Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Beginnings of The Intentional Home

Couponing. That is how The Intentional Home blog got started. In the Spring of 2008, Rob and I were sitting in front of the computer screen, praying over our checkbook balance. Once again we were in the negative. We were also $38,492.58 in debt. I know because I still have the purple composition notbeook where I kept a running record of each payment we made.

At the time, we were reading Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace and Total Money Makeover and listening to his Financial Peace CDs. And one of the priciples Dave Ramsey talks about is that when you are in debt, you either have to make a way for MORE money to come IN OR you have to make a way for LESS money to go OUT.

32085: Financial Peace: RevisitedFinancial Peace: Revisited 
Want to get out of debt and stay out? Financial Peace Revisited gives you the tools to understand why you are in debt, create a budget you can stick to, set goals you can achieve, and make things right for you and your family emotionally, spiritually, and financially, for good. Updated version of the bestseller Financial Peace includes new chapters on marriage, singles, kids, and families.

And as I was praying, I was reminded of this blog post on a scrapbooking blog! about how this gal got free makeup at CVS by combining sales with coupons. And I felt like perhaps one way that I could make "less money go out" was to coupon.  And so I went to the library and checked out every book there was on couponing. By the way, my favorite was The Coupon Mom's book:

333686: The Coupon Mom"s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in HalfThe Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half
By Stephanie Nelson


And I devoured every book, took notes, and started practicing. And in about 4 months time, I cut our grocery bill from $1000-$1200 a month to $400 a month. I was so excited. That was $600-$800 real money left over in our checking account that we were able to apply to our debt. And with that $600-$800 a month and by applying Dave Ramsey's debt snowball principle (you gotta read the book!), and much prayer, we eliminated our debt.

I was so excited and felt such hope that I stared sharing with my girlfriends. Couponing was all I could talk about. My girlfriends wanted me to meet them for lunch and teach them how to coupon too.



And because I could only do so many lunches (my little one could only sit so long and lunches out cost money), I decided to gather all those interested in my home. I charged $5 for that first class in September 2008 to cover the cost of the handouts and refreshements.

After that first class, I remember one gal came up to me and gave me a check for $25, maybe it was $20, and said the class was worth so much more than $5. And I felt like that was God whispering to me that I was to teach more. And so over the past 4 years, I have taught close to 2,000 women the secrets of cutting your grocery bill in half.

not my very first coupon class. . but still a pic of me teaching couponing in my home

6 months after that first class, I set up this blog. Because it was getting too much for me to email everytime I came across a good deal or had something I wanted to share in regards to couponing. Two of my very first blog posts were:

Saving on Fresh Furits and Veggies

Your Grocery Budget: Is It Lower than the National Average?

And this story is getting too long. . I will continue tomorrow with How The Intentional Home Grew.

39 comments:

  1. Hi Su I would love to win! I just took your class and I have already enjoyed seeing the savings!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Su! I took your class last month and am starting to see the savings slowly during this start up phase! I'm excited to cut my grocery bill down!

    ReplyDelete
  3. That binder is gorgeous! If I don't win, I'd love to find out how your friend made it. We took FPU through our church, and I learned a great deal, but most of the time I feel like I have more "financial neutrality" than Financial Peace! Even though I don't draw an income, our Grocery Out-Go is solely my responsibility. I know I need to learn more about couponing. I tried & set up a binder with some help a few years ago, but it was WAY more of an effort than I could put forth with a newborn. Now with a preschooler, it is more feasible. Sorry for the novel - you & your words are helping me be more Intentional in my home (I came to your class back in March). I know you can help me become more intentional in our money-saving. Thank you for all you do!
    ~Ginny

