Your Fiscal Cliff Survival Guide – Mapping It Out

Our country narrowly missed falling over the “Fiscal Cliff” the beginning of this year. Most of us didn’t miss the hike in our taxes though. Starting January, we saw about $100 less from each paycheck, which over the next 12 month will equal about $2400. For me, that is a lot of money. I feel like I am already frugal and stretch my dollars as far as they can go. But I am going to need to make up that $200 a month that will now be missing.

I know that I can do it.

I know that I can help you do it. 

But first we need a plan, and we need a map. You don’t set out on a journey without either if you expect to get where you are going. I went to college to get my degree in Recreation and Natural Resource Management, I wanted to own a bed and breakfast somewhere out in the western part of the US. I love the outdoors, and catering to company. Instead, I got married and moved to Houston where it is 100 degrees in the shade in April. But in my head, any references to backpacking, camping and the outdoors I get and make sense to me. That is how I am setting it up for you.

What you can expect: 

Daily I am going to give you every opportunity to find an extra $200. Mondays, I will post a menu plan, so you can try and eat at home. I am going to give you a list of what you can stock up on each week. This is NOT Extreme Couponing. In fact, we are not going to cut out a lot of coupons, but I DO want you to get 1-2 papers a week still. They come in handy when you don’t expect them to. Don’t even cut the coupons out if you don’t want to. Just hang onto the inserts until you need them.

Join MyLitter -Deals. We are going to discuss and help each other with deals that your fellow readers see and find helpful. I have to approve you, but I watch it all day, so I can do it right away!

I am in the same boat, and need to find my $200 a month. So, I want to make sure that you can as well!


Jumping into something without a plan is a sure way for it to backfire, and you to give up quickly. Jumping in full force without a plan, will also make you discouraged and set you up to fail. We do not want that.

What is the plan? Mine is to “find” an extra $200 a month. More would be nice, but I am going to go  with $200 for now to make up for what I am now short. Grab a pen and paper and write down YOUR plan. I will wait….. See it in writing? Good. Now stick it somewhere where you will see it every day. Tape it to your computer. Tattoo it on your hand, I don’t care, just somewhere you can remember the plan.

:: Get a Map:: 

We don’t often use maps much anymore that you unfold in your hand and try to fold back up. We have google maps and GPS devices that tell us where to go. But there is something about holding a map in your hand and seeing all the other roads that go places you were not, and all the different options you have.

MY map is different than YOUR map.

Because we are all in different financial, life, job, family, etc. situations, one plan and one route won’t fit all. How many of you have 7 kids and live in Houston where grocery prices are fairly low? Probably not many of you, if you do, email me, I need a friend with a bunch of kids!

I am going to help you make your map, by giving you different options. You can choose the way you want to go, or what works best for your family.

Go HERE for more information and to make your plan!

::Gather Your Resources::

Please don’t spend anymore money trying to save money. You don’t need to go buy a calendar, or pay for information on the web. Have you seen people who start couponing and end up spending MORE money than they would have if they were not couponing? Also your TIME is money.

When you are serious about couponing, getting the hang of it takes a little more time, but after a while you get good and fast and the money you are saving makes up the extra time you are spending. But some people don’t give it long enough and it starts to not be worth it. I don’t blame them. Who wants to be tied down like that and a salve to coupons? Not me! Pick wisely what YOU have time for and what YOU can make your time worth helping your family.

Go HERE for free resources!

:: Detour’s::

There are many detours in life. The loss of $200 a month is one of them. It sucks. But we are going to  find another way to make that money up, or live without it. BUT, if you end up taking a different path for a few miles, make sure that it leads you back to the one that you started with. Because if you don’t, you have lost your way.

:: SOS – Call For Help ::

Even the best of us need help. I have a few friends that I can call on for help if I need it. I have blogger friends I have never met, that I talk to on a daily basis and can ask for support or help in answering questions or responding to problems. Although I have not met many of personally I am here to HELP you! That is why I started this blog. To HELP other people save the money that I was saving because it made a difference in my life and it can in yours as well. EMAIL me!!! Email my husband if you need help with Walmart or need some advice as to how to get your husband to help coupon and save money. WE are here to HELP you! 

  • – Tiffany
  • – Paul

Comment on the Fiscal Cliff Posts each week. The readers here at MyLitter ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD! They will help you if you have a question. I have seen this time and time again, that readers will answer questions that I am not sure about or get to them quicker than I can. They are helpful and friendly. Just give as much information as you can, that helps us understand exactly what you are asking OR venting. That is ok as well. We all need to sometimes!

My husband Paul is a blogger over at I Heart The Mart. On Wednesday’s he is doing a LIVE radio show that you can listen to if you are interested. Each week he talks about saving money in general, Walmart shopping, Walmart issues ( because there are never a shortage of those… :) ) and much more. It is really kinda a fun and funny show, plus you can also call in and ask questions.

