Tag Archives: couponing

Resolutions for the New Year

There are a few times each year when I feel like I can have a real fresh start — those “magical” dates for reordering life and restructuring how I do everything. One is my birthday, because I’m embarking on another year; one is the first day of the school year, which fortunately comes just weeks after my birthday, in case I didn’t get off to such a good start; and the third is New Year’s Day, especially if the fall months didn’t go quite as planned.

So each new year, I make resolutions, write out lists, develop more detailed schedules. But by mid-January, I’m usually ready for a new “fresh start.”

This year, I’m going to try something new, an idea I read in the book Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist. In one of the chapters, the author describes her tendency to pressure herself into not only doing everything, but doing everything BETTER. It was then she decided to write down a list of things she wouldn’t do — activities that, while productive and good to do, weren’t necessarily the ones SHE should be doing.  By following this list, not only did she excuse herself from activity overload, but she allowed herself time for the things that mattered most to her.

So, for this New Year, here’s my list of things I’m not going to do:

(Please note: These are all great things to do, and for that reason I usually pressure myself into doing them, or I feel guilty if I don’t. And they may be just what you are good at or what you want to do this year. Likewise, your “Do Not Do” list may have things that I enjoy doing.)

  • I’m not going to plant a garden. Okay, I have yet to plant a full garden anyway. But we live in the country and have the room, so every spring I feel like we should be planting rows and rows of vegetables. This year, instead, I’m going to concentrate on growing some cherry tomatoes in pots.
  • I’m not going to try to can my own jellies or vegetables. I have tried this one, and though many people around me like to can, I just don’t. But I don’t mind supporting the little shop down the street that sells local jelly.
  • I’m not going to landscape. I love looking at homes with beautiful yards, and I wish our yard looked like that. We even have an area beside our house that would be perfect for a flowerbed. So this year, I think we’ll throw our some wildflower seeds and just see what grows.
  • I’m not going to hang laundry on the line. Though it would save on the power bill, clothes I put on the line usually end up being left there for a day or two… or three. Then I have to wash them all over again.
  • I’m not going to clip a lot of coupons. I’ve tried couponing this year, and while I saved a lot of money, it was very time consuming for me. So this year, I’m only clipping out coupons for laundry detergent, cereal, yogurt, and pet food. Otherwise, I’ll just shop the sales.
  • I’m not going to make hot lunches. Cooking is not my forte, so I’ll save the hot meal for suppertime. After all, a good sandwich can be very tasty.
  • I’m not going to mail birthday cards to extended family and friends. While I did this one year and it was a lot of fun, the family has grown since then to 40+ people. I’ll call or email them instead.

Instead of doing these things, I’m going to enjoy more time with my children doing crafts, putting puzzles together, and playing games. What’s on your “Do Not Do” list?

Couponing

SHPlaceOfBusGrocery4A friend at our co-op is known in several grocery stores as “The Coupon Lady.” She spends quite a bit of time following the sales, and for her efforts she saves a huge amount of money on her family’s weekly food bill. Inspired, I asked her for some tips. She did something even better — she had a class in her home for any interested moms to show us how she does it.

I used to use coupons long ago, and now I’m using them again. With the help of some couponing websites (southernsavers.com and hotcouponworld.com), along with the grocery store websites, I’m starting to save a lot of money. I love looking at the bottom of the receipt now to see how much I’ve spent compared to how much I’ve saved.

To clip the coupons, I’m following my friend’s recommendation of laying out multiple newspaper ads and clipping identical coupons all at the same time. What I haven’t got a handle on yet, though, is how to sort them quickly. And with the big pile of unsorted coupons on my desk, it shows.

I thought I’d work at it late at night once a week while watching a favorite movie. By that time, though, I’m usually too tired to think about coupons. Several people have suggested I put the older children to work at it, which sounds like a good idea — I just need to take the time to teach them how to do it. I think once I’m caught up, weekly sorting won’t be too hard — it’s because I have so many to sort right now that it’s become such a chore.

But all in all, I think I’ll stick with couponing. We’re enjoying foods we don’t usually buy, and for half the price!