This week God used my couponing and bargain shopping skills to answer my prayers. I was literally down to my last pull-up for my 3 year old (and it was a princess one left over from my 6 year old’s potty training days) and a couple of days worth of diapers for the baby, squeezing my toothpaste tube for the last drops and about to start using my children’s, nearly out of shave gel and moving on to random substitutes, and still needed to get things like milk, bananas and such to feed my kiddos in the way they are accustomed. I was figuring on skipping the extra stuff I needed, since I can live without them, but getting everything we needed for the kids and to get the extra things we needed to cook within budget. (I’m a couponer and hubby is a hunter, so we could eat without shopping for awhile, but we needed the things we go through weekly.) Hubby makes enough money, but we have been carrying two mortgages & double electric, water, insurance for over six months now due to multiple closing delays and it is killing us. I said a prayer, put it out of my mind and went to bed trusting. That’s something that comes hard for me- to simply trust.
The morning came and I got online with my list and coupons handy. I looked up my local stores for deals on the things I really needed, browsed my coupon sites (like Swagbucks, my personal favorite place for printing coupons). I found bargains on most things we needed, with many store and manufacturer coupons I could stack.
I spent $26.94 for $104.90 worth of items at CVS, which is over 74% savings! I walked away with a bunch of things we truly needed- like three packs of Huggies diapers, a pack of pull-ups, wipes, toothpaste, shave gel, razors, canned veggies. I also scored plenty we could just enjoy, like three packs of gum, a candy bar, mentos, vitamin water, some mascara and lipstick. I also have $4 in Extra Care Bucks I can use later if something else comes up that we need, and I didn’t count that into my totals. They paid me a penny each for buying the makeup, 50 cents for buying the veggies and 99 cents for buying the packs of gum! I haven’t bought makeup for myself in a very long time, since I was unable to coupon for awhile due to bed rest and recovery. I could make do with my old makeup, but I am grateful for fresh supplies. I would share how y’all can do it, but I was only able to go shopping and verify the deals on the very last day they were available and that’s not really the point of this post.
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From there I went to Winn Dixie with the goal of spending only $30 so I could qualify to get a $5 ham, and using coupons to keep it at that total, since I needed to keep it at that. I was able to get everything we needed, four packs of cream cheese & two bottles of McCormick vanilla extract for a steal to use for special treats (coupons and BOGOs), and keep the total after coupons at that $30!
If you are still reading along, bless you! I am sure you can probably appreciate the joy of a great deal when you have a very tight budget. If you can’t understand the joy of God allowing you to use your gifts and hard work to provide when it’s difficult and you’re struggling feeling helpless and anxious….well, I hope you can discover that feeling! It is both humbling and hope restoring all at once.
Moral of the story? It pays to talk to God about your needs and trust that He will provide. It also pays to use whatever skills, resources and abilities you have of your own to meet those needs. When you put His blessing together with doing your best with what you’ve already been given, amazing things can happen… even if it’s just getting everything you need with a few extras!
In the midst of the holiday shopping frenzy with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all of the high pressure advertising of specials being ran to tempt us, it can be difficult knowing that you have to pass up the bargains no matter how great they are. It can be tempting to spend money you don’t have for things you don’t need. I know I can’t do much shopping this year. I’m okay with that. I have a couple of things tucked away that I managed to get one way or another and know I can at minimum afford to go to the Dollar Tree to stuff my children’s Christmas stockings. If you’re stretched thin this year and feeling bad about it, just know that it’s okay. Adults can understand no presents. Children don’t need as much as most of us think to be happy. Take the focus off of gifts and you can make it joyful without much money!
This has been a year of change for my family. Change can be expensive, overwhelming and difficult. It can also bring about wonderful results. I’m sure a seed isn’t particularly happy about being thrown in a hole, buried under dirt and drowned by water day in and day out. After many days, when the sun shines down on the seedling now peeking through the soil, the seed can just begin to see that it was for the best that it went through that dark time. When that seedling becomes a full blown flower, it can rejoice in the miracle of that dark time turning into something so bright and beautiful! I’m hoping that is how things turn out for us! I feel like I’m in the barely peering through the dirt phase now.
Are you going through a rough time? Having trouble trusting God and calming your anxiety? You are not alone. He has not forgotten. You are not the only one who just can’t handle it all sometimes. It will be okay!
For more encouragement in this area, please read my post about struggling. You are not alone!
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