The key to getting the most out of coupons is to redeem them.
Recession Mama: My husband has challenged me to not spend anything for a while unless I'm also using one of the discount certificates or gift cards I keep in a file on my desk. (I think there's a toilet paper exception, but I need clarification on that.) I see where he's coming from. There is a lot of what I consider saving, but what my husband considers preparation for saving, happening in this house. I see the payoff if I realize a deal months or even years later, but he wanted to see some savings NOW.
He was off work today and got a haircut, using a free haircut certificate won at a school auction. We also went out to lunch, using another certificate. We had a fifty-dollar certificate to a local restaurant, and they were nice enough to let us use it and give us the sizeable balance on a new certificate. We came home and pulled stuff out of the freezer and pantry to cook for dinner. We should be able to go a while without having to resort to mandarin oranges as an entrée.
While dinner was cooking (roasted chicken with corn and black bean salad), I looked through the mail and saw an invite for a birthday party for the four-year-old son of a friend. I made a mental note to check the gift closet. This was working great -- I just realized I would need to think ahead. I'd like to take the kids to the new Harry Potter movie over the weekend, so we would go to a theater where I already had movie passes. And what about date night? A friend had given me some comedy club tickets. Now would be a great time to use them ...
A former state deputy attorney general and current stay-at-home mom, Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla has three kids and ten years of experience stretching one salary to cover the necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you have it to spend on whatever you want!