Happy Spending, Day 4 – 31 Days of Happy

Despite the fact that I like to shop, spending money doesn’t always make me happy; however, I have found a way to be happy while spending money.

I don’t know anyone who is truly happy and in loads of debt.  Everyone I know who owes money on three credit cards, two bank loans, and their kid’s piggy banks are fraught with worry and anxiety.

We live in a world that tells us we need it and we need it now.

Pinterest via iwalkkonthestyyledside.tumblr.com

We may need it, but if we don’t have the money for it, we shouldn’t buy it.

Revolutionary idea, huh?

In order to be happy about our spending and the purchases we make, we must have money before we spend money.

About a year or so ago, I couldn’t get over how certain other people in our same financial bracket (relatively speaking) and neighborhood were living like people who made a lot more money than us.  I was happy for them, but I didn’t understand how other people with a similar financial situation could afford to have so much.  I was convinced we were doing something wrong financially, only I couldn’t figure out what!  So I talked to FringeMan about it and we sat scratching our heads for a week or two.  All we could think of is that they must be using credit, because a paycheck can only pay for so much.  You know?

Turns out they were embezzling money.  Lots of money.

The moral of my little story is that if we want to be happy with our finances, we should only spend the money we’ve earned.  Not more.  Now I know emergencies come up, believe me, I’ve had plenty.  Life happens.  I’m not talking about the things beyond our control.  I’m talking about the everyday.  We really don’t need as much stuff as we think we need.  I know that seems impossible.  Every advertiser in this world is counting on our desires driving us mad or to shop.

A few months ago I thought we needed to cut some items from our budget, save money somewhere.  Do you ever feel like you’ve cut everything you can cut and there’s just no more cutting that can possibly happen?  That’s how I felt.  There wasn’t anything else we could ‘give up’.  The only place to cut was the grocery bill and unless we were all going on radical we’ll never eat again kinda diet, there was no cutting out the groceries.  I don’t make extravagant recipes anyway.

Honestly, I gave up on trying to save any money in the grocery store.  I thought it was a lost cause, until I started couponing.

2 Tubes Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste & 2 Bottles Dawn Dishwashing Soap = .78 cents

Couponing makes me happy.

Now I’ve heard about the TV show Extreme Couponing.  I haven’t seen it because we cut cable.  I coupon to save money on my grocery bill.  My grocery budget includes all cleaning products, personal hygiene products, and paper goods.

It works!

Here are my best tips for couponing:

~ Buy the Sunday paper.  It will pay for itself.

~ Start small.  Concentrate on one or two stores and match your coupons to their sales.

~ Don’t wait to buy something until you need it, buy it when it’s on sale and you have a coupon.  This seems crazy, but if you wait until you need it, you’ll pay twice as much for it.  I’m talking about items like toothpaste, deodorant, soap, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo and hair care products, cleaning products, and laundry detergents.

~ Shop in CVS.  They have new sales every single week.  You can check their flyer online, so you can take your time and match up your coupons.  They give back Extra Bucks (Coupons for Free Money towards your next purchase, only good in CVS.) on many of the items we all use.

Say you need shampoo:  The sale may be any Two Pantene hair products for $5.97.  You would use your coupon in addition to the sale.  This is an example from my bill about a week ago…I had a $3 Pantene coupon for two products.  I paid $2.97 for two bottles of Pantene Mouse.  That’s cheap folks.  Before couponing, I would have paid about $4 for ONE bottle.

~ Don’t be loyal to a brand.  Sorry, if you want the best deal, you have to use what is on sale.

Couponing isn’t for everyone.  Not everyone has the time to clip coupons.  I understand that, but I happen to have a wonderfully lame life and nothing better to do at 11pm on a Sunday night.  So I clip coupons and look for sales.  It’s becoming like a game for me.  I actually strategize about buying deodorant.  I don’t even think I should be proud of that, but sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

That’s how I can be happy spending.

How about you?

Do you have tips for happy spending?


6 thoughts on “Happy Spending, Day 4 – 31 Days of Happy

  1. Merryheart

    I shop for sales online – I save time and money using Amazon’s subscription service. I can get things I can’t even find locally, like Castile Soap which doesn’t aggravate my skin allergy, and goes a long way in a foam pump bottle diluted with 4 parts water. I also found 1 L bottles of Annie’s Dressing and it’s way cheaper than the supermarket. Free shipping.

    Between Amazon, BJ’s, Walmart and Dollar Tree, I get a lot of bargains. My natural toothpaste and deodorant come with my vitamins from Puritans Pride – I get points back on them through my bank card’s website. And they are great quality vitamins. I know what each one does, and they work better than many expensive brands.

    Knowing that baking soda and vinegar work better than most cleaning products helps a lot too. I use them in place of scouring powder, toilet cleaner, window cleaner, counter cleaner, etc, etc. Vinegar is naturally antibacterial & good for your skin.

    I use Dollar Tree’s Pet Odor spray for any organic stains, including blood. It’s a great enzyme cleaner.

    The only mainstream cleaners I use are Simple Green for heavy grease and OxiClean for laundry stains. Oh, and I use Wonder Ball for most of my laundry. $30 once every: 3 years or so. Clothes come cleaner than they used to with any detergent. And no perfume to stuff up my nose.

    I hit Trader Joe’s for natural canned tuna, mayo without added sugar, raw unsweetened almond butter and brazil nuts cheaper than anywhere else. And oh, Garlic Olives!

    Oriental Groceries gives us the best prices on natural soy sauce, tofu-shirataki noodles that are virtually carb & calorie free. They go great in chicken soup made with Pacific free-range chicken broth and B&J canned chicken from BJ’s.

    I’m going to be trying Miracle Noodles, another type of shirataki noodles, and several Walden Farms no fat, no sugar, no calorie dressings from a local Diet Shop before buying them online.

    One other bargain we take advantage of is manager’s specials at one particular store that seems to have a heart for lower income people. Meat that is usually quite dear becomes affordable as it approaches its buy by date.

    Now if I could just get electricity and propane gas online…

  2. Amber

    Yea!I’m so excited I found you thanks Sarah for the referal! I’m excited to see your happies this month! Plus I’m a newbie couponer too!

    Your new follower,

  3. Cathy

    I’ll never be a major couponer like on the TV shows, but we probably save $20-$40 at the grocery with coupons and the in-store specials. I can live with that.

    Yes, I CVS sometimes, but not as often as I should and also Walgreens is a pretty good place for couponing too.

    1. the domestic fringe Post author

      Cathy, I don’t think I’ll be like the people on TV either. I see no reason to hoard, but saving a few bucks every week is ok by me. Besides there are so many who could use a care package. I don’t think anything would just sit around my house for long. I only wish we had a Walgreen nearby!


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