Saving in the New Year: Getting Started With Coupons

As the New Year approaches, I've heard many folks say that saving is one of their top resolutions. Couponing is one way to save your family some cold, hard cash. You would be amazed at what some planning and coupon inserts can do to change your life. To give you some inspiration and get you pointed in the right direction, I've rounded up some of my posts from way back on how to get started clipping your way to savings. It is something I intend to embrace at full force once again in 2017. Good luck and happy shopping!

How Do You Save That Much?

I Don't Know Where To Start!

Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Shop

Thinking Out Loud

I've found myself discussing this blog often in the past week, so much so that is has me reminiscing. I started blogging so many years ago because I had figured out how to do something that was helping my family survive on a very meager income. We were barely getting by and I was doing anything I could to help better our circumstances. I learned to coupon, stockpile, shop smarter and cook smarter. Everything about how I ran our household changed. I wanted to share my knowledge with others like us, those who were living well beyond the poverty line. Those who could use skills like couponing to keep their families from going hungry. It worked. I helped people. It was an incredibly rewarding experience and I can honestly say looking back that I am proud of what I accomplished.

I fell off the wagon. My marriage imploded. Life completely turned on it's head. I made some not great choices, but I made my share of good ones as well. Like many who find their lives taking a completely new turn, I struggled. Sometimes I feel like I barely survived drowning. Somehow, I got my head on straight, pulled myself up by the bootstraps, and moved forward.

Here I am now. I am a single mom. A full time nanny. A full time college student. I've accomplished a lifelong dream of becoming a published author. Things are by no means easy, perfect, or constant sunshine and rainbows. After years, I am finally making my own life, on my own terms, and loving every moment. Each up and down teaches me something. It can be scary. Overwhelming. So stressful. It's also an amazing ride.

What I have decided is that I want to share this journey. It's not the vision I had when I began writing here all those years ago, but it's my life, and that was always sort of the point. Plus, I know their are others like me; single parents who work, struggle, laugh, cry, and just hang on when they find themselves starting over. So, I am going to share, try to help, and hopefully empower. If I help even one person realize they aren't alone, then my heart is happy.

20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago today I was a seventeen year old bride, scared to death but excited for the future. At this point exactly 20 years ago I was in a hotel with my new husband having a mental freak out because all of a sudden I wasn't supposed to be a kid anymore. We had a baby on the way and out of nowhere it slammed into me that we were now supposed to be adults and our own unit. We were expected to raise someone else. It was a lot to absorb. Even though I was worried about the future and how exactly life was going to work, I was happy because I had this person who loved me. I thought that's what happiness was supposed to look like. 

Fifteen years ago today I was in tears most of the day. The marriage this day commemorated was in trouble and I knew it. I had learned a lot in the years since "I do". I was the mother to two absolutely amazing children. Life was a struggle, but we sort of got by. I tried to count my blessings, but I was not the wife I was expected to be. My heart hurt because happiness was a concept I didn't grasp anymore. I wasn't a great mom. I was depressed and lost, all because I thought the only way to be happy was to be loved by a man, to be living some sort of fairy tale that eluded me. I knew life was not that way for me, for us, and I was miserable for so many reasons. 

I had it all wrong. 

Tonight there are a few tears as I type, not from sadness for where I am now, but from relief the person I was five years ago is long gone.Why has past me a memory and something I will never be again? It's because the power of I. 

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” ~ Groucho Marx
I figured out happiness isn't about a man loving you. It's not about a big house, having all the money in the world, or raising perfect kids. Those things don't make you happy, it comes from within us. Figuring that out was a game changer for me. Guess what happened? I became someone I am proud of. I am an amazing mother. Have a job I love. Am finally going to college after years of believing it was impossible. I accomplished a dream by becoming an author. I am strong, so much stronger than I ever believed. I am smart. Funny. Kind. I am blessed with the most incredible family and friends who support and love me unconditionally. I found myself and guess what? I. Am. Happy. Life still throws curve balls. Depression still sucks. Not every day is perfect, most are far from it. Even so, I am happy. It's a life changer. So, on a day I once dreaded and viewed all about loss, I now celebrate. I am no longer a sad, scared girl. Twenty years later I am a fierce, strong, HAPPY woman. I really doesn't get better than that.

