t want my children to feel like that on into adulthood and struggle with those thoughts, but I do want to teach them to be good stewards of the money that god entrusts to us.
“God”, not god…I hate it when I make that typo!!
Kim S says
Thank you for posting this! I’m new at the deal searching and coupon-clipping and feel like I’ve become a mad woman about it. BUT I’ve discovered recently, by assigning time in my week (or day) to search deals and clip coupons, I don’t feel so bad (or crazy) about saving money for my family. Thank you again!! God bless!
Lacey Wilcox says
I love that, you’re not only telling your money where to go, you’re also doing the same thing with your time! Plus, setting a specific time of the week to do it helps to make it a little less self-consuming!
Blessings to you and your family–I rejoice at the positive example you’re setting!!
Agreed, agreed, agreed! The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all kind of evil. It is not a verse only for the rich, but for anyone who is obsessed with money, whether they love to spend what they have or constantly wish they had more, or even are consumed by how much they can save.
Another thought I have had in the past is that sometimes being frugal and savvy with how much you’ll pay for certain items can begin to cross the line of being cheap in other areas. We try not to fall into that trap. If I can save money on my groceries and toiletries for my family, it frees us up so we can give more generously to ministries we support, have family over for dinner to enjoy the fruits (sometimes literally!) of our couponing, or to give nicer birthday, christmas, or wedding gifts because we had saved so much. I never want my couponing mindset to spill over into my giving.
I so agree!
We save in many areas so that we can give freely and generously to others. Giving is not an area to scrimp on!
Laura Miller says
I agree too! By saving money in areas, like groceries my family and I are able to put more toward our goal of being debt free which will allow us to give more generous and help others, our ultimate goals.
Allyson @ a Heart for Home says
Very well said. While there’s nothing wrong with getting a good gift at a great deal, we don’t want to cheapen our giving to get the “saving high.”
Our normal weekly savings should free up money to bless our own family but also those around us.
Great article. As with others of course I want to save money. It has never been how much tp, toothpaste or anything else I can get, that scares me. I do enjoy having a stockpile and knowing I paid very little for the items, and not going to the store b/c we are out of something. We do foster care and it is so nice to have the basics when the kids arrive. I keep Matthew 25:40 in the forefront of my mind when I do donations for food pantries, which is normally weekly. When I feel myself holding back… Jesus whispers, “what you did for the least of them, you also did for me.”….
So I did get well over 200 pasta free during the great mega sale. We will keep about 30 and even that is so much pasta – expires 2013. Rest is has been/in process of being donated to the food pantries we donate to.
I don’t want my kids to think that couponing is the most important thing in my life, it is a skill and hobby that I enjoy…but not my life.
“I don’t want my kids to think that couponing is the most important thing in my life, it is a skill and hobby that I enjoy…but not my life.”
Exactly! This is what I think of when I get too into the deal hunt.
Anna J says
I am very much in agreement. I often have to ask myself if I am using my “deal hunting” as an excuse to avoid the other, less desirable, parts of my job as a homemaker (like cleaning the bathroom!) After all, it is a “good” excuse that conveniently never ends.
Ooh, that just hit home with me. Sitting at the computer reading blogs and planning shopping trips is way more interesting than cleaning and laundry. Thanks for putting words to my subconscious pattern.
wait, we’re supposed to be cleaning??
LOL ; )
allison a says
I needed to hear this one today!
Ugh! You really stepped on my toes with that! Something I’m guilty of and need to work on for sure. Thanks – and I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically. 🙂
Yes! Hand in the air! That’s me. But it seems like human nature! It’s so much more fun to look for deals or learn something new than to empty the dishwasher….again.
Lightbulb!!! That is so me.
