Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Saving Money is WORK!

Sometimes I feel like being frugal is my 3rd full time job, right after working 40"ish" hours a week, and wrangling my 3 kiddos. It does take time to comb through the ads, browse the clearance racks, and clip coupons to get the best deal I possibly can with every dollar. It's great to save the money and stretch those pennies into copper wire, but I really can't wait to get to the point where being frugal isn't a requirement in order to manage my finances. Like Dave says, if I am willing to live like no one else, then one day I will really be able to live like no one else. I just keep reminding myself of that!

For example, one of my most treasured things I do for my kids is buy them a Hallmark Keepsake ornament every year. I start buying them for their first Christmas and collect all the way through the series that ends with their fifth Christmas. From that point I try and find one that either has the year or is really reflects something of their personality/hobbies of that year. I used to be able to pick these up in the days right after Christmas and get a GREAT deal on them, but the past 2 years I've noticed that either Hallmark has cut back on how many they are sending to the stores, or more people are buying them, because I have really struggled to get the ones I need even the weeks before Christmas!

This year I decided I was going to just get them early and pay full price because I wasn't going to risk not getting the right ones. As I was browsing one of my favorite deal websites (www.slickdeals.net), I saw that they had a coupon link posted for $5 off of a Hallmark purchase and when I printed one and read the fine print I saw that there were virtually NO EXCLUSIONS on the coupon, so I could use it for my ornaments! Almost every Hallmark coupon I've seen excludes the ornaments, so this was a huge find for me. I printed off the 2 that I could from my IP address and then sent the link to a friend and she printed one off for me too. Armed with my 3 coupons I had to visit SIX different stores to get the 3 ornaments I needed since so many of them were already sold out!

But the end result was that instead of spending the $30 on the full price ornaments ($10 each), I was able to get 2 of them for $5 each and I got the final one today for $2! That's a net savings of $18 and I am still under my total budget of $300 for Christmas.