By Becky McCorvey
I started living a more frugal lifestyle not so much by choice but by necessity in 2008. Due to the economic changes in our country combined with my own past financial mistakes/mishaps, I saw that I needed to make some drastic changes in my financial life.
I got serious about my budget. I had taken Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course at my church some years earlier but had not been diligent about following it. A friend recommended Microsoft Money, and I checked into it and downloaded it. It has really helped me and seems like less work than mapping it out on paper as I had done for some time. I guess I'm visual, and I like being able to open the program and look at the current month's bill schedule. I also like seeing that something is crossed off after the payment has been made.
This budgeting program provided me with a true view of my financial situation. I saw where I was spending too much in various categories. I have to admit it was pretty scary. I began to look at my finances and wasteful ways as a part of my stewardship of what God provides for me and my children. I wasn't doing a very good job of handling it.
I started reading blogs about money-saving ideas, frugal ideas - anything I could find that I thought may help my situation. The Internet seemed to be full of people who had been in my situation and worked their way out. One of the key points was looking at all of one’s monthly bills and cutting back where possible. I made some changes to services I had, and that helped put a little wiggle room in my budget.
The main thing I found during this time was couponing. I researched blogs on how people were saving an amazing amount of money on their groceries. I set my bi-weekly grocery budget very strictly and began the couponing. It has been fun but also a lot of work and research to find the technique that works best for me. I continue to find new tips and ideas, so my technique is continually evolving.
Most of all, couponing is fun, addictive and a great way to make new friends. If you see me in Kroger, stop and say hello.