If you asked me five years ago if I'd be couponing the way I do today, I probably would’ve laughed in your face! Looking back, my family never thought we would be where we are today. Our story is full of a lot of ups and downs, but overshadowing all the fear and unknowns is an overarching theme—hope.

The hopeful beginning

My wonderful husband and I got married four years ago. We were full of the joy and the naiveté of newlyweds, and hopeful for the plans that we had meticulously laid out when we got married. I was in my last year of a prestigious nursing program, and my new husband had moved across the country and found a temporary position working for a really wonderful company in my hometown. We agreed that I would be working full time right after graduation. Nurses make a good salary, and with just under $40,000 in student loans, we felt confident we could be debt free quickly.

A bundle of surprises along the way

Five months after our wedding…surprise! A little girl was on her way, and born just after our one year anniversary! We had next-to-no financial stability, and suddenly our plans had tipped upside down. We had always thought I would be a part- or full-time, stay-at-home mom, but we didn't know that I would become a mom so quickly. Nevertheless, I graduated nursing school when I was 12 weeks along, and I still thought I would be headed down the path to a steady, well-paying job. However, things never seemed to go as planned in our little story. Unfortunately, the job that I had been promised during my 6-month residency was suddenly unavailable due to budget cuts.

Failure and loss

After graduation, I took my nursing boards. After graduating near the top of my class and excelling in my residency, I felt that the boards would be a piece of cake! I was wrong. I failed the test. It was painful, but I knew many people took it twice, and then passed, so I kept studying. I had complications with my pregnancy, so I waited to take it again until after she was born…and I failed it again. I went on to fail it five more times, and I’m no longer eligible to take it. It was a tremendous, painful loss to say goodbye to a career I worked for five long years to begin, and the financial repercussions were huge.

New dreams

During these years of continuing to struggle with my boards, I was determined to save money and get us out of debt faster. We were doing the Dave Ramsey cash-only budgeting, but paying off the rest of my student loans still felt so far away. Ultimately, I logged onto the KCL website and became, yep, a Krazy Coupon Lady! I began couponing seriously, and quickly shaved hundreds off our budget. I began to treat saving money as my part-time job! Little by little, we began to gain financial freedom and footing that we never imagined we would be able to. As hard as our story was, it is full of hope. We never envisioned being as financially stable as we are, especially considering the setbacks and loss we faced in the past four years. We have watched miraculous provision continuously reappear over time. Every time I failed my nursing boards, my husband would concurrently get a raise in his salary. We began getting random sources of income, including little side jobs for my writing. We are saving money, we have knocked out tons of student loan debt, and we’re finally getting ready to buy a home. The dreams we imagined years ago have been revived, and we are so thankful. I want to say this: if you're in a place where you are going paycheck to paycheck, if you’re not able to save, if you’re suddenly on a single income or if you’re a mom, please hear me—there's hope. Things get better. I lost my dream career, but we’re still standing. I'm so thankful for the role that couponing and saving money has played in our story! Without it, I truly don't think we would be where we are today.

 

This is a guest post by Grace from Medford, OR.