One of the biggest challenges we all face is time management. You probably look at your daily “to do list” and say, “how could I possibly fit in another thing?”
You’re not alone. Most people feel this way at least some time, if not many times, in their lives. Unfortunately, the No. 1 reason many people do not coupon is because they don’t think they have the time.
Hearing the word coupon often stresses many people. The truth is, couponing in itself does not add challenge to your life; it is the way you try to incorporate it into your life. I say frequently, “Couponing should fit into our already existent life not work our lives around couponing.” But, how do I do this you may be wondering when I already work from the time I get up till the time I go to bed each night?
Not too long ago I spoke to a businesswomen’s group about time management. All women have a great job of balancing time when it comes to family and home life, however, business women often increase their workload when they add a career outside of the home. I
s there help for the busy woman, wife and mother who want to positively impact the lives of their family and others? Absolutely, but it will take an open mind, a ready heart, and a willing hand. Before I tell you how to incorporate couponing into your life let’s get started with this tip that will set you on the right track.
Determine how you use your time daily and then evaluate the order of importance.
What things must be included in your day: cooking, work, helping the kids with the homework, homeschooling, laundry, etc.?
What things do you add to your day: Trip to the grocery store, phone calls, unexpected events that take your time?
It is important to think about how you spend your time. Most of the time we will be able to calculate up some things that occurred within a week that took a lot of our time, but were not crucial to our daily routines.
“Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time….”
Now we want to take a look at some “must do’s” for your daily routine.
Set a regular time for devotions. Yes, you do have time to do this. I have found when this is not in my day, my day is not productive and my nerves are often stressed. Taking regular time for devotions (first thing in the morning is the best time and worth getting up an extra 30 minutes or so) Why is this so important? It refreshes you mentally, amazingly multiplies your time for other tasks, helps you deal with the day’s challenges and causes others around you to have a better attitude – kindness is catchy.
Quit work at quitting time. If you have a 9-5 job, quit at 5. Don’t take your work home with you. This goes for homeschooling, paid careers, any jobs, which are a daily routine for you. Most women struggle with this. We talk about our jobs well after quitting time, keeping our mind in work mode and not allowing us to move on to anything else. If your mind is working on one thing, your body can’t be doing something else. Just think about some of your conversations with your husband—you tell him something, his mind is somewhere else. The result is you have to tell him again. Time spent unnecessarily, right ladies?
Some other reasons for the importance of this are: You will appreciate the simpler things in life, you will keep your family from resenting your job, and you will keep your boss from taking advantage of you.
Make time for yourself 1 hour each day. (Yes, this is a must!)
This will remind you – indeed a woman and were a woman before you were a wife or mother. Taking time for yourself will help the other things you do in life seem worth the effort. It is your reward, without it you will burn out quickly and resent your daily tasks.
This can be anything from reading, a bubble bath, playing “Angry Birds” on your phone – yes it helps me relax after a long day, etc…A sense of satisfaction will be felt at the end of the day when you do this.
Make one night a week date night. Never let your lives get so busy that your spouse comes last. At this point you are generally too tired to be much of a companion to them. Schedule a specific night and appreciation for your spouse. It tells your spouse you want to spend time with them and it helps them cope with the challenges they experience throughout the day. You are their best friend and the one they need to find relaxation with.
Make one night a week family night. This may seem difficult, especially when you have teenagers and everyone has busy and different schedules. You will have to be flexible with this in the sense that it could be something as simple as sitting down to a meal together, watching a movie together, attending church together. The important thing here is to make sure that you function as a family unit without losing sight of the needs of every person in the family. Doing this will build security, fill the need for acceptance, build love, and keep peace in a home.
Assign your children jobs. Families should be team players. Your job is not to cater to your child’s every wish and expect nothing in return. Teach them responsibility by expecting them to be responsible for something. If you don’t you will not only add stress to your life, but a workload a mile long. Expecting responsibility makes children feel trusted and capable of completing tasks that you would have normally done. In a sense you are promoting them to handle a workload of an adult. Obviously, choose a task they can complete and some jobs should be paid jobs. I incorporate my children into my daily life. They help me in my business, by which I pay them an hourly rate, and other jobs they do as a means of training to become an adult — laundry, dishes, etc…
Now, that we have looked at all the tips for managing time, I want to give you some tips on including couponing.
Only get the deals you need to keep your stockpile stocked. Look for only those items. Don’t spend hours searching for every good deal; you don’t need it.
Make your list and clip those coupons when you have to be somewhere, but are not actively involved in doing anything. Waiting at the doctor’s office, dentist office, soccer practice, dance practice, etc..
Spend $10-$20 weekly to keep your stockpile stocked.
If you do not do this and let down your guard, you will find yourself putting more time in to buying things as you run out. The key-don’t run out and you won’t wear out!
Stockpile everything except milk, fresh fruit, fresh vegetable, and bread (if you don’t like to freeze it)
Your weekly shopping trip will be very minimal once you have built this stockpile. In other words-less time at the store!
Plan your trip to the store when you are in that area. Maybe after work on the way home, when picking up the kids from school, after church. Whatever time you are already out with a purpose, it is wise to double up and get it done.
Teach your children to work the deals and clip the savings. This will lighten your load, but above all it will teach them to use resources to create savings. With an unstable economy it is important to teach our children how to be self-sufficient, depending only on God and the knowledge he gives us to succeed and not on man for success.
I hope these tips have helped you see that you can have balance in your life in all areas. Does this mean it’s always easy, “no”, but it does mean it is achievable. Yes, I do go to bed tired every night, but I go to bed with a sense of satisfaction that I have accomplished the necessary tasks that will benefit my life, my families, and the lives of others. A task never started remains undone, but a task begun will hear “well done.”
Ann Haney is homeschool mother of 17-plus years to six children (four entrepreneurs), CEO of Aaron Publishing, founder of Ann Haney Ministries and Living In Abundance, nationwide motivational speaker, coupon specialist and author of 18 published products, including her book, “Exploding Into Successful Entrepreneurship.” Contact Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a speaking engagement and view her website for more information at annhaney.com.