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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits & Tips: Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

image courtesy of Flickr

You've heard me say it time and time again. But I'm going to say it once more.

This week's tip? Short, sweet, and simple - Do not compare yourself to others when it comes to couponing and saving money.

Every single family is different. Consider the following factors:
  • Regional differences
  • Stores available for you to shop at
  • Varying coupon policies at those stores
  • Income level
  • Marital status
  • Number and ages of children
  • Dietary preferences (Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Weight loss goals, Diabetes, and much more)
  • How much time you have on your hands
  • Career Choices (stay at home mom versus the full time working mom)
  • Life circumstances, and how that affects your grocery budget
  • Number of cars you do or do not have
  • Newspaper access (a blogging friend of mine can't get the newspaper delivered to her house because of where she lives)
  • Priorities in healthy living, buying fruits/veggies, avoiding processed foods, eating organic, etc.
  • How often you eat out
The list could go on and on. The point I'm trying to make is that we are all very different. To be quite honest, I'm kind of the outsider in terms of the typical couponing blogger on the web. Probably around 90% of frugal bloggers are stay-at-home-moms who have husbands making decent full-time incomes and a house full of homeschooling kids. Out of necessity in this season of our life, I am forced to work full-time. My husband is a self-employed artist who works at home. We do not have any kids, quite honestly because we can't afford it. Oh, and not to mention the fact that my husband and I are Vegetarians (talk about changing up a grocery budget).

So you better believe my grocery budget, couponing adventures, weekly savings, and even my blogging style/frequency will differ greatly from the majority of frugal bloggers out there! But that's okay.

In the beginning, I compared myself. I got frustrated when I wasn't saving like others were. I've even found myself harboring bitterness towards others at times along the journey. I now realize that diversity is beautiful, and that no two people or families are exactly the same. Couponing is a gift, and it can help anybody no matter what situation their life is in. Everyone just has to take that gift and use it how they see fit.

My advice for you? Evaluate your own life. Decide what is most important to you in the realm of saving money and using coupons. Look at your life and all the different factors it brings into play. Nail down a budget and stick to it. Coupons definitely come in handy, but don't become so obsessed with them that all you're caring about is whether or not your savings ratio beats out the next person's.

It's nice to see that I spent $20 on $150 worth of groceries, but it was also nice to come home from my "no coupons" trip tonight at Publix. I had one of the worst savings ratios in my couponing history, but I was way under budget, bought almost all healthy fruits/veggies, and had a nice stress-free break from couponing!

So stop comparing yourself! Enjoy your life, set a budget, and use coupons to help you out. Most importantly - do what is best for you and your family!

What About You: What factors in your life contribute to your grocery budget and couponing lifestyle?

Want to see other great Tidbits & Tips? Be sure to go HERE to read all of them from the past weeks!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Meg! By the way, if you are looking for bargin clothing check out the Bealls outlet at the St. Augusine outlet mall. I found some really cute Bermuda shorts for 12.99 and quaility T-shirts for 4.99. All the clothes are very inexpensive.
God bless you,
Denise WGV

April 7, 2010 at 6:16 AM  
Anonymous Marsha said...

I second that, "Well Said". I find my savings more when I get my household needs. I have accepted the "win some and loose some attitude" because prices in San Diego are always higher than mentioned on the other blogs. Focus on your goal. My goal is to continue putting food on the table, a roof over out head, and every once in a while a goodie for my family by getting a bigger bang for my buck.

Thanks for the perspective!

What area are you in?

April 7, 2010 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

thanks for the reminder Meg. I feel like I am constantly reminding myself that as long as we are staying under budget that our goals are being met. It is not about outdoing others for all the reasons you have listed above. We are currently paying off debt, my husband has two jobs, I have a part time job, two little boys and trying stay up on the coupons, and share deals with others. It is really crazy right now but it is a season for us as it is for everyone. Before the Lord we need to be good stewards of what we have and be thankful for the gifts of jobs and couponing. Thanks again for the great reminder!

April 7, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous crystal said...

Thanks for this reminder! I personally feel like I do a great job couponing and have also been in the position to feel a little bit bitter about other people's savings. I too realized the thing about what you purchase makes a big difference and it DOES vary from family to family. I've noticed that a lot of time really unhealthy frozen entrees and such will be on sale for $1 or $2 and I know some people that will buy 5-10 of those things. I just don't feed that type of stuff to my family, so it's on weeks like that where some people may save 80% and I save 55% but we should all just be thankful that we've in some way come to learn and know the ways of couponing and savings because someone out there, probably the person ahead of you in line is paying 100% and saving none!

April 7, 2010 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Julianne Hendrickson said...

Great post, Meg! Love is so hard at first to not make it a competition, but a lifestyle for you and your family.

April 7, 2010 at 6:29 PM  
Anonymous Sara said...

I agree with everyone else, great post! I won't save as much this summer because I'll buy most of my fruits and veggies at the farmer's market, but it's worth it to me to buy fresh and local. I'll just have to work harder to save in other areas. =)

April 8, 2010 at 1:17 AM  

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