Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Coupons, coupons, and more coupons...

Being a follower of Christ means that I also try to live out His attributes in my day-to-day life…I simply try to be a good steward of the resources given to me. OK – what I’m really trying to say here is that I clip coupons! Betcha didn’t see that coming! Really, I have been an off-and-on coupon clipper for a while, but I decided to take it seriously here as of late. During the current economic times, it certainly can’t hurt to shop a little smarter even if it might take a little work. So, I did a little online research, talked with a few friends, and now I have created a system that’s really beginning to work for me and one that saves our family quite a few pennies. What am I doing? Allow me to share…

1. I buy the Sunday paper, and pull out all the coupon inserts (anywhere from 1-4 inserts generally). I don’t subscribe to the paper, but I find that I easily get back the $1.50 that I spend on the paper just in coupon savings each week.

2. Thanks to a sweet friend, I now have a wonderful way of organizing my coupons to make them more accessible to me. I’ve included a couple of pictures here. The basic idea of this system is that you take a 3-ring binder, divided by coupon categories (i.e. dairy, frozen foods, hygiene, household products…) and you place coupons into baseball/football card holders behind each of the dividers. It allows you to easily see what coupons you have on hand and the expiration date. Additionally, you can get something like a pencil zipper case to put in the front of the binder, and you can use it to store the coupons that you’re planning to use while you shop. They’ll be ready to hand over to the cashier in a moment’s notice.

3. Six weeks ago, I also began playing The Grocery Game. I had never heard of it until then but found it to be wonderful! You can read more about it at I won’t go into lots of details here, because the website really explains everything you need to know. Allow me to just point out that it has been very effective for our family!

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. It takes a little time to get organized and start up your system, but it’s well worth the investment.

How about you? What good stewardship ideas do you have? What works for you? I’d love to hear about it. Be blessed my friends!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bye Bye Bully...

Some of the most teachable moments come through some of the most obvious ways. After having spent the last twelve years perfecting my “mom skills”, I can say with a loud proclamation – I’m nowhere closer to perfection than the day I began! WOW – parenting is so tough sometimes! As my wee one is now a pre-teen, I am trying to pass the reins to her a bit when it comes to issues needing resolution. I’ve taught her to try and handle difficult situations (i.e. school bullies) to the best of her ability and then call in her “back up” if needed. She’s actually done quite well during the few times that it’s happened, however she ran into a situation recently that didn’t seem to want to disappear with her tactics alone. I kept offering my services, so to speak – a little “mom intervention”. She kept reminding me that she would handle it. The situation only continued to worsen. I reminded my daughter that it’s okay to ask for help – that sometimes there are situations bigger than we are, and we simply can’t resolve them on our own. She relinquished “ownership” of the situation to me, and the problem was resolved in less than 24 hours. I did nothing special, but I relied on my adult “power” to step into this adolescent situation in a tactful way and in a way that would not bring my daughter any embarrassment. Needless to say, she’s happy – the tears are gone – and, mom’s smiling!

As is always the case, the tangible life lessons that involve me as teacher almost immediately find their way back to me as student. This time – I was the one needing intervention, a little “back up” assistance, but I didn’t own up to that. Finally, a still, small voice inside me kept reminding me, “My power is made perfect in your weakness.” (See also 2 Corinthians 12:9) Yes it is – sometimes, I can only rely on God’s divine power to solve a problem. It may just be more than I can conquer on my own or simply more than I choose to deal with. But, He’s more than ready to take our load, He doesn’t want or expect us to carry our burdens alone – just ask Him!