One thing that being a single mother has taught me to do, is how to be thrifty. Before Spencer came along, coupons were more likely to be used for kindling than for clipping. I would spend with wanton abandon; (at Target, not Saks) why go without when you can just charge it now and pay it later, was my philosophy.
All of that had to change when Spencer was born, the money well was gone, better yet, my pretend money well was gone! All of a sudden I was responsible for this little creature who cost more to be born than it did for me to go to William & Mary.
I had health insurance, expensive, nice health insurance, but they refused to cover my pregnancy. This meant every time I had a doctor's appointment I had to pay $500 dollars up front. Towards the end, with appointments every one to two weeks... lets just say I had panic attacks nightly. Because I had health insurance I wasn't eligible for any programs. I considered dropping my insurance, but it wouldn't have mattered, that's seen as an illegal scheme, and I still would have been ineligible for government assistance. Due to unseen complications, I had an emergency C-Section and we were in the hospital for five nights!
The bill, oh the bill.
I can't even think about how much money it was. Luckily, I was able to apply for a something through the hospital, and they ended up paying for half of the bill. That was a LIFESAVER, but I was still in a lot of debt, which meant no more frivolous spending.
I started selling things on eBay and began diligently clipping coupons. I also signed up for about a billion online programs that ship you free samples of their products along with coupons for future purposes. I searched daily for online coupons, coupon codes, and deals. Did you know people buy coupons on eBay? Well, they do! When I found coupons for things I didn't need, I wait til I amassed a few, and then put them on sale.
I'm not out of debt by any means, but I'm a little over 60% of the way out of it. Of course there are still the day to day expenses that I have to spend money on, but I've learned to play the coupon game. CVS and Walgreens are both really good at letting you make multiple transactions in order to save money. At CVS, I once made $.75 after spending $60 by using my Extra Care dollars, coupons, and making 3 separate transactions. Side note: It's best to go at night so that the people in line behind you don't get pissed.
I've somewhat of a 180, spending wise- although deep down I still want to go to Target and buy everything for myself. I guess that's just what happens when you grow up, even though I still don't think of myself as a "grown-up."