Coupon Clipping for the Ordinary Mom

simple couponingYou’re a busy woman with a lot on your plate, but you want to save money, right?!

One of the oldest ways that people saved money on the home front was through the use of coupons.

There were years that coupon clipping wasn’t “cool,” but then TLC introduced people to the world of Extreme Couponing in 2010.

On that show, cameras followed extreme couponers to see how many groceries and products they could get for little to no money. It was an interesting show to watch, but most people aren’t going to, nor do they need to coupon to that level.

I do not need a stockpile of hundreds of boxes of Hamburger Helper in my garage. In fact, I haven’t even eaten Hamburger Helper since I had kids.

There are a lot of great coupons that you can use to get products for free or deeply discounted; however, if you don’t have a good way of organizing your coupons you will never use them.

As a busy mom, it is even more important that my coupons are organized SIMPLY and can be found easily.

Time is a hot commodity in my life, and I need to make sure that the money saving methods that I use are a good return on my investment. Remember I’m the one who doesn’t even recommend having a garage sale to everyone.

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Debt Free: What is your motivation?

  • Money

woman with student loan debt

What is your motivation to be debt free?

I’m betting you have more than just one reason.

But what is that one thing you plan to buy yourself once you make that final payment?

For me, it’s a new couch.

Yes, a couch.

new beige couch

What I mean is, I want a brand new couch that has never been owned by anyone else before me. I want a nice, comfy couch where I can sit to read a book or lay and take a nap.

relaxing on a couch

I don’t want to use a couch cover to hide the ugly maroon pattern of a couch that is dozens of years old and way outdated.

Seriously, when we’re debt free I’m getting myself a new couch and not just a “new to us” couch, a brand spanking new couch. No one else will have sat upon or taken a nap on my new couch before me.

It seems a little ridiculous when I say it out loud. It’s not like Brian and I don’t earn decent salaries and couldn’t just go out and buy a new couch today, but that’s not the point.

I could certainly forgo paying down our debt one or two months and buy a very nice new couch, but it wouldn’t be as satisfying.

That new couch is my reward for years of dedication to paying down debt.

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Should you hold a garage sale or not?

  • Money

garage sale title

I will never hold another garage sale!

How can a self-proclaimed cheapskate who hates to throw any money away so definitively state that?

Because I have looked at the return on investment (ROI) very carefully and come to the conclusion that garage sales are not a good ROI for us.

The three factors that you need to in determining ROI are time, money and mental health.

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6 Steps to Preparing for a Layoff

possible layoff title

Layoffs, downsizing, fired, pink slip, RIF.

All of these words strike fear for any employee.

Working as a state employee in Illinois, these words are thrown around a lot lately. It used to be that a state job was the dream.

Job stability, a pension, regular work hours.

That’s not the case anymore.

For two consecutive years, with two different employers, I found myself preparing for a layoff. I had no job security and layoffs were imminent.

The first time around there was quite a bit of notice that layoffs would be inevitable. They told us the timeline for the decisions, but no one knew which positions would be eliminated.

The second time around there wasn’t as much notice, which meant less time to prepare, but it also meant less time to worry and stress

We cannot control if we will lose our job due to downsizing and lack of funds, but there are some things we can do to better prepare ourselves for such an event.

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Do I Really Need an Emergency Fund?

  • Money

Emergency Fund title  EMERGENCY FUND

I know you’ve heard the term before, but do you know what it is, why you need one, and how to start one?

An emergency fund is a sum of money that is set aside in your savings account that you only use for (shocker) emergencies. Typically, this amount is $1,000, because that should cover most emergencies including the deductible on your homeowner’s insurance, car insurance or a visit to the ER.

This money should be liquid- meaning you can access it quickly if need be. Your savings account makes the most sense.

If you use Everydollar as your budgeting program, create a budget category for “emergency fund.”

It is not a matter of if an emergency will happen, but rather, when.

Emergencies will most certainly happen, so you need to be as prepared as possible for them. Hence my motto: “Control your controllables.”

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Cars: Do You Really Need an Upgrade?

Do you really need to upgrade your car?

Cars can be a status symbol. They can also be a HUGE money drainer.

To me a car is a practical item that makes life easier and it doesn’t matter to me how nice a car is as long as it meets my needs.

The first car that I ever owned was a 1989 Plymouth Acclaim that I affectionately called “lil blue.”  I bought her for $500 from a car auction the summer before my junior year of college. She was already 12 years old at that point. She had paint chipping all over and manual windows (yes, I had to actually roll down the window—which I did often because her air conditioning was broke), but she ran and she was affordable.

I loved that car.

Not my actual car. I can find no pictures of her. Lil Blue had a whole lot of paint missing.

A couple of months before our wedding, she finally died.

She served me well for 4 years and I can say I ran ‘lil blue into the ground. I knew she was on her last leg, but wasn’t really prepared to buy a new car.

We were saving to pay for our wedding, I was living at my parent’s house and working at a day care center as I tried to find permanent employment.

Eventually we did buy a “new to us” car with payments (because that is what everyone does –right?)

We got married and were a two-car family for about a year and a half.  In that year and a half our “new to us” car turned out to be a lemon. We replaced it with a 2005 Toyota Corolla and then Brian’s old car from high school, 1990 Buick Century, which he had been driving all along, finally died as well.

Not his actual car, because apparently I didn’t take pictures of cars back then.

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