An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | June 7, 2011

A little time can save a lot of money

By Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Brannon Deugan, Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Living paycheck to paycheck is stressful and many families continue to search for ways to stretch their limited funds. For some budget savvy shoppers, the art of couponing has become an easy way to stretch their food dollars and for one military family of eight here at Joint Base Charleston, couponing has dropped their monthly grocery budget by upwards of $1,100.00 per month.

Fay McFadden, an Air Force spouse and mother of six children, has learned and mastered the skill of couponing which has eased financial stress for her family. Now she shares her knowledge and life experiences to military members and their spouses by volunteering at the Fleet and Family Service Center at JB CHS-Weapons Station, facilitating the Couponing 101 and 102 courses.

"I'm an Air Force spouse however, I prefer to be called a military spouse because I am here to support all of our military families anyway I can," said Mrs. McFadden. "I know how hard it is to use what is available to get the things that my family needs and how to get the most out of what you have. I want to share with other spouses the way to utilize coupons in budgeting for their families."

When FFSC Financial Specialist Kim Brown heard about Mrs. McFadden, she immediately contacted her about offering a course on couponing that would share her success story while encouraging service members and their families to save money through couponing.

"It is important to have someone like Fay McFadden because other military spouses can relate to her," said Mrs. Brown. "I think she agreed to volunteer to teach the courses because she has a big passion for saving money, couponing and helping others.
About two-years ago, the McFadden family had reached the end of their ropes financially and began to look for ways to maintain their budget.

"We tried different things to reduce our debt and to maintain our monthly budget; however, none of those seemed to work for our family's situation," said Tech. Sgt. Jonell McFadden from the 437th Aerial Port Squadron. "Since my wife started couponing, she now comes home from grocery shopping and we still have money left in the bank. We are no longer financially exhausted like we were about two years ago."

"From the start, couponing has had a positive effect on our family," he continued. "While staying within our smaller monthly budget, we've been able to stockpile groceries and other household goods so we are less overwhelmed providing for our six children."
The McFadden's have successfully reduced their grocery budget from $1,400.00 per month to $300.00 per month; however, Mrs. McFadden rarely spends more than $230.00 a month.

"Since my wife learned how to effectively use coupons she has a personal mission of providing this knowledge to other military families, especially military spouses," said Sergeant McFadden. "She wants to spread the wealth because if our family with six children can save as much as we do, then a family with only two children should be able to save quite a bit also."

"I figure if I spend a couple of hours every month teaching military member and their spouses how to handle money without jeopardizing their budget then I'm empowering them to take control of what they have and hopefully help them get out of debt," said Mrs. McFadden. "I want all of our military families to understand they can get to a comfortable place financially where they have the funds to do fun stuff with their families just like my family of eight has been able to do."