No, I'm not talking about these vampires.
Nope, not these guys either.
I'm talking about these vampires. You know, the people that only come out in the early morning or late at night. They aren't searching for blood, but for good deals. They aren't armed with venom and sparkly skin, but with binders. Binders full of coupons. Coupons that can get them cheap stuff, or even stuff for free.
I've been bitten by the coupon bug. And I like it. I think I might be addicted. I talked about this bug briefly in this post. And I must say, it's been going really well. I haven't necessarily taken money out of my bottom line yet, but I have been getting way more stuff for that same amount of money. And my heart does a little leap of joy.
The habits of the coupons ladies, I have discovered, is that they shop early in the morning, or late at night. I've joined those ranks, mostly because I stand in the aisle of the grocery store doing math in my head, and pulling coupons out of my binder, and arranging my groceries into transactions in my cart. And I don't want too many people staring. (Yes, there are times and stores when you have to do more than one transaction. I never would have thought that I'd be the type to run to two different Albertsons, just to find some cereal.)
So yes, it's a lot different than how I used to shop even two months ago. But it's been paying off. I've even gotten some stuff for free.
And, in general, I've saved 50-ish% on my groceries. (Well, right now, like I said, I'm spending about the same. So I guess you could say instead I'm getting twice as much stuff.)
Sad to say, today while I was leaving Albertsons, and heading to Walgreens and then Smiths in my quest for cheap grocery items, I got in a wreck. Not a huge one-we were in the parking lot. But the lady hit me in just such a way as to make my car immovable: she T-boned my front passenger wheel. I don't know for sure yet, but it looks like we might have to get an axle replaced. YAY for expensive car repairs! Oh, and we're down to one car for the next who-knows-how-long, because our insurance doesn't cover car rental, and there's no way that I'm going to spend $50 a day on car rental. Because that's not a racket.
However. I read this awesome book called The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This is an awesome read for anyone and everyone. I loved reading it, and not just because I'm into finance stuff. He had some really interesting statistics and great stories. Basically, he sets out an order of things to do with your money-baby steps, if you will. And because I had started doing the baby steps, we have enough money set aside to cover our car insurance deductible in what is called...wait for it...an emergency fund. Imagine that. Not that I'm looking forward to having that money leave us, but at least it's there, for this very scenario. I think I might have to write Dave a thank you note or something.
Now, even though I got in a wreck, (and let's be honest, who would want to get in a wreck?), I'm glad for several things that at least have occurred to me.
1) I'm glad I was alone, and not in a wreck with my kids in the car with me.
2) We were in a parking lot. No one was hurt. I had even felt prompted to pray last night really hard that we would all be safe. And I think that that's why this wreck was not a big deal-my Heavenly Father was looking out for me.
3) My dad came and got me. I have awesome parents.
4) I realized that I have so very much, including a car that gets to get repaired.
5) I have been feeling prompted, to the point of overwhelming pushing, that I need to get our finances in order. This feeling even started before reading that book, but it's been at the forefront of my mind for a while now. And I'm so very glad, because if I hadn't been feeling that way, we absolutely would not have had money sitting in the bank for emergencies. (Stupid, I know, especially for someone that graduated in finance.) The company for which Pete works has a contract at the Site, and in May 2012 that contract ends; we have no idea at that point whether things will dramatically change for us or whether things will stay the same. I don't know if that's why I've been pushed, or if there is something else in our future that is coming our way that we need to be ready for. But I'm so grateful for being pushed to save, and pushed to be smart with our money.
And for being pushed to become a "vampire".