Monday, March 3, 2014

Marriage & Finance!

As we continued our focus on marriage, our February 27 MOPS meeting included a marriage panel to offer insights on the effects of finance. This "F" word can be a blessing and a curse depending on how you view it's purpose and communicate with your spouse. Our panel answered burning questions and shared their own failures and successes as they have grown in marriage and experienced difficult circumstances related to money.

A point that stood out most to me and changes your perspective on the situation is:
"Money is just Money"
In the midst of hardship or financial strain, money can often take center stage as the antagonist and it is easy to imagine the disappearance of our problems 'if we just had more money'. This deception provides a slippery slope into a greater misunderstanding of God's plan for your life and marriage. Don't be deceived friends. If your marriage is burdened by financial strain, take your plea to the One whose unconditional love for you is priceless. You'll find the answer on your knees.
Supporting our husbands in the tough times starts with being supportive.  Beyond that, keeping the stress level down in your marriage will help him get through the tough times more easily too. Click here to learn 10 things to help your marriage feel less stressed.
Lastly, I wanted to include a few easy and convenient resources for simply money-savings. While individually these tips may seem small in value, a little goes a long way when you are living simply and sacrificially but still need milk and diapers frequently. If you're vehemently opposed to couponing then this isn't for you, but here are just a few ways I've found savings on everyday items and don't spend much time at all doing so.
1. Coupon file - when I receive coupon circulars in the mail, I will quickly scan the pages for items/brands I already use (lunchmeat, mayo, tissue, etc) and clip those coupons. I organize them by category in a small accordion file (baby, health/beauty, household, grocery, misc) and put it away. When it's time to shop I will either just stuff the entire file in my purse and take it with me or I'll sort through the coupons after making my list and only bring those. This clipping process takes no longer than 5 - 10 minutes. In many instances, I've saved a minimum of $10 and up to $30 in one transaction using this method.
2. Smartphone apps - if you're a smartphone user, this is a no-brainer in my opinion. No clipping required. I install apps for my most frequented stores (Target, Kroger, Walgreens) and in many cases there are ecoupons available exclusively through the app.
Here's a list of a few of my favorite money-saving apps. I could go on and on why I love them so much but I'll keep it concise. (BTW all these apps are FREE)
a. Cartwheel by Target - if you're a Target shopper and not using this app - STOP NOW and get it. You customize the Target specific coupons you want and scan one barcode at checkout. In the short time I've used this app, I've saved well over $100. (I'm also a fan of the Target Redcard (debit) - save 5% on every purchase)
b. Kroger - upload ecoupons directly to your registered Kroger card.
c. Shopkick - users are rewarded with kicks (points) for opening the app in available stores. At certain point thresholds you can redeem for many rewards. So many major stores participate like Target, Best Buy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Macy's, Sephora, etc. So for example, I open the ShopKick app as I'm walking into Target and it dings at the entrance with a number of kicks. I'm currently hoarding my points to get a mac-daddy redemption but you can decide when to redeem and you can use the reward for money off at each of the stores I mentioned among many others.
d. RetailMeNot - notifies you when sales are taking place at your favorite stores.
e. Free Prints - if you never print pictures because it's time consuming and expensive, this is for you. This app allows you to print up to 1,000 FREE 4x6 photos per year. And shipped right to your door.
Happy Savings Mommas!! Use the savings you find for a well-deserved date night or stash it away as savings.

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