One of the biggest dilemmas facing today’s career-oriented woman is whether to continue working or to stay at home and raise children. For author Kelly Hancock, the decision to leave a successful career at a Fortune 500 company to raise her daughter at home full-time was not easy to make. Ultimately, though, Hancock and her husband took a leap of faith, and made ends meet with only one income – thanks in large part to the Hancock’s shopping and couponing savvy.
Hancock managed to trim a monthly food budget of $1,100 down to a mere $200. Realizing her talent to stretch her family’s single income, she began teaching couponing workshops in her area, sharing her secrets with others. Soon after, Hancock’s husband’s company downsized, and he lost his job. Instead of looking for new jobs, the couple began focusing on her workshops and on her website, Faithful Provisions.
Today, Kelly Hancock appears on radio and television programs across the nation spreading her couponing knowledge and her mission to “give generously.” Her first book, “Saving Savvy: Smart and Easy Ways to Cut Your Spending in Half and Raise Your Standard of Living…and Giving!,” brings her knowledge right into your own home.
Though one chapter of Saving Savvy focuses on couponing, the book does not focus solely on using coupons to save money. Instead, Hancock provides real world savings strategies you can use with or without coupons, focusing on three main points: planning ahead, setting up your environment, and never paying full price for the items you buy most frequently.
1. Planning Ahead
If you have a busy lifestyle, you can save money when you make to-go meals in small containers and store them for future use. Hancock explains family meal planning tips for home-cooked lunches and dinners, and how to package them to last longer in your deep freezer. Hancock encourages families to eat meals together at the dining table whenever possible, and by planning ahead, the time saved (in addition to the money) allows for more quality time.
2. Setting Up Your Environment
Before you go shopping, you have to know what you have on hand. By clearing out unwanted items from your shelves, freezers, pantry, and refrigerator, you make room for the influx of new food items. If you need additional space for stockpiles, you may need to add extra shelves in your pantry, laundry room, and closets. Hancock encourages readers to make space for their surplus before buying the surplus.
3. Never Pay Full Price!
Hancock suggests following the extreme couponing mantra – “Never pay full price!” – to fill up a newly created space for a stockpile. Even if you don’t use coupons at all, you can still save a significant amount by waiting for staple items to go on sale, and then stocking up in your home food storage. Buy items that your family needs at the lowest prices, so you can save money and, at the same time, have plenty of staples on hand for your family. By following these concepts, you will have no need to ever make late night trips to the grocery store for full-priced items.
Short on Time?
At the end of every chapter, two checklists entitled “If you have MORE time…” and “If you have LESS time…” help bring even more organization into your life. Many people live fast-paced, convenience-driven lifestyles. If you have a full schedule and can’t utilize all of Hancock’s suggestions, don’t worry. Hancock presents shortcuts for each chapter and shows readers who have limited free time alternative ways to save money. For example, someone with more time can flash-freeze fresh fruit and vegetables in their deep freezer. Someone with less time can use some creative packaging techniques. Alternative, time-saving tips to save money are featured throughout the book.
A Focus on Giving
Like many extreme couponers, Hancock believes in giving and sharing with others. When you learn how to shop effectively and to save money on groceries and other supplies, you accumulate a surplus of supplies – and extra money. Hancock suggests donating overstock to your neighbors, friends, family, and to local food banks. Hancock shares many heartwarming stories of people giving in extraordinary ways, including anonymous giving and acting as coupon angels.
If you want to be a hardcore extreme couponer like Kathy Spencer, or if you just want to implement small changes to your lifestyle to save money, this book is for you. The techniques outlined in this book can save you 50% or more on your grocery budget. In addition to the financial benefits, Hancock’s advice can also reduce stress, promote family togetherness, and bring joy by giving back.
What are your thoughts on Kelly Hancock’s “Saving Savvy” book? Do you have any favorite strategies for saving money and using coupons?
Worthy Publishing, 217 pages, paperback