About three years ago, my best friend was watching the Today Show and happened to see someone talking about couponing. She eagerly shared with me all about how the woman on the show was paying next to nothing for her groceries by using coupons. I dragged my feet for a few months before doing a little research on that, at the time, foreign concept of “couponing” and boy was I sorry that I waited. Once I finally took a little time to do a little research online, I was astounded at what I found. There really were people out there that were savings thousands and thousands of dollars by using coupons! Before I knew it, my friend and I fell head over heals in love with couponing. We pretty much breathed, ate and slept couponing for the next 6 months. We made a whole bunch of newbie mistakes in the process, but eventually felt quite comfortable with the ins and the outs to the point were we started telling others about our success and how this new lifestyle had changed our lives.
Later that same year, a Thanksgiving outreach at my church confirmed what I had been contemplating. It was time to share the blessings of my new-found lifestyle with others who could benefit from the tremendous savings. After receiving that confirmation it was full steam ahead and Bargain Blessings was born within a few days! To my surprise, what I had thought would be a quiet little website used by friends and family, quickly started to grow and grow and grow! I am now blessed and delighted every day to have a wonderful community of you fabulous readers who have embarked upon the frugal journey with me!
A few months ago I shared with you that I was taking the Savings.com Savings Pledge. The pledge that I made was to save an extra $200 each week. This might seem like a lot to some, but saving money is something that I consider myself to be good at so I decided to shoot for the stars.
One if my favorite aspects of the Savings Pledge is that it really forced me to take a step back and look at what areas I am currently overspending in and to come up with an action plan to cut back. The three main areas that I have focused on this year are saving money on gas, eating at home more frequently and using things that I already have on hand instead of buying them new. The other aspect of the Savings Pledge that has been beneficial for me is that it caused me to take some time to reassess just what exactly it is that I want to be saving for. I am a strong believer that it is our goals that pave the path for successful saving and spending strategies. Without goals it is so easy to become disillusioned and overwhelmed with all the savings opportunities that are presented to us. Similar to someone who is on a diet, just because you overeat (or overspend in this case) once it should not be allowed to derail your entire goal, whatever it may be.
I have been putting $200 of savings towards paying off my mortgage. I’ve been working for quite some time now to become debt free and for me when I say debt free, that includes my mortgage. If you also have a mortgage and you have not calculated your total interest expense over the life of your loan yet, I highly encourage you to do so. I just did this earlier this year and was floored to find that it was actually more than the amount that I was lent to begin with. This has been a significant motivator for me to reach my savings goal each week as I would much rather put that interest expense toward other areas of my budget! I’m very excited to report that since I’ve started this pledge I’ve already made very significant progress towards my goal and am getting ready to refinance with a significantly lower mortgage balance!
As you read this, I am currently in New York City with over 40 other amazing Deal Pros for my second SaveUp conference. It is so exciting to get to spend some time with other money saving experts that are as passionate as I am about helping their readers to save money.
Now, this is the fun part! Today at 2:15PM MT Savings.com will be hosting a live streaming session from the conference! There will be a short couponing 101 class followed by a live Q&A with all DealPros with questions pulled directly from the #SU11 Twitter stream! They will also be choosing one viewer to receive a brand new iPad 2! All you need to do is participate is RSVP on the Savings.com Facebook live stream event page and attend the sessions later today to be eligible to win! All of the details that you will need can be found in the announcement post on the Savings.com blog. I hope to see you all there!