I just started couponing a little over a year ago, so this first change - buying less - has been a little hard for me. If it's free or cheap, sometimes it's really, really hard not to buy! I've FINALLY started to learn that even good deals cost something (whether it's gas, tax, time, etc.) and if I can't use it or give it away, then I don't need it...no matter what it is! I think this is something that all couponers struggle with, but I've started using Mint.com and watching every single dollar I spend, and we really are saving since I haven't been spending $1-5 here and there for things we really don't need. If you struggle with this too, I encourage you to try it out for a week or two and see how much you can save :)
The second change might sound counterproductive to the first, but it's really not. In addition to buying things we didn't need, I often found myself NOT buying things that my family would have enjoyed because those things cost more than "the deals". For example, I might not buy chips for my husband for months just because they weren't on sale. The $1.50 to $2.00 I might have spent per week on chips would have made my husband happier, I think, and that's why this year we are going to spend a little more. We aren't going to go crazy, but spending a few dollars here and there for something you ACTUALLY want versus spending fifty cents on things we don't really want is worth it!
This last change is definitely the most meaningful one. We've had a lot of opportunities lately for my husband and I to make a lot more money, but we would have had to sacrifice a fair bit of our time together as a family to do it. Having more money but not having the time to enjoy the blessings that God has given us is not our idea of a meaningful life, so this year we have decided to really evaluate every opportunity and make sure that they aren't counterproductive to true riches. Some of these "opportunities" are sneaky and they look like something great, but when you take the time to realize what you stand to lose if you take them, passing on the opportunity is the best choice to make.
So, there you have it! Three simple changes- buying less, spending more (sometimes), and valuing time over money- that have made a pretty big difference in our lives. What about you? What have you been doing differently this year that has had a positive impact on your life? I'd love to hear your stories! It would be great to have some ideas for next year :)
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