I just wanted to thank everyone for choosing to read and use this site. I hope you have all found some useful tips along the way and that it has been beneficial to you and your family. I love hearing from people when they say they got their first free item or how much they saved on their grocery bill. It is exciting for them and for me!
I started out doing this site because I realized how much couponing benefited my own family and I felt led to do this as a way of helping others save money too. I figured out the whole way of couponing out of necessity...and still do it out of necessity. We are pretty much a one income family of five, and even though I do it because I have to, I also find it challenging and fun! And that is what I try to encourage most to do with it...make it a game...make it FUN!! One of the other things that I've done over the course of this journey is to encourage people to give to others...whether it be someone you personally know, a food pantry near you, homeless shelters, etc. I know that there have been a lot of people who have been able to donate a lot of stuff to others as a result of couponing...something they never would have been able to do before. And what a blessing that is!
Over the course of the last couple of weeks, since the Extreme Couponing show aired on TLC, I've had a lot of people ask me what I thought. The truth is that I think they are more along the lines of hoarding than anything. One thing that I've tried to keep into perspective is that this IS a TV show and that there are things not shown in a proper light and that maybe these people DO give to others...it just didn't seem that way based on the the mini grocery stores they had in their houses, nor did they show much about giving other than the last guy with the zillion boxes of cereal. While I think it would be very hard for us to accomplish what they did on that show around here due to the coupon usage limitations, I would just like to encourage you to shop responsibly and think of other people. I do encourage picking things up even if you aren't going to use them if it's something you know you can donate. I do NOT encourage wiping out shelves and hoarding. In our house I think our family could probably manage to survive about 4-6 months based on what I have in our cupboards and freezer (w/ the exception of dairy, fresh fruits & veggies and a few other things)...but I think that is reasonable. I also do NOT encourage spending hours figuring out your coupons and then spending 6 hours in a grocery store walking out with several carts and passing up time with family and friends!!
Which then leads me into why I started to write this post...
In all honesty, I have wrestled with what to do with this site for several months now. I've had lots of ideas of what I could do...but I also did not start this site as a way to earn money, nor to turn it into a full-time job or cause me great stress. God has done some pretty amazing things through the site and through the classes for various families and for that I am eternally grateful! In the midst of it all, there have also been some negative things that have happened and they have made me wonder what God has in store for me regarding this site. I've just had to trust Him through it all and let Him take it in the direction it is to go. I've had to learn to let a lot of things roll off my back...sometimes I've done okay with that, and others not so well. Most of these things are things that I have no control over, it's other people's poor choices in how they act, what they say or do, along with other things. I know for a while I allowed Satan to use this junk to deter me from what it was God was calling me to do. I've prayed for God's direction for a long time now and over my kids' Christmas break, when I took a little break from the site, it became very clear to me where I needed to go with this. I realized that there are some things in my life that I really miss and how much freedom I had when I didn't feel obligated to the site. I also realized how stress-free I was when I didn't have to worry about the junk or what people think of me because of what someone else has said.
As some of you may have noticed, I do not do as much with this blog as I used to...for various reasons. One is that it seems I have been a lot busier recently, as has our family as a whole. I started a very part-time job in the fall, and recently quit that to babysit a friend's baby 3 days each week. To do this site, I have given up a lot of things that I truly enjoy and I miss those things...and it's not major things, but it's things like reading! I LOVE to read and just don't do it much anymore...I shouldn't be renewing my book 5 times just to finish it. I have goals for myself that I would like to reach...there are areas of my life that I really need (and want) to focus on this year and I can't do that if I'm attached to my computer. I have put off things that need to be done as well...like laundry and am not nearly as organized as I used to be. I would often feel obligated to post, even when I didn't really have the time. I have often been up very late putting together grocery posts and other posts so that they were available to you. I really don't want to have regrets later in life because I spent too much time on my computer looking for something to post or scouring grocery ads and Hot Coupon World.
The grocery posts are probably the most time consuming thing that I do, but for now, I feel led to continue doing those. I will continue because I think it is the most helpful part on this site as a result of people's feedback and also with the posts being localized to the Toledo area. I can typically get the grocery posts done Sunday night after my kids are in bed and my husband is at youth group. I am totally going to discontinue doing Giant Eagle deals...I just do not have the time mid-week to do those anymore. I also will not be posting random printable coupons that I find. I will be sharing some sites that I would recommend looking at, in the very near future.
I would love to continue sharing the value of couponing with others!! I do intend to have another class soon (keep checking the right sidebar at the top of the page). I've had several ask so I will do that...after this month, I'm not sure. We'll see how things go. I will still do workshops for different groups/organizations, so if you are interested in a coupon workshop for a group, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. These workshops will provide you all you need to know about couponing so that you can do it all on your own!
To sum it up I will probably be fairly silent during the week once the grocery posts are up other than maybe my Facebook page...it is so much easier & quicker to post things on there than on here. So if you're not one who "likes" Centsible Shopping...be sure to check it out! Other than that, most of what I post here will be reminders that can be done in advance and put into scheduled posts. I hope that what I am able to give to the site will still be useful to you!
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or email (email@example.com).