Here is a testimonial from Jamie, who attended the first coupon class that we were asked to help teach. After that class we started Time 2 $ave and have been “busy as beavers” teaching workshops ever since. (That’s what my dad always said)
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TESTIMONIAL FROM COUPONING WORKSHOP
My name is Jamie Miles. I have been married to my husband Matthew for almost 10 years and I have 4 beautiful boys. I am so lucky to be able to stay at home with my family, but it doesn’t come easily. To make ends meet, I started selling Vintage clothes on eBay about 4 years ago to supplement our income. It wasn’t enough. We had to go on food stamps and WIC, because we had no room in the budget for food. But despite our monthly stipend and extra income, we still ended up putting groceries on the credit card a couple times a month. We were digging ourselves in deeper and deeper. I started looking into part-time work, just hating that things were coming to this. That’s when I started hearing the buzz around the grocery about a coupon class.Here’s the thing. I am a thrifty person. I was raised to be a thrifty person. I take pride in being able to make do on very little. I consider it an art- the Art of Making-Do, and it is one of the few talents I have. Besides that- I am exceedingly cheap in a way that offends my husband’s generous nature to the core. All that to say: I didn’t think I needed anyone to tell me how to save money. When I heard about this new coupon class, I dismissed the idea at first. A 50¢ coupon seemed a sad reward for all the clipping and organizing and planning it takes to actually use them. Okay, yes, I will collect dryer lint and egg cartons and stuff old candle remnants in the cabinets for months just so I can make Boyscout campfire starters….. So maybe the coupon game was something this make-doer should look into after all. When I heard that there would be free child care (The Holy Grail of the stay-at-home-mom!) it sealed the deal- I signed up right away.I walked in about 10 minutes late, as usual. The room was packed with women of all ages. I slid into a seat at the end of a table and glanced down at the packet of papers in front of me. It correlated to the PowerPoint presentation being given at the front of the room- and it was…… Daunting. There were rules, lingo, several different store policies, organizing options – in short, ALOT of work! Then again, what worthwhile thing comes easily?I looked around at rows and rows of housewives who had their eyes glued to the instructors, hanging on their every word. An exciting atmosphere of subversion hung in the air- it felt as if we were being initiated into some sort of underground, anti-establishment movement. We were a veritable army of hunters and gatherers struggling to protect our families from uncertain times. We were a frugal sisterhood.I left that meeting with a thrilling sense of purpose. I called my mom, I called my friends, and I talked to my husband about it until his eyes glazed over. I dove into couponing headfirst and I’m not sure I’ve come up for air yet. Besides the occasional meat or produce purchases that I cannot wait on a sale to buy- I generally save 50-75% off every receipt nowadays. This shift in spending has allowed me to take our inadequate monthly food stipend and stretch it far enough to not only cover our grocery expenses without using the credit card, but I even have enough food stamps left over each month to pick up essentials for a single-mom friend of mine. If this seems like a loaves and fishes story, it’s because it is. God blessed what was meagre and it became more than enough. We are not out of the woods yet, we have a lot to learn about spending and discipline and a lot of debt to shed in the long years ahead. But what I took from that class back in February has been a huge blessing to my family in just helping us make it paycheck-to-paycheck. I’m thankful. I love that this movement is a serious thing- that there are tenets for success, efficiency guides for storage and usage, coupon “lingo”, and real need behind it. I love the thrill of finding an amazing deal! I love that even though it’s time consuming, it is of real value to the family budget. I might not be able to make my family recession-proof, but I’m confident that I can do my part to ease the strain.