As 2014 comes to an end, I am so thankful for couponing, saving and the skills I have learned that help me shop in a new way! Let me tell you a bit about my year as well as the goals I have for 2015.
First, because of couponing, our family has been able to provide hundreds of pounds of food and toiletries for two families (in an anonymous fashion) during the past year. In fact, for about two and a half years now, our family has anonymously provided for them to help meet some of their basic needs. Our family would never have been able to do this without the couponing and savings skills I have learned since I began this journey in 2008.
While helping these families is an outward expression of the benefits of couponing, keeping my own family well fed and fully stocked with toiletries and cleaning supplies is also part of my focus.
In 2008 when I began this couponing journey, I had four children -- but the oldest child was only 7. Fast-forward six years and I find myself feeding an 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy. Needless to say, food disappears quickly around the house. Soaps and toothpaste don’t last nearly as long as they once did -- and because the clothing is larger, more loads of laundry (and more detergent) are needed to do the work.
No worries, though, because I have been able to adjust my purchasing patterns to reflect these needs. I continue to coupon through these increases -- just adding a few more items to the stockpile when I do the shopping. Percentage-wise, my savings remain the same despite the increase.
With all that said, 2014 is wrapping up with our family spending an average of $70-$75 per week for all our toiletries, cleaners and food.
I estimate that our average may be slightly less than that figure, but it will be late January before I know for sure. As I began to think about 2015, I have a few goals, but they might not be the goals you expect in the way of savings and couponing.
I do not have a goal for my spending to decrease in 2015. Yes, you read that right. I am happy to remain in the $70-$80 per week range. There are a few reasons for this. First, with those growing boys, decreasing the spending is very unlikely to happen. Second, our family is in the process of adopting, and with a baby will come formula and diaper expenses. With that said, one goal I do have for 2015 is to learn how to score great deals on diapers and formula.
A second goal I have for 2015 is to learn how to save in different ways. You see, I do a lot of paper couponing and a good bit of online savings but I rarely use my phone to save money.
I know there are many, many apps out there that can help me increase my savings. So in 2015 I would like to learn how better to use my phone to save money.
What about you? Will you be making goals to spend less in certain places in 2015? Could you squeeze a little more fun out of a decreased entertainment budget? Could you help other families, a food bank or a shelter with your coupon savings and stockpile items in 2015?
Take a few minutes in the next week to think carefully about your spending habits. If you are working to pay off debt or save for a vacation, examine your spending habits when it comes to “extras” you may be mindlessly purchasing. Whatever you do, do it intentionally -- with a plan that can help you succeed.
At the end of 2015, I’d love to hear your financial success story and the ways that you learned to save “centsably”!