    ReplyDelete
  4. Grace and peace to you, Su! Glad all is well. And I KNEW it was a D.H. Sewing project. Could just tell. :). This post made me think of when I took that class, how God used it to help keep me out of debt while unemployed!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the history - I'm entering the giveaway because my coworker raves about Dave Ramsey's system and I really would like to try it. I took one of your classes about a year ago and think you do a great job! thanks for spreading the word.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a friend at work who is always quoting Dave Ramsey...I have been wanting to attend a seminar...maybe I will win the book and knock that off my list! Love the binder!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I took your class 4 years ago and am amazed at how far I've come with my grocery spending. I used to spend between $75 and $100 a week on groceries, mainly buying store brand items. Now, 4 years later, I spend about $30/week, have a fully stocked pantry, and still am able to afford daycare for my 2 children and to give a surplus of food and toiletry items to our church's mission box each month. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! Oh and I love Dave Ramsey!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think I was in one of those first classes you taught!! Amazing how much time has gone by. I feel so blessed to have learned the couponing techniques almost 4 yrs ago prior to having my first child... I didn't have to worry about creating a diaper budget since I learned how to stockpile and figure out my target price :) And LOVE the binder!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I too was listening and learning from Dave back then. I have come across many blogsites on this couponing. Journey and I love that you are local and share family advice too!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Su,
    I took your coupon class in October of '09. Between your teachings about coupon/sale match-ups and Dave's (LOVE the envelope system he teaches) I feel so much more in control of our money - especially for groceries. Thanks for all that you share here - it is truly inspiring.

    -Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
  11. I took your coupon class in the fall of 2010, and while I have saved a lot on our budget I absolutely LOVE getting the freebies for the church outreach. I actually got teary-eyed in your class when you spoke about folks lining up to get the freebies that overflowed from the stockpiles within your church. And when I read this post what stands out most to me is "It felt like God whispered in my ear." How sweet and personal of our Father to guide you and your Intentional Home in that way!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I was in your 1st class and I was that girl that gave you $20 because it was SO worth it! I will have to admit I haven't been couponing recently :( I need to get back w/ the program and work on our debt. Would love to win the book to help. May need to come to a refresher course too! ... Laurie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurie. . I remember you. . .you and Emma (that was your email!). God used you that night. . .oh how He began whispering His plans for The Intentional Home after ya'll left. Please come to a coupon class (free of charge) when one fits into your schedule. My next one is April 26. Just email me and I will get you on the class list.

      Delete
  13. I have heard of Dave Ramsey but have not read any of his books yet. I attented one of your couponing classes and was really inspired but I still struggle because we eat mostly plant based foods and I don't seem to be able to maximize savings in that regard. I am style trying to put coupons and sales together in regards to household items though. The cover is beautiful! Your friend is talented!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I also posted about the coupon class on Facebook!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Su! I learned about couponing from you several years ago - and I don't think I've paid for toothpaste, shampoo or deoderant since! Thanks for your help. I've slacked off this last year - so I have to buckle down - we are one year away from college and now have 2 kids driving - and have let the debt creep up there again! I would love the binder and I am very interested in Dave Ramsey's programs!!!
    Angi H. (Laura's sister)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Su,
    I have heard all about Dave Ramsey and try to live by some Financial Peace principles. I took one of your classes about a year ago(Baus's). Before that, I had dabbled in coupons, but wasn't organized. I started getting serious then. I used to spend about two to three hundred dollars a week on groceries. Now I spend about 100 to 150 a week(I do have a big family).
    Glenda

    ReplyDelete
  17. Dave Ramsey has a fantastic ministry....listen to him every day on WPTF, 680 AM. Couponing has enabled me to buy things for my daughter and her husband on a regular basis....they leave my house most visits with a bag of groceries including normally big ticket items like laundry detergent that I get practically free. I just LOVE saving money!