:: Use the Buddy System :: 

FIND A BUDDY!! I get so much good information from readers and friends everyday that I would never be able to find on my own. Encourage your sister, best friend, Mom, husband, neighbor, co-worker, aunt, daughter etc.  to jump on this ride with you. It is SOOOOO much more fun with a friend. Plus, you can encourage and support each other on the way.

Steer clear of the “haters,” people who don’t like it when you succeed or flourish. Or people who complain a lot, it just isn’t fun that way. Find a friend that is thrifty and frugal, who you can go shopping with. Someone who likes to save money just as much as you or NEEDS YOU to teach them how. YOU can be the leader and show others how to take some stress out of their life by having a little wiggle room with their budget.

If you don’t have anyone, I am here as buddy OR I can set you up with an online buddy! Just ask!

:: One Foot In Front Of The Other::

This was my final topic. But when I thought of ending titles like, “Goal” “Finish Line” and others, they didn’t fit. There is never really an end to saving money. It is just something that you do. This is a lifestyle of SMART and frugal choices so that you can spend YOUR money on the things that YOU want to and not just trying to stay afloat. Because just trying to get by isn’t fun, the stress is not worth it.

In closing, I want you to know that I am here for you. I don’t have all the answers but I can try and help. BUT, YOU need to be invested, I won’t be able to physically hold your hand. YOU need to make good finical decisions and choices and teach your children to make good choices as well. I know that things happen in life that are unexpected. You might make good choices and still get caught in something completely unexpected. This is when you just keep your chin up, and do what you can!


  1. Dianna says

    Thank you, I look forward to the new approach, saving with out the extreme. I can be an extreme couponer but it takes more time than I have. Also the shortened experation dates on coupons has made it much harder to get the deals.

  2. Sonya says

    Tiffany, thanks for this post. It is just what I needed. 2012 was a very stressful year for us. We bought a new house in Montgomery, TX (which was a foreclosure and needed much work) and my father-in-law passed away in Alabama. These two events hit our budget hard. I have been couponing since November 2011. However, with a lot of uncontrollable factors, I was not able to keep it going very well. We too were hit with a decrease in pay because of the tax issue and with rising medical insurance premiums. This all being said, I needed some way of getting myself motivated to get a plan and a system to save us as much as I could. Your website and this post in particular was just what I needed to start pressing forward for a better year for my family. I look forward to reading your future post and making my plan work in 2013.

    • Tiffany says

      I am really so glad. I knew that I needed it for myself, and I figured I was not alone. I don’t have all the details worked out yet, so I am open for any suggestions, but I think with all of us together we can save some money!

  3. Kimberly Wilson says

    Tiffany, I am so excited for this. The last few months I have been trying to do better at shopping less and therefore saving more. I feel guilty because couponing can save me so much money but I have enjoyed not stressing the deals all the time.

    P.S. I studied Recreation Management and wanted to open a Bed & Breakfast too. Some days I still dream about the Themed Inn I would be running.

  4. Texasboymom says

    I’d love to hear more about the radio show Paul is doing. What is the time and station? Thanks for all ( the both of) you do!

  5. Rachel Sullivan says

    I have seven children and live in the Omaha, Nebraska area. LOL!!! Thank you for helping our budget each and every month.


  6. Jennifer Johnson says

    Thank you. I have been couponing since April 2011 and have saved and bought more since I started. I limit myself to two papers a week. I haven’t been able to order a subscription for papers so to maximize I have gotten extra inserts from a guy at the street corner selling papers (when he sees me, he hands my special packed papers with extra coupon inserts to me when I pay) I don’t always see him at the corner, though so I started buying papers from CVS. I always check the papers first to ensure all the inserts are there. when I haven’t, and get home to find out they were missing. One of my goals this year is to get better organized with receipts, tracking rebates, maximizing all of my shopping experiences, etc. I was thinking that I would need to create a system of brands and shopping trips to index with my receipts to be able to find them when I come across rebates after I go shopping. I also need to begin tracking my per item spending–I forget what you call it. The past 6 months I have been able to get extra shopping points from sears –I use them to buy my son school clothes –one piece at a time. I have learned that when I shop smaller I spend smaller too. Thank you all for every comment.

  7. dorothy says

    Tiffany, do you know of any deals on Houston Chronicle Sunday only subscriptions? I know last year you posted one, but the phone number is no longer valid. The best deal I can get on new subscriptions is $1.50 per week, and my existing subscription has gone up to $1.25 per week. I’d like to get about 3, just for the coupons. I’m sure others would like this info too. Thanks!

  8. Sally says

    You’re inspiring. I’ve been attempting to cut expenses and move toward improving my financial picture. Not knowing how to move forward with couponing so that it makes sense for my family has been a struggle. I begin see a small benefit and then get off track. I believe you site might be the resource I need to keep me on target. Making the plan seems simple enough…I’m surprised I’ve never thought to do that so that I can track my progress. Thanks.

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