Jennifer Keahbone says
I’m right there with you! I’ve been couponing since November and it was slowly taking over my life! I’m a SAHM of 2 and my husband is a full-time evangelist (in fact, he spoke at a retreat at your camp a few weeks ago). Honestly, I feel like I’m just coming out of the “funk” of checking blogs 10 times a day and sitting at the computer 5 hours a day looking for deals. I, too, was consumed. I don’t think I would have come out of this obsession without the help of my husband and the Lord. My husband is very proud of all the hard work and savings I’ve had, but he could see where it was going. He gently asked me to pray about finding balance and that’s exactly what I did. After praying and asking the Lord for some direction, my heart instantly changed. It’s been about 2 weeks now and I can honestly say I’m not hyperventilating when I miss out on a “HOT” coupon or can’t run to 3 different stores. I feel so free! We are still saving tons of money, but my perspective has changed. So, Lacey, you’re definitely not alone 🙂 Thank you for your post. I’m glad I’m not the only “crazy” one!
Lacey Wilcox says
Wow, what a great connection–he was here for the Youth Winter Retreat, I think! He did a great job!!
Blessings to you all!
Jennifer Keahbone says
Thanks! I thought that was pretty neat, too 🙂
We are also directors of a baptist camp in Illinois. I am also a Stay at home homeschooling momma! And, I also love my Lord! We have alot in common!
And, I totally understand what you are saying. Been there, and sometimes still struggle with it WOuld love to meet you and chat sometime!
Lacey Wilcox says
Would LOVE that! Any time you need an encouraging word, I’d be honored if you’d let me know…chances are we can probably relate!
are on fb, or what is your regular email? 🙂
Lacey Wilcox says
Definitely on facebook…:)
Indeed! I used to clean my roommate’s room to avoid checking the job ads, whereas the roommate would check the job ads to avoid cleaning up. We quickly came to a chore-sharing agreement.
I love deals and coupons too! But I’ve had to learn that my time is also worth something. Spending too much time looking for deals is taking away time with my family, teaching my children, etc. I have to remember the scripture that God provides for the birds, and He does for us. I don’t want to “run after those things”. So I fit in what I can, set limits on time spent on it, and figure God does the rest.
Barb S. says
I keep telling peopel that couponing is like a part-time job. It takes a lot of time. I sometimes wonder whether that is really the best way to spend my time — sitting at my desk instead of interacting with my family. I guess, for me, it take being willing to miss the deals, to NOT browse the sales papers EVERY week, to even take two weeks off altogether. If I already have a stockpile of body wash, then — as painful as it might be if I knew I’d missed the Olay for $1 sale last week — I can wait to find more deals. They’ll come around again. But it is a constant battle, because I am committed to good stewardship of God’s resources, and I’d hate to run out of something and have to pay [gasp!] full price. But RESTING in God’s provision is key. Thanks for your thoughts.
Resting in God’s provisions is what has blessed me the most. I was a coupon nut who was always looking for a deal and always in the stores spending money. You never realize how the small amounts that you spend at multiple stores can add up to large amounts.
I have stopped constantly shopping and I am now resting in God’s provisions and I have seen a dramatic change in my life, my attitude and my debt. I dont run after every sale and I dont believe I have to use every coupon.
I can do without alot and if I am running low on an item I pray and God has ALWAYS blessed me with a sale. It may sound CRAZY but it works and I am a believer that God is a provider and we dont have to allow coupons or a need to save money consume us. Recently I was running out of ink for my printer and I needed a virus scan for my computer and I prayed about it and a couple of days later I checked my mail and there was a $5 gift card from Walmart. I live in an apartment complex so Walmart sent the gift cards to other residents who simply put them in the trashcan by the mail box without opening them. I was able to get $50+ in gift cards from the trash cans which paid for my ink and virus protection.
God will and can provide.
Deirdre Cheavious says
Thank you! I need to hear someone else say that they trust God for their provision.
I agree, I worry about the same thing. I buy for my friends, so I think I am doing good, but it is consuming a LOT of my time and effort.
You are not alone. I feel guilty when I’m out and have left my coupons at home and know I could have saved myself a buck or two. Then, I let it go. It will only consume you for awhile, until you get the hang of it, then it’s a way of life. My husband always reminds me that simply not purchasing things saves money too. 🙂