Saving Money: Finding What Works for You

By: Darlene Arechederra

I admit it! I*m guilty!

My husband has lovingly accused me of taking *nothing* out of the fridge and making something out of it. I transform it into a scrumptious, edible meal, and he shakes his head in wonder. He*s delighted each and every time I pull it off.

And do you know what happens when he grins at me that way?

I keep doing it! Every chance I get. It comes naturally for me. It*s a pleasure, and it*s one of the small ways I save money.

But, not all money-saving strategies come naturally to everyone. For me, there*s one that creates more stress in my busy world. It works for others, but not for me.

I*m talking about collecting and using coupons to save even more money while shopping.

If using coupons seems easy for you, you*re probably in your element using them. You enjoy the process of finding, clipping, sorting and organizing them. You*re always on the lookout for new coupons you can use to help you save money.

Or, maybe like me, you*d rather mess with a hive of bees than deal with coupons.

Over the years, I tried to do the coupon thing. You know. Making sure you*ve got the newspapers, flyers, magazines. Oh my, which ones to keep? So many choices! And we don*t want to clip something we normally wouldn*t use just because we have that coupon for it.

Right?

In my coupon journey, I*d pull the coupons out, page by page and tuck them away just in case I needed them. So there they sat. A pile of clutter for me to move around.

But hey, maybe if I shove them in my glove box it*d work better. I cleaned out the glove box to make more room for these money-saving chunks of gold.

Finally, the big day arrives. I*m actually at the store. And my coupons are still intact. My blood pressure shoots up as I envision all that money I*m going to save. I*m only minutes away from having that extra money to buy my new car.

So far, so good. I*ve found my goodies. I*m ready to go. I*ve made it, big time. Confident and pleased with myself, I place my items on the conveyor belt that*s zipping right along. It should be illegal for something to move so fast. I*d bring home a speeding ticket if I kept that speed on the highway.

But, I*ve got to pull my eyes back to the road now. Oops. It looks like... a speed bump up ahead. Better slow this baby down.

What do you mean, *This Coupon*s Expired?* How could this happen?

Fine, then. They can*t ALL be expired. I*m going to pull out my patience and use it for awhile. I*m almost home-free with my bundle of savings.

*Uh, Miss? I*m sorry, but these aren*t the right items for those coupons you*ve got there.*

My eyeballs began to roll at this point. I restrained them, remembering the manners my mother taught me.

*Well! Thank you for sharing that with me!* I tried to separate my clenched teeth. It took me a bit to manually snap my jaw back in place, too. I followed with a deep, long breath for stress relief.

And as I slowly exhaled, I decided I*d never, ever be caught in line with coupons in my hand that didn*t save me any money. I spent time and energy by searching, clipping, storing and carrying them around with me. And of course, remembering to bring them in to the store with me. I had done this more than once, and never with any good results.

No more coupons for me!

No, I*m going home where I*ll make a scrumptious meal out of nothing from the fridge. I*ll listen to hubby*s oohs and aahs. And I*ll feel great again, knowing I*ll still save today. Just as soon as I take something for this headache, of course.

Yes, I*ll save some money today. But I*ll do it MY way.

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