I asked Karen to share her story because it’s so inspiring. She was able to cut her expenses enough to quit her job and become a stay-at-home mom to her two small children. Her is her journey:
In May of 2012, I was eight months pregnant with my first baby and put on bed rest. During those three weeks, not once did I go stir crazy. I started really realizing I didn’t want to put my daughter in daycare. I wanted to be home every day watching her grow up. My daughter was born June 11 and I dreaded the day in August I would be “stuck” going back to work. I was in denial, honestly, that I would ever even return to work. I remember the night before my return date, I thought my husband would finally tell me I could stay home. Unfortunately, I had to return to work. We had bills that still needed my income.
My husband and I made a “deal”. I work and pay off our cars, and I can then quit my job. That was the motivation I needed. Every paycheck, bonus, etc. paid for daycare and the rest went to our car payments. Over the course of this plan, we started examining every bill we paid. We cut cable and moved to satellite, we found new trash service, changed cell phone carriers and even refinanced our house. Everything we could we cut, we did. Finally, the last bill we needed to cut was our grocery bill. We were paying $300 A WEEK on groceries for myself, my husband and a six month old baby. Her formula was very expensive but, obviously, we needed to find ways to cut the grocery bill.
I decided to take a couponing class taught by Nicole McDonald at Millard South High School. I figured for $19.00 what did I have to lose? I went in with both feet into the couponing world. I bought a binder, organized coupons and started asking friends and family for their extra coupons. I began to build a stock pile and saving money through price matching and couponing. The savings finally started to pay off.
The first couponing trip I made was to Walgreens the Sunday after I took the couponing class. I was armed with my coupons and my list ready to tackle my transactions. I remember in that very first trip, I saved more than the $19.00 I paid for the class. I continued to work at building the stockpile and saving money. I watched sales, and stocked up when the prices were the lowest.
My husband built me shelves in the basement and by the time I quit my job in May, they were well stocked! Now that my stockpile was built, I didn’t need to spend near the amount of money on groceries. We planned $300 a month for groceries. That’s the same amount I used to spend in just one week!
I started meal planning for a month at a time, making a big grocery purchase at the beginning of the month and only going back for milk and produce in-between big purchases. I started buying meat in bulk to save money there as well.
My plan of price matching and couponing helped me become a stay at home mom and, to this day, I still coupon and price match. I often shop where the sales are instead of doing all my shopping at a big box store. My stockpile isn’t near as large, because with two kids now, I don’t have as much time to devote. But when I need to really save, I’m armed with the knowledge and power of couponing and price matching. If you set your eyes on the prize, you too can make a goal happen by saving money with couponing.
Karen Basye of Omaha, Nebraska, left corporate America 4 years ago to leave the dream life of mommy land. She is the busy mom of 2 and blogs at Basye Toddler Mom.