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Guest Post: Walking the Perforated Line — Finding Balance in a Couponing Lifestyle

(Published at Jan. 24, 2011)

Put down the coupon insert. Set down the scissors. Push aside your coupon holder.
Now take a deep breath and repeat after me…

“I must find couponing balance. I must find couponing balance. I must find couponing balance.”
It seems impossible to find balance when free products and great deals surround you. Resisting the temptation is painful, I know, especially when you’re just getting started in the world of couponing.
So, read on, fellow savvy shoppers! Finding your couponing equilibrium is easy…

1. Do you actually want or need the product? You might be able to head over to the drugstore and score a four –pack of ThermaCare heat pads for free plus a dollar in overage, but are you really going to use them? A dollar is significant, but don’t purchase a product just to make money. After all, you’re going to have to store whatever you buy. (If you absolutely can’t resist, charities are always willing recipients.)
2. Don’t underestimate the value of your time! You’ve done your deal scouting and know that CVS has seven deals you’re interested in, Walgreen’s has five and Rite-Aid has two.  Even if the Rite-Aid deals are awesome, you need to decide if the savings is enough to warrant a fifteen-minute stop. Maybe it’s not a big deal since the store’s just down the street. But if it’s a ten minute drive away, you’re spending 35 minutes to get two deals. Worth it? Probably not.
3. How much toothpaste do you really need? Experienced couponers probably have a sizeable stock of toothpaste oozing from beneath their bathroom sink. Even if you only have one or two, it’s okay to skip a deal! It will be back. The best deals always are.
4. Thwart Coupon Burnout! Give yourself two hours on Sunday afternoon to coupon to your heart’s content. Cut, print, organize, paper clip, list, get it all ready to go. Then you’re done. If you discover mid-week you’re out of shampoo, of course you want to pull out a coupon before you head to Target. But the key word there is “a” coupon, as in one coupon. You’ve already spent your couponing time, so just grab what you need and go. Respect your time.
5. Found a better deal just a few minutes too late? If you’ve couponed your way to a great deal only to find a better one for the same item, don’t beat yourself up. You’re saving so much money already that the savings difference is just not worth getting upset about.

Finding irresistible deals is addictive, taking precedence over other responsibilities. And Domestic Diva (or King) that you are, you can’t ignore picking up carpool, making dinner or separating children from stick play in the backyard.
So go forth and embrace your inner-couponing self!  Moderation is the name of the game…

God Prompts

(published on Sept. 24, 2010)

Okay, I admit it. I forget to trust God. I forget that I’m not the one in control and that I’m not alone in the quicksand of motherhood, blogging, novel writing, bill paying, carpooling, volunteering and the emotional sapping of my own unrealistic expectations.

The Big Guy Upstairs props me up with His hand, pushes firmly enough to keep me going and guides me on the path His son created.

I know that. I really do. So why do I keep forgetting? And more importantly, how do I start remembering?
God Prompts. That’s how.

You know how when the phone rings, you suddenly remember the six calls you’d forgotten to make? Or when you step in the shower, your mind immediately starts writing the perfect blog post (and you have nowhere but the steamy shower door to write it on)? Mental reminders those are, ingrained signals that shake our minds out of the immediate Play-doh-covered moment.

I decided to use such routine events as God Prompts. And it worked! Within two weeks, I really did feel closer to God. He’s more present in my mind and honestly? I now remember to pray first and act/talk/worry/obsess second.

Try these five effortless reminders. These five clear-cut prayers:

  • When your phone rings (or plays Sweet Home Alabama or Dancing Queen): “I trust you, God.” Simple and to the point. He’s listening.
  • When you stop at a red light: “I trust you, Lord, to get me to work/Target/ballet/McDonald’s safely.”
  • When you turn on the shower for your two minutes of blessed alone time: “God, I trust you to provide for me.”
  • When you wash your hands—all 183 times during the day: “I trust you to keep me healthy, Lord.”
  • When you sign into your blog and click “New Post”: “God, I trust you to make me a blessing to someone today.”

Your heart will lift because God is now forefront in your mind, heart and soul. You’ll discover a peace that will shine through to your children, your husband, your blog. And you really will touch your readers with God’s grace. He’ll make sure of it.