Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Getting Started

The last few years have really been a lifestyle change for us, not in a bad way, just different. Before having kids, I could have counted on one hand the number of coupons I had used-and they didn't save me much. I thought I was doing a good job saving money by purchasing store brand products and buying our basic supplies at places like Walmart. I've always been a careful spender, and didn't think I had much room or time for saving money. When my sister-in-law mentioned couponing I got a little nervous, it seemed like a lot of work for a little bit of savings. It was something I would learn "later", like that second language I've been meaning to get to. Pretty soon a lay-off required me to take a crash course in saving money, and shortly after that I was addicted. Now we are using name brand products, have a small "stockpile" in case of an emergency, and I easily save us $500+/month in only 1-3 hours per week!

While teaching friends how to save money, I've learned that the amount of information can be overwhelming. These important tips will help you to be successful:

1. Take it slowly. Try out one new change each week. This is a lifestyle change and too much too soon can overwhelm both you and your family.

2. Enlist a friend. Find someone who has the desire to save money as well and navigate the waters together, hold eachother accountable if you can. You can even make it a contest to see who can save more each month--winner goes out on a date and the loser babysits!

3. Get your family on board. Letting your spouse and kids know what you are doing and why is key. You are most likely not the only one with access to your household finances-so it doesn't really matter how much you save if your family members are still spending it.

If you are still skeptical that your family will be able to do this, I'm here to tell you I know exactly how you feel. It's new, it's different and it's scary but you can do it!!!

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