Why do we use coupons?

We were very touched to read how Michelle at www.iheartpublix.com began her couponing endeavors. Today her site has over 80,000 subscribers. We received her permission to reprint her article below. Thanks Michelle!

What Couponing Means To Me…

 What Couponing Means To Me...I was sitting here getting the Ask I Heart Publix post ready for tomorrow and one of the questions got me thinking about what couponing means to me today. I am not sure I have ever really shared my story fully …so I thought it might be time to give you guys a little more on what couponing means to me!

I started using coupons many years ago – before it was “cool” to coupon icon wink What Couponing Means To Me... I always used coupons here and there but did not start really saving big until about 6 years ago.

I started getting serious with coupons after seeing a special on the news about a woman out in California who got a ton of groceries for next to nothing. I just so happened to be putting up our weekly $250+ grocery purchases when I watched the story. I looked at what the woman purchased for $25 and what I purchased for over $250 and about fell over! It’s funny because I can remember almost everything I bought that day and the feeling of disappointment when I looked at my receipt!

That was the day that I completely changed my life and financial future!

After college and graduate school I had accumulated a huge amount of debt including student loans and other credit card debt. When I met my husband I was making good money and also spending lots of money. I would buy whatever I wanted while over $50,000 in debt! Fast forward a few years – we are now married and expecting our first child!

I had always wanted to stay home with my children – at least while they were young. We decided that it was going to be doable for me to be a stay at home mom. My husband’s salary would allow us to live comfortably without my income. We really did not consider our debt to be anything other than another bill you pay. Mortgage, insurance, utilities and credit card bills were just something you pay every month – right?

WRONG…while we were able to make our payments each month, at the rate we were going we would never be out of debt. Not to mention, it is hard to save money when you are putting most of your incoming funds to living expenses and bills!

Couponing made me realize that if I could save money on my groceries I could save money elsewhere. Why on earth would I want to work so hard to reduce my grocery budget to just throw that savings away on excessive spending at the mall or restaurants? I decided that I needed to come up with a budget so that my efforts were actually making a difference.

I made big changes. At first it was hard to change our way of life – really hard!! But…once that first bill was paid in full I started to see that our efforts were actually paying off. It didn’t seem so hard to live on a budget any more!

After a couple of years I had managed to pay off every single credit card bill that my husband and I had accumulated! A few years later and here we are with our only bills being the monthly utilities, insurances and our mortgage. Now I can’t get rid of the utilities or insurances but I am hoping that very soon I will have the mortgage paid off in full!

For me, couponing has completely changed my life. It has made me recognize that a little effort can lead to big results. I feel like I have more control over my family’s future. Believe it or not the constraints of a budget have offered up more freedom than I would have ever imagined! I am now in control of my finances and that sense of relief is like none other.

Now, be aware that it has taken me years to get to this point. I still splurge on occasion and I still make mistakes. Couponing and saving is truly a way of life for me and for my family. I realize that this may not be the way some folks choose to live but for us it works. It’s funny to think that I got here thanks to a few little pieces of paper and a pair of scissors.

You can read more couponing stories from other’s in my Reader Spotlight series. Everyone has a different story as to why they coupon and what it means to them. If you have a story, share it here or email it to me. If you just want to share a comment on what couponing has done for you please feel free to leave it in the comments. I love to read why people coupon and what got them started…it’s fun to peek into other likeminded folk’s lives!

So what did you think? Please comment below and tell us how couponing has helped you!

What is Swagbucks?

Search & WinSwagbucks is a search engine that rewards it’s members with online currency known as “SwagBucks”. It’s very simple to sign up, use, and collect your rewards. Use your Swagbucks to redeem for prizes such as $5.00 Amazon gift cards, NY Giants temporary tattoo’s, or wallpaper for your desktop. There are MULTIPLE ways that you can earn swagbucks:

  • Install the Swagbucks Toolbar – This will get you 1 swagbuck per day just for having it, plus it has a search box which makes it easier for you to win.
  • Participate in surveys – Can get you anywhere from 5 to 30 Swagbucks depending on the length.
  • Watch Videos – Sometimes and ad comes out or a celebrity wants to pay you to see a video. You watch the who thing… you get swagbucks.
  • Link with facebook – Attach your swagbucks account to facebook and get 30 in one shot. Share with your friends when you redeem your prizes.
  • Refer a friend – This is the probably the best way to earn swagbucks. If you refer a friend… the first 1000 swagbucks you earn is also given to you too!
  • Find and look for SwagCodes – A SwagCode is a text code that you can input to earn swagbucks instantly, they are all over the Swagbucks website and you can even check for a swagcode in our swidget at the bottom of this page. Friday’s are Mega SwagBuck days and there is usually more codes issued and they are worth a lot more. Plus, it’s FUN to look for these hidden codes.

In the time I have been using Swagbucks I have earned about 25 $5.00 Amazon Gift Cards. All I need to earn one $5.00 gift card is 450 Swagbucks. And I surf everyday so its so worth it! I never search anymore without using Swagbucks. You have nothing to lose, so why not try it out? Click Here to get started!

We shocked a lot of people…

Here’s a heartwarming story for you. My daughter and I were on our way to go to Walmart to donate a backpack full of school supplies. They have a box in the lobby that was not very full so we figured we would donate anonymously to the cause.

It was not to be…

On our way we stopped first at Sav-a-lot to take advantage of a cereal deal. While we were checking out we noticed a single mother with four young children. The youngest, starting kindergarten this year, asked her mom “Can I have a backpack too?” The mother replied that they couldn’t afford a backpack because they could only get the essentials. Apparently after Sav-a-lot they were going to Tropical Smoothie to get some free pens and other small giveaways. It wasn’t much to get excited about.

My daughter and I just looked at each other and had the exact same thought. So she ran outside and got the backpack we were going to take to Walmart later. When we gave it to them we said “Everything you need is in here.” The little girl was very excited. Everyone else was shocked!

The backpack contained:
2 packs of loose leaf paper
2 spiral notebooks
2 bottles of glue
Folders
Pencils
Pens
Crayons
Toothpaste (not a school supply I know.. but we donate toothpaste just about everywhere…)
a Toothbrush
and Ponytail holders

I think the little girl was mostly excited by the backpack itself…which was pink.

We learned by talking with the mother that her three older children already had backpacks from earlier years, but the youngest never owned one. Seeing her smile really warmed our hearts and reminded us how great it is to give. The mother thanked us over and over.

When we left we heard one person say “Maybe there are some Christians left in the world.”