I really didn't mean for this post to go on quite so long but here goes . . . go ahead and grab a cup of coffee and curl up for a few minutes!
As many of you know, I've always been a frugal girl at heart, but started seriously using coupons about five years ago before my youngest was born. My best friend Nancy called me up one day, told me that she'd saved over $100 at the grocery store, and that she was reading some blog that helped her understand how to do it.
“Hmpphhh,” I thought. Because I'd always been a penny pincher and tried using coupons early in our marriage, I was pretty aware that coupons could save you a little money at the grocery store, but inevitably every time I tried using them, I found it cheaper to buy the store brand product than it was to use that coupon. So I really couldn't believe that some little coupon blog could make a difference. 😉 Yup, you can guess where this one's going . . .
I trusted Nancy's judgement though, and decided to give it a shot. (Let me tell you, spending that first $1.50 on the newspaper just about killed this penny-pinchin' momma!) But, I forked over those pennies for the paper, went to CVS, did my first crazy coupon deal, and was hooked. I followed the advice of that coupon blogger (I really kinda liked her . . . ), and do you know what? For the first time ever, using coupons made sense. And I was beside myself as I skipped out of CVS with my loot.
Fast forward five years. . .
If anyone would have told me then that Money Saving Mom (who I feel is the best money saving blogger out there . . .) would let me review her book, to share on my coupon blog (who knew?), I would have said there was no way. (In fact, I've sent and received a few emails from Crystal and totally feel like a rock star whenever I see her name in my inbox!) But here I am; and guess what? I loved her book.
Crystal is so down to earth, giving basic practical advice on how to pare down your spending, cut your expenses, and reduce debt to make real changes in your financial future. Because our family is out of debt except for our home, and because I've obviously followed Crystal for awhile, I kind of felt there wouldn't be much for me in the book. Boy was I wrong.
The first few chapters in The Money Saving Mom's Budget talk about de-cluttering, scaling back, and taking charge of your home so that you make everything work better for you. My favorite recommendation was to take an entire day twice a year to de-clutter your home from top to bottom. (Brilliant!) While I try to keep our home tidy, I don't think I'd yet connected how often clutter in our home causes us to over-spend on things we simply don't need. (Anyone else ever cleaned out their children's closets and realized there's just no way your children need even one more stitch of clothing?) Over the holidays, I took about a week to de-clutter *most* of our home thanks to Crystal's advice, and it has brought so much peace to our home.
More importantly though, in the end of the book Crystal discusses the importance of feeling contentment no matter your circumstances, which was just what I needed to hear. It's so easy in a world where we're encouraged to keep up with others to feel that we never have enough, despite the incredible blessings that surround us. I struggle personally so very often feeling I'm not “cute” enough, “smart” enough, that I don't have exactly the right “stuff”, and even that my kiddos don't wear exactly the right clothing. I find myself all too often in a competition which I'm never going to win. (Isn't it just nuts that we do that to ourselves?) Crystal's gentle exhortation to seek contentment right where we are was an amazing reminder to me, and as I looked around my cozy home where we have warm baths, running water, plus a dishwasher and laundry machine (thank goodness!), I was again reminded that I simply have nothing to complain about.
The Money Saving Mom's Budget just released today, and I highly recommend ordering your copy. While it's a fantastic book on it's own, here's the most exciting part: Crystal and her husband are donating 100% of the proceeds to Compassion International, so when you order yours, 100% of the proceeds from the book will go to support mission work in the Dominican Republic. (How amazing is that?) As many of you know, much of the reason that I started Passionate Penny Pincher was to support mission work, so watching how God has amazingly allowed Crystal to give back in such an incredible way encourages me to work harder and give more abundantly.
Would you like to win a free copy of the The Money Saving Mom's Budget? Leave a comment on this post only sharing what your number one financial goal is right now, and I'll choose three winners on 1/14/12 to win. Good luck, and you can take a peak at the book over HERE.
Disclosure: Money Saving Mom provided me with a book to review, however all opinions are my own. I truly think so highly of Crystal and her mission, and had already pre-ordered a copy of the book before receiving my copy to review.
This giveaway has now ended and comments are closed. Thanks so much to everyone who entered!
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