    And I knew it was a coupon book cover - so much prettier than what I have now!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for sharing your story; it is inspiring to read about your journey out of debt! I would love to win the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I learned about couponing from other blogs and couldn't BELIEVE how much people were saving. Though it's not nearly as exciting as it was years ago (especially at Target) I still enjoy it. LOVE the coupon binder!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love couponing and even more because of how much money I can save from doing it! My husband I are very familiar with Dave Ramsey and listen to his talk show on a regular basis, enjoy his sense of humor too. Would love to have the coupon binder, so cute!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Su, I was so blessed to be one of your first students. You helped me cut a $1200 a month grocery bill down to $200-$400 a month - fast! Have been couponing now for almost 4 years and can't imagine doing ever changing that. You have been such a blessing to us! Thanks for all you do and congratulations on your anniversary!! Blessings, Kathy C.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I too am a Financial Peace Graduate. I fell in love with the system and the people I took the class with at my church. I have seen Dave live, and right after our graduation, alot of our class members went to a Southern Savers Coupon class by Jenny. I was hooked, and also took classes by Sue Stock at the News and Observer, by Faye Prosser from WRAL and lastly by you. I learn something new from every class I attend. Before FPU and couponing I was spending over $700 per month on groceries for a family of 4, personal and paper products, food for 2 cats and a dog. Now I spend less than $400 a month. I coupon a hour a day and love the deals. Thanks for your hard work and inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Su, I recently took your coupon and meal planning classes with my husband. We both learned a lot. Thank you. He is at Harris Teeter right now! I would love to win the coupon binder and book.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I took your coupon class and love Grocery shopping and seeing how much money I can save. We used to spend about $100 a week on groceries for a family of 4 and know we are spending $40 per week. Congrats on the 3rd Anniversary!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Su, thank you for sharing your insights and expertise. Your generosity in not only things, but ideas is inspirational; as are your ideas. I pick up something every time I read your blog and have saved money, too. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. What a fun and creative giveaway! Danielle is so talented! I know and love Dave! We saw him a few years back at one of his Total Money Makeover sessions in Charleston, SC. He was amazing and we learned so much from him! I use to be into couponing, but had sense gotten away from it (how in the world does something like that happen?). I took your class a few months ago and got rejuvenated, learning even more. And, by the way,your class is worth more than $20. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. My future daughter in law is just learning to coupon for groceries. The binder is beautiful and her style. While reading the post I kept thinking of her and my son. I want them to read Ramsey's book. It is so much better the younger you start off with financial peace :) Congrats on 3 years of blogging, Su.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Su! You are such an inspiration to me! Thanks for letting God use you to teach others about being a good steward with our resources.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I posted your blog on my Facebook! Hope you have a maxed-out class next week! :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Su, I took one of your first classes in the Fall of 2008! I used to listen to Dave Ramsey on the radio on my way home from work in the afternoons. I would love to read his book!
    Laura Thomas

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have been couponing since 2009. We have been using the Dave Ramsey approach for a while now trying to make sure we keep living within our means and don't give in to the temptation of debt!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I posted on Facebook as well!
    Angi H.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Su,

    I've been blessed to have been a part of 3 of your classes... and I continue to be blessed in reading your blog. Happy 3 year anniversary! Thankful you stepped out and allowed God to develop the Intentional Home and for making me more intentional!

    Angela Mills

    ReplyDelete
  34. I posted on Facebook also.

    ReplyDelete
  35. For some reason, I like to keep records of things. Anyways, I've kept an excel spreadsheet record of all my savings since taking your coupon class last year and have just reached the $1000 mark (entirely from coupons not store sales. If you include that it is over $3000) and have gotten over 100 items (entirely free or have made money on). I love your motto that you can use couponing to _________more and give more. It is so true!
    ~Jeannette C.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOW! Love that you have been keeping track and know, know that you are indeed saving. So what are you gonna do with that $1000? :)

      Delete
  36. Su,

    Thanks for following God's direction for this season in your life! You have inspired so many women. I took your Couponing class just a month ago in the midst of going through the Dave Ramsey class, also. You have encouraged me to pay attention to where our money is going, and to be intentional with it! I am looking forward to taking more of your classes in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I haven't read the book but have heard so much about Dave Ramsey. I am trying to get better at couponing.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails