New to couponing and saving money? Overwhelmed?

5 Jan

I’m a busy mom. I’m also a disorganized and a recovering procrastinator and money-waster. I desperately want to change, but being so new to this lifestyle, so set in my bad habits and so extremely busy, I have no idea how to go about it. Do you have any suggestions for me?

 

I started writing this and was going to do one post, but its not possible.  So I’m going to do a series over the next few days with some step-by-step help for you and others who have just discovered couponing and are feeling overwhelmed at where to start.

1. Streamline Your Life

Saving money is hard work. Its going to take some time and effort. There’s no way around that. If it were easy to live beneath your means or save 65% on all your grocery bills, everyone would be doing it! It doesn’t have to take hours and days of your week, but if you want to change, you first need to be willing to commit to doing it. It will be worth it, but it won’t always be easy. There will be sacrifices, you just can’t do it all.  So if you really want to see some significant changes in your savings but you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and busy with your current responsibilities, you’re going to need to cut some things out or multi-task in order to make time to spend getting your finances in order. For example, my husband and I LOVE our date nights, but I discovered that getting a sitter for date night and then trying to take our kids shopping was not working. Now, we go shopping on our date night. We will have a dinner (usually using coupons) and then we hit the stores. Sure it might not be as fun as going to a movie, but it accomplishes my goal, which leads me into the next point.

2. Set Short-term and Long-term Goals

Once you’ve decided to streamline your life and put forth some effort when it comes to getting your finances in order, it’s time to get down to business! The first thing that needs to be done is setting goals. Take a few hours during a quiet evening (I know, I know, most of you have kids and its hard to get a quiet evening) to brainstorm (do this exercise with your husband if you are married). Where do you hope to be in five years and ten years from now? What are your dreams? Don’t be shy! Write down whatever comes to your mind. It’s okay to dream big dreams — even if they seem impossibly out of your reach, most likely they are not out of reach with some work. Once you’ve scribbled down a lot of big ideas, choose which ones you really want to shoot for. I say to pick no more than three long-term goals. Make a new list with just these three and break them down into smaller, short-term goals. If you’re not out of debt, that should be the top goal on your list. It’s hard to get any financial traction if you’re dragging payments around with you wherever you go! Now, break these big long-term goals down into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Let’s say you have $10,000 in credit card debt and you’d like to have it paid off in two years. That means you need to have a goal of paying $5,000 off per year which is about $417 per month, or about $105  per week. So there you have one of your smaller goals: you need to find an extra $105 in your budget each week in order to pay your credit cards off within two years. When you break it down in that way, it doesn’t seem as overwhelming.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll be sharing some tips and ideas on how to stretch your time and money!

Readers: What suggestions do you have for  brand-new savers (or even the “pros”) who are feeling overwhelmed with where to start? I’d love to hear what has helped you!

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3 Responses to “New to couponing and saving money? Overwhelmed?”

  1. Jessica January 5, 2011 at 2:48 am #

    Very good tips, can’t wait to see what you’ll say next!

  2. Dorothy January 5, 2011 at 4:20 am #

    You are doing great and should be proud of yourself and all you have accomplished!

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