Sunday, February 20, 2011

Getting Started

I started this blog to help other people like me, people who want or need to save money.  I am delving into the world of couponing and bargain shopping mainly out of necessity and I'm going to write about it so that others can learn along with me.

In early December of this past year I became unemployed.  Truthfully, I quit my job but it was because I was put into a situation where it didn't make sense for me to work there anymore so I really consider myself to have been laid off.  I wasn't contributing a large amount to our family income, since my daughter was born in the summer of 2009 I had reduced my working hours from full time to part time, working 20 hours per week for a large disability insurance company.  When I stopped working all together, however, it definitely took some adjusting.  I decided that instead of finding another job, that I would be a full time stay at home mom.  We had been lucky enough up until that point to have alternate schedules so my daughter never had to be in daycare and we wanted to keep it that way.  I knew it would be hard, if not impossible, for me to find another job that allowed us to do this and I wanted to go back to school to earn my master's degree anyway.

The first thing I had to do was mourn the loss of that extra income and what that meant to my lifestyle.  We were not rich by any stretch of the imagination but that extra that I was bringing home allowed us to be a little bit nonchalant about money.  That had to stop, immediately, and it was hard, very hard.

The next thing I had to do was make a budget.  I had to  look at how much my husband brought home every month and compare that to what bills we have.  Once that was done, I had to start trimming the fat.  We had used most of our savings to pay off my husbands truck before everything happened with my job.  This was both a good thing and a bad thing.  The bad of it was that we didn't have much (hardly any) buffer, the good of it was that we no longer had that truck payment that would have to be made every month until May.  I was also able to get my student loans deferred so that helped a lot.

Once I got the big things taken care of it was time to start looking at the other big monthly expense, the grocery bill.  I had heard of people using coupons to get staple items for free (or at least nearly free) but I could never figure out how they were doing it.  I'd start into it and get confused and give up.  All those different rewards programs are confusing!  Now I found myself in a situation where I had a lot of time on my hands and a really good reason to learn.

To be continued...

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