I became convicted of my shopping/spending patterns many years ago when I was a struggling single parent. I never gave much thought to coupons, CVSing, Walgreens, etc. I was more determined to pay off my debt and stay out of the mall.
I cut up my cards and even wrote nice little letters to those places in the mall that I had been a VALUED customer, expressing my radical change of mindset on becoming frugal. I had checked out Amy Dacyczyn books, The Tightwad Gazette, and went on a quest to try and make my meager salary cover all the essentials that my little boy and I needed.
Back then, when I had the urge to go to the mall, I called it my "500.00 Days". I knew in my gut I would find a 'sale' and would charge up my cards, and walk out of the shoe store with a pair of pumps in every color to match my beautiful 'bargains'. Through prayer and much retrospect I learned that I took great pleasure and peace from shopping. It filled an area of my life much like any addiction.
I realized that this addiction to shopping went hand in hand with my tendancy to eat emotionally. I was taking the pain in my life and transferring it to these two areas that were a detriment to my heart and life. I truly knew the only thing that could fill up my heart was a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father, but as with any addiction, I just could not pull myself away. It is hard work and something that I still have to fight in the area of eating emotionally.
After some time of getting my priorities in order and my heart right with the Lord, I would tell my pastor that I felt like the Lord was getting ready to do something really big in my life. I could sense a big change coming. I had been working on my body, mind, and spirit. I knew that I had to get all areas of my life under His authority and control.
I went about my business of becoming what I thought was 'frugal'. I got into the Once a Month Cooking, and the 30Day Gourmet, plus I planned my meals. I quit going to the mall so much.
All the while my heart was changing and my methods were growing in how I tried to save money but still no coupons or CVS stuff.
Seven years ago I had a big change breeze into my life alright. My handsome husband literally walked into my life and with him came three more precious children. I feel that the Lord was preparing me for this life change! I already had in place some great things that would help us as a family.
Lately, I began to feel that I could do more for my family. I felt that same sort of conviction fall over me in the area of being a Proverbs 31 Wife and Mom. I remembered when I was single I really studied Proverbs 31 and wanted to be that woman. I prepared my heart and mind for marriage even though I was single and unsure if there would be a marriage in my future.
About two months ago I decided that I would give the couponing 'ONE' more try and would even attempt to figure out this Easy Care Card from CVS. Too be honest, I did not like CVS or Walgreens because I felt like I could do better at the big box stores. However, now that my mind has been opened to the possibilities that are out there, I know that I am headed in the right direction for my family. I am on a first name basis with my local CVS cashier!
Currently, my teenagers don't see it. They think I spend too much time talking about it, reading about it, and getting my lists together. However, my daughter thought it was pretty cool she was able to get two eyeshadow trios for FREE at CVS. That really resonated with her. I ran in to get a few things and rolled over my ECBs and spent only 2.11 out of pocket and came out of the store with almost 30.00 in new ECBs. She was impressed; ever so slightly.
So now they call me the coupon mom. I used to be called the Internet Queen, somehow I think that Internet Queen holds a lot more weight in their eyes but this is one addiction that is good for me and my family. I go by a list and only buy what we use or need. Okay well not all the time. We DO NOT NEED the candy that I have gotten free lately. The metabolism of teenagers is enviable. Candy, soda, and junk food were one of the things that I gave up as a single parent. So we have not had those things in the past seven years except for special events. Matter of fact, I was quizzed by the kids when we were about to become a family. They asked me these questions:
1. Do you buy candy?
2. Do you buy soda pop?
3. Do you have junk food at home?
Uh, no. They had the total look of horror on their faces. So I guess seven years later they are LOVING CVS but not quite ready to fess up to good ol' Mom.
So yes, my name is Vickie and I have become an addict to saving money for my family. I predict this addiction will have great rewards!