If you’ve been hanging around Fat Wallet for any length of time, you know that there’s plenty of money to be saved using coupons, both online and in the stores. But what are you doing with the money you save with coupons? Are you using it to better your family’s finances? If you’re spending time and effort finding deals, couponing, and bargain shopping, it would be a shame if you just wasted that saved money on trivial things.
As a Certified Financial Coach who also happens to be a Coupon Queen, putting my coupon savings to good use is important to me. So far this year, my husband and I have saved over $5,200 with coupons. That’s a lot of money! We use the money we save to fund our vacations (Hawaii, twice!), save for large purchases (hoping for a new Sonata in 2012), and we’re working on paying off our house.
Here is what I suggest you do with your coupon savings.
First, take 10-20% of your coupon savings and spend it on yourself! This is your reward for being a Super Saver! Clipping coupons, scouring the internet for the best deals, and comparison shopping will be even more satisfying when you have a fun treat, like a manicure, dinner at your favorite restaurant, or a new pair of shoes, to look forward to.
What should you do with the other 80 – 90%? If you don’t have at least $1,000 in an emergency savings fund, make that your first goal. This will give your family a safety net so that you won’t have to use a credit card to pay for car repairs or a new hot water heater. This way, when you have an emergency breakdown, you won’t have a financial emergency on top of that. Ultimately, your family should have a goal of three to six months of living expenses in savings. In this uncertain economy, that’s a wise thing to do.
How would you like to make 18% return on your money?
“Impossible!” you say? NOT paying 18% interest on credit card debt is suspiciously like receiving 18% on your money, as financial guru Dave Ramsey likes to say. Once you have an emergency fund in place, work on paying off your credit card and other debt. Flip open your checkbook register and total up your monthly debt payments. How would it feel if you got to KEEP that money every month? If that’s not motivation to start hammering down those credit card balances, I don’t know what is!
Is your family already debt-free? Congrats! Use your coupon savings for large purchases like a car or a vacation. (You can frequently negotiate a better deal on things when you’re paying with cash.) Tape a picture of your goal on the refrigerator for the whole family to see. If the kids know you’re saving up for a Disney vacation, they will likely be clipping your Sunday coupons for you! So what are you waiting for? Make a plan for your coupon savings that will permanently improve your family’s finances!
Christine Luken is a Coupon Queen, Financial Coach, and author of the e-book, “Confessions of a Coupon Queen: Secrets Retailers Don’t Want You to Know.” She has a passion for helping families save money so they can build up their savings and pay off their debt. Christine lives in the Greater Cincinnati area with her husband, Nick, and two cats, Peanut and Little Tiny. In her spare time, you can find Christine on the golf course, at the mall shopping for shoes (coupons in hand!), or at home watching cage fighting with her husband. You can reach her by email or on her website.