Part 2 here on How I Save Money--and a few lessons learned.
HUGE lesson I am living everyday: FILL up with GOD FIRST, then the other things.
Food was a big struggle for me. I would feel weird or nauseous when I didn't get to eat on schedule. Then, this turned into wanting to eat MORE so I wouldn't feel weird. That resulted in years of overeating and extra pounds. The year before Eph was born, I lost over 40lbs and felt amazing. I had lots of tools, time and energy for healthy eating and cooking. After E was born, I struggled with WHO to take care of first. Nearly 100% of the time, it was him. Now, I'm working myself back into the equation. I'm also reading a great book Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. She share stories and gives great scriptures to show how God intended food to be in our lives.
Before Eph was born, I had a ton of time to COUPON too. I filled my life with FIVE trips per day to Walgreens (this was before STL had a CVS close to me). I did deals on vitamins I would never use, deodorant, baby wipes, candles and tons of other household items that I hardly used. I filled all my time with organizing, printing and reading about other people's huge deals. While I did learn a lot during this period of time, I also didn't grow much closer to God. I mean, I would take lots of time out to get organized for shopping trip everyday, but I wouldn't spend 10 minutes a day in God's word.
Luckily, I have an amazing husband who can so easily analyze a situation and share it with me. He pointed out that: #1 my time is worth MORE than the very small free sample I just filled out a long application or survey for #2 My time spent driving, searching, parking and looking for good deals is better spent on cleaning our home (he was gentle! don't worry) and #3 Many of the items I was getting wouldn't help our family --oh and #4 I'm spending WAY too much money every week!
Combine all those factors and a new baby and my coupon days came to a HUGE HALT. Funny thing, I didn't need diapers, toilet paper, toothpaste, tooth brushes, candles, shampoo or conditioner or deodorant until AFTER Ephraim's first birthday! Plus, I was able to share all my good deals with the Affton Food Pantry and Rooftop friends and small groupies.
I also figured out really quickly that I wasn't any good at FOOD deals, sales or coupons. I spent too much time cutting and sorting for unhealthy foods that I would never buy. I also had to toss a lot of food to learn that I shouldn't buy 12 boxes of cereal and KEEP them all. (Especially because I don't like milk or cereal!)
I learned a lot about scams, waste of time websites and found a few things that I "keep" in my savings options for Stephanie folder.
One of my favorite things that I use everyday is SwagBucks. You earn 80 free SwagBucks just for signing up today. I will admit that the search engine isn't amazing, but I still search 5-15 times per day on the site to earn an average of 10 swag bucks per day. Then, for those bucks you can cash in for FREE Amazon or other gift cards. There are TONS of ways to earn more SwagBucks, but I don't play games, do surveys, hunt for them on random pages or anything else. I typically JUST SEARCH and I win lots of prizes. To date, I have redeemed 14, Five Dollar Amazon gift cards! (As I stated before, I am a saver. I still have a lot of SwagBucks to redeem for prizes, I just haven't yet!) That is over $70 FREE for just SEARCHING. I love it. If you think you are interested, I do earn referral SwagBucks if you sign up. Then, you can earn SwagBucks and also earn referral credits for sharing it!
Until the next post....(Wednesday or Thursday!?)