Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Real Stories from Real People
“Honey, I’ve been laid off from my job…” are words that you never want to hear your husband say, particularly when you have two growing boys, and another baby on the way. It doesn’t matter how many times you have said you know that the Lord will not give you more than you can handle, in THAT moment you begin to doubt that which you knew to the core of your being. You begin to experience the emotions of anger, sadness, confusion and doubt all within a few short minutes… all without wanting to make your husband feel bad, because you know it is not his fault. That is where I was one late night in September of 2009, and it was an uncomfortable spot to be… but through that God showed me how his hand of providence and provision stretches out to his children even when they can’t see it at the time.
You see months earlier my husband and I had began talking about different ways that we could try to cut monthly bills, save on power and electricity and most of all cut down on our grocery budget. Now don’t get me wrong our family had always tried to live frugally, buy what was on sale, cook more and eat out less but we still felt that the $150 I was spending on groceries every two weeks was too much. So began my quest to cut our grocery bill but still be able to feed our family healthy foods that tasted good and to eat organic whenever it was possible. Pretty soon I began buying a newspaper on Sunday and clipping coupons, but I still shopped at only one grocery store that I had always shopped at and was continually disappointed at the money I was saving. It was then that my friend Oxana, posted on facebook how she had gotten a shopping cart of groceries for a ¼ of what I would have paid for it at the time and I just had to find out how she had done it. I asked her some questions like “Where do you get your coupons, where do you shop, and how do you save that much money?” She kindly messaged me back giving me some pointers, along with a list of a few wonderful websites that I could check out… and check them out I did. At first I will admit visiting one of these websites was like trying to read Swahili without having a clue of where to begin… there were tons of codes like SS,RP, P&G and dates every where… but with a lot of time and a little bit of determination and patience things began to make more sense.
It wasn’t very long until I was buying at least three newspapers each week, printing coupons off-line, and spending at least an hour on Fridays planning out the two to three grocery stores I wanted to shop at over the weekend, along with making lists of the coupons I would need and how many of each item I would need to buy to use the coupons I had. At first my husband was skeptical, particularly on my first shopping trip when he came along and I bought over 4 boxes of cereal and he just kept saying… “But Ashlie we don’t use that much cereal in two weeks…”, but I calmly asked him to wait and see until we checked out. Much to my surprise and to his… after the cashier had wrung up all our items and taken off the stack of coupons I came armed with to the store, we had only spent $110 to feed our family of four for two weeks…. And I had saved over 50%... I was hooked!!!
In the coming weeks and months I continued to read my favorite websites, clip my coupons and plan my shopping trips and to my surprise each week my grocery bill got lower and lower, we were soon feeding our family for almost half of what we used to… and that was $75 that we could put into savings, use to buy something we needed, or better yet give to people who needed it. Now fast forward to September of 2009 when my husband has been laid off… that $75 every two weeks will begin to mean even more.
To be continued….