The Inexpensively Network connects individuals from around the country to provide families with the most up to date and accurate savings tools in their own communities. They compile weekly lists for grocery store deals, suggest ideas on living your life for less, offer tips on finding the best savings and encourage our community to be charitable even on a budget. Meet our team each week as we feature one of our contributors, in her own words.
I am a happily married mother of three – one handsome little boy and two beautiful girls. On top of being Barbie’s Head Costume Coordinator, a on-call taxi cab driver, and 24/7 on-call nurse for my family of 5, I also work VERY part time at my church in the child care area and author the blog IN Good ‘Cents’.
I have a secret that often shocks many of my readers. Since I post tons of great shopping deals each week, they would never guess that I actually can’t stand shopping. It’s not the actual act of shopping. I just can’t stand parting with money, which is why it isn’t surprising that I help others around me cut their own budget on every day items. Basically, I’m cheap and while it used to be embarrassing to be cheap, it’s suddenly becoming cool.
I didn’t become a frugal shopper overnight. In fact, it took me a while to get the hang of it. When my husband and I decided we wanted someone to stay home with our first baby and I decided I wanted that person to be me, our income was cut in half almost overnight. Though we spent months testing our ability to survive on one income, nothing could have prepared us for the unexpected – broken appliances, car repairs, and another baby. Some months went well, while other months, we struggled. I was looking everywhere for places to save money so it wouldn’t have to be a constant worry.
One day, I was watching my daughter play with a friend at the park. Her friend’s mom suddenly asked, “Did you go get your free stuff at Walgreens this week?” I looked at her as if she had completely lost her mind! “Walgreens is giving away products now?” I laughed. But she told me how to get two bags of Dove chocolate absolutely free, along with some toothpaste, which I guess I’d need after eating all that chocolate! Later that week, I stopped by to get my free chocolate and toothpaste. I was a nervous wreck and walked in like I expected the police to grab me at any moment, but the transaction went of without a hitch and I left with the biggest smile on my face. The next week, she told me about another deal and let me in on where to find some great deals online.
While I was snagging the free items each week, I mentioned it to my mom who became a coupon pro almost instantly. She was getting her groceries and toiletries for next to nothing and e-mailing me the great things she bought each week. I was green with envy. It took me a bit longer to catch on, but once I got the hang of stacking coupons, I cut our grocery budget from about $600-800 a month to only about $160 a month.
The most shocking part of all was that my family was now eating a lot healthier. We always had fresh produce around, our freezer was stocked with delicious meats and our pantry was over flowing with goodies. On top of that, I added 24 more free tubes of toothpaste within a few months to my toiletry stash that was already full of shampoos, body washes, bar soaps and more. We went from being a family that was struggling to get by to a family that had so much we could easily make weekly donations to our church and help other families in desperate need.
My friends and family kept asking my mom and I how we did and thus, IN Good ‘Cents’ was born, so that I would pass on the knowledge I learned, along with the best weekly deals, to others! Now, on top of the blog, I teach in-home classes called Savings Soirees in Terre Haute, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne to help other families dramatically cut their own budgets.