I have been extreme couponing since long before there was a name for it. You know the type: obsessively clipping coupons, buying the items on sale in bulk and filling their pantry for a "raining day." That is why when I heard TLC was going to air a series called Extreme Couponing, I was very happy. Perhaps I could pick up some tips from others that I didn't already know. The series might help me save money.

I was wrong.

Instead, the show seems like some kind of twisted combination of "Hoarders" and "Supermarket Sweep." The Extreme Couponers gleefully show off their "stockpiles" and exclaim "I won't have to buy toothpaste for the rest of my life!"

I have used coupons for years as a way of stretching my food dollars, particularly when I was supporting an extended family when my oldest son and his wife lost their jobs and had to move in with me. Without the coupons, my grocery bill would have either been a lot higher than it was, or we may have had a tougher time putting food on the table.

Now, since "Extreme Couponing" has hit the airwaves, more people are "abusing the system." They are trying to emulate the Extreme Couponers and come up with ways of paying next to nothing for their groceries. They do this by combining printed coupons with the store's loyalty cards and sales. I have done this, too...but I know damn well I don't need 500 tubes of toothpaste. Some of these folks subscribe to coupon clipping services to get considerably more newspapers than they would ever possibly by just to stock up on the coupons. In one episode, a man purchased $4,000 worth of breakfast cereal for pennies on the dollar. Granted, he did donate the cereal to a food bank, but how likely is it that store will offer a similar deal in the future?

In my area, grocery stores and even some pharmacies, are wising up to the abuse. They are changing their coupon policies. At one grocery store chain where I live, they will still double coupons, but only on the first item. After that, they will only accept the face value of the coupon. Yes, they have indicated that the change in policy is due in large part to people employing the practices they have seen on "Extreme Couponing." Because of these gluttons, it is no longer possible for me to save as much money as I used to with coupons. No, I do not have a "stock pile."

Savvy Frugality, saving money, couponing....that's one thing. There is only one word for one person single-handedly clearing an entire shelf of underarm deodorant and paying for them with nothing more than a pile of clipped coupons: greed.

You might recognize the title of this post as the old motto of the Morton Salt Company. However, it can also be applied to people who are going through tough times, and the tough times only seem to keep coming.

I have detailed here how things were humming along for me quite nicely, as far as my finances were concerned. Then, my family was hit by temporary homelessness. OK, we weren't totally homeless. We did live in a hotel for four months, but the experience did wipe us out financially, despite having a savings account, money in stocks, and renters insurance.

After we moved into another home, we were hit with another family crisis: my son and his wife both lost their jobs. To help them out, my wife and I let them come and live with us temporarily. Unfortunately, they had to stay with us longer than originally planned. Now, not only was I recovering from my own crisis, but I was essentially supporting two households. I only earn so much money at my job, and things reached a breaking point.

So now I am in a unique position for a personal finance blogger. I not only get to write about how to manage money when things are going well, but I get to share with you how to recover when things downright suck.

During my previous post, I promised to keep you updated on our progress. Recently , I earned another raise at my job, and this will help a little. My wife is now completely on board with our need to move to a less expensive rental property, and since our lease is up in a couple of months we have given our notice to our landlord and are now actively searching for a new place to live. Currently, our rent is $1,200 per month. We are now searching for a place that is no more than $750 per month.

We are also looking for other areas to cut our expenses as well. We have been with the same insurer for auto and renters insurance for about five years now. After doing some checking around online, we found another company that will give us the same coverage for about $30 less per month. That doesn't sound like a lot, but over the course of the year we'll save $360 per year. That is money that is going right into our savings account to rebuild our emergency fund, along with other savings we'll realize after we move, plus the amount of my recent pay raise.

When you face a "when it rains it pours" moment, it is easy to wallow in your own misery. Don't. Worrying never solved anything. The best thing to do is come up with a game plan and find a solution to your problems. My family has been in a tight spot before. We'll make it through this one, too.

As I mentioned in a previous post, a flood led to my family and I becoming homeless last summer. OK, we weren't living on the street and begging for food. We were living in a hotel and depending upon my renters insurance to cover room, board and food. But, eventually that coverage ran out, and the house we were living in was still under construction. I had to cash in $5,000 in retirement savings and pay security, pet deposit and first and last month's rent to move into another home.

On top of this, my wife, who is not as thrifty as me, managed to overdraw my checking account by several hundred dollars. I had to cash in my stocks to pay off the debt. This now left me with no retirement fund, no emergency savings and no savings account to speak of. I, the guy writing the Savvy Frugality blog, am now back at square one. The worst part is there is little I could have done to avoid this situation, other than having more money socked away for myself.

Sometimes you will be faced with a situation over which you have very little control. The victims of the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Japan are certainly in that type of situation. Even if they were fully insured, had lots of savings, etc., the survivors are in a situation where they are just trying to find basic needs like food, water and shelter. With that in mind, here are a few pieces of advice I have for you:

1. Have a disaster recover plan. This was my main mistake. If something catastrophic happens and you lose your home, what is your Plan B? Where will you go, and where will you live? Think about this now. Waiting until the worst happens is too late.

2. Save until it hurts. I was saving, but not enough, it turns out. I thought I had that aspect of my life covered, but you can really never have too much in savings, unless you aren't meeting your basic bills and needs. If that is happening, you might need to dial back your saving.

3. Get your whole family on board. If you are the only on living a life of Savvy Frugality and the rest of your family isn't, your plan for saving, investing and living isn't going to work to its full potential.

Although I am in a position of starting over, I look at it as a positive thing. I now have an opportunity to rebuild and make my financial situation stronger than it was before. The next time I face a disaster such as losing my home, I will be prepared. Here is my recovery plan.

1. Emergency savings. Just like Dave Ramsey says, you have to have something socked away for emergencies. I am going to build an emergency savings account of $1,000.

2. I am going to get my wife on board with the need to save and live below our means. That means I will be getting her a copy of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I would just have her read this blog, but she won't take my advice to heart. What can I say? She is my wife and believes I don't know things. (OK, that's a joke, but contains a nugget of truth).

3. Come October, when our lease is up, I will be getting a cheaper place to live. Right now my rent is $1,200 per month. My plan is to find a place that is close to half that amount.

4. We will cut our expenses so we are living off 3/4 of what I earn. The other 25 percent will go to retiring debt, including my student loan and car payment. After we are debt-free, that money will get dumped into our long-term savings and retirement.

5. I will buy a home. I plan on getting a duplex, living in one half, and renting out the other half. The rent will cover the monthly mortgage payment for the whole building, allowing us to live rent-free.

That's the plan. I'll keep you up to date on our progress.

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