Where did January go?

I saw something on Facebook earlier about January being a practice month and February beginning the new year. It gave me a giggle, but truthfully I wouldn't mind it. There was so much I intended to accomplish in January that just didn't happen. Instead of focusing on what didn't get done, I am looking at what did happen.

This gal is now a sophomore in college! My class this last term made me crazy, but thanks to some excellent help, I manged to pass and keep moving forward! I am so excited to be living my dream of going to college. It's no cake walk, but I know it will be worth it. 

The top of my list of priorities this month was inspired by watching War Room yesterday. If you haven't seen this film yet, I highly recommend it. It left me inspired and uplifted. So, I am going to work on my pray life. I also plan to check into Bible journaling. A friend mentioned this on Facebook recently and I've been intrigued ever since. I am pinning all sorts of resources on both subjects here if you want to check them out. There are truly amazing resources and inspirations to be found on Pinterest! This is a change I should have made in my life long ago and I look forward to learning and growing along the journey.

My next course, Introduction to Film History, is high on my to do list for this month. I am excited about this one and hope it will be fun and not quite as stressful as all the numbers I've dealt with the last 8 weeks. 

I have a few other things on my goals list this month, but I'm not quite ready to share those just yet. 

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, productive February! 

New Year, New Goals, Disclosure- I have received no compensation other than free product to review and/or giveaway. Any opinions expressed on are my own. My posts are never reviewed or edited in any way by sponsors.

I know many people make resolutions for the new year, but this year I decided to go with goals. They aren't huge things, but goals that are positive steps toward bigger goals. Like many out there, I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds. Instead of making a resolution to lose 50 pounds or something like that. Instead, one of my goals is to eat more fresh fruits and veggies, less processed foods. Another was to move more. No, I won't be running a marathon anytime soon, but I figure any movement is better than sitting on my duff all the time. Another healthy goal is to up my water consumption. So far I am doing well with my goals. I am eating better, being more active, and drinking a gallon of water a day. I'm off to a great start! 

Sprouts Farmers Market's New Year campaign, Start Fresh with Healthy Habits is helping customer's to make small changes with a nod toward better health. They are also hosting a contest in which the winner will receive $5,000 in Sprouts gift cards! That's a sweet prize for making small lifestyle changes! 

The 21-Day Healthy Habits Challenge encourages fans/followers/customers to sign-up and commit to a healthy habit for 21 days in a row, and hopefully continuing indefinitely. 
  • Dates: 1/1 – 1/21
  • Entry form on the Sprouts Website will also feature articles and content related to healthy habits. Each day during the challenge, customers can go to the entry form to enter and let us know that they achieved their healthy habit for the day. There will be a total of 21 entries possible. 
  • Prize:  One grand prize winner will score groceries for a year, in the form of $5,000 in Sprouts gift cards.
  • Hashtag: #HabitMyWay

In addition to the entry form located on, there will also be a Facebook event for the 21-Day Healthy Habit Challenge. Subscribers to the event page will be able to view motivational content and share their own photos and inspiration with one another. 

Vendor photo challenge giveaways will also take place on the Facebook event page. Giveaways are scheduled with Organic Valley, Kashi, New Chapter, Tiesta Tea, MegaFood and Kala. They’ve got some great prizes to giveaway, including a TREK bike, yoga mats, fitness trackers and a Vitamix.

Those are some great prizes! To enter head on over to the Sprouts Website. Don't forget to check out their Facebook page for more information on Healthy Habits. Good luck with the contest!

What are your goals for the new year?