Cheapskate Musings


Dearest husband of mine,

I am a hypocrite.

You have wanted to use family resources for work for years.  Whether it was time, or camera lenses, or incentives for people to come to your room for training, I grumbled that you were allowing the family to suffer without you while you donated time and resources to your job.  I have since spent several unpaid hours working, used your camera to take pictures that I used in 4 presentations and my webpage, and have spent money out of pocket to enhance my room and (often impatiently) create things to use in my office.  I have unabashedly used you as an accomplice as you have willingly created materials for me to use as teaching aids.

While I may be able to conjure up some reasons why it’s different and totally acceptable for me, I must concede that it is a double standard.  How do you ever put up with me?  I’m sorry that I have been a miser of both time and money, but I will afford you the grace that I have liberally and selfishly given myself.  <3

My son takes a sandwich to school almost every day.  He likes mayonnaise.  I don’t like modified food starch (nor do I like paying out the nose for a prepackaged condiment without the aforementioned gunk).  Being the recovering (former) vegetarian mom that I am, I packed sandwiches with mustard, fresh guacamole, or hummus.  We had the same conversation after each time.

Son: Mom, I really like the lunches that you send me.  I just want to tell you that you’re super awesome.  You’re the best mom ever!  I really appreciate that you take the time to send me lunch.  You’re so thoughtful.

Me: I’m glad, buddy.  Did you eat it all?

Son: Um, I ate the strawberries…and the celery…and the oat cookies…and most of my sandwich.  I took off the slice of bread that had the hummus on it.  I scraped the hummus off my cheese and meat and ate it open on the other slice.  It was just fine like that.  No complaints here.  You’re amazing, Mom!

Now, that’s a kid who I want to please.  Had he whined or threw it away (in order to buy a school lunch containing slime that the kids think is cheese), I would be inclined to mandate, “I am your mother!  You WILL eat this plant!”  But he was nice about it, not only to be respectful, but also not to hurt my feelings.  I want to give that kid the world.  Maybe I should start with mayo.

I read about how to make mayo from scratch.  I found that the ingredients are things that I always have on hand.  It seems to me that people don’t make it because the science is too easy to mess up.  However, if one does the steps in the right order, science is happy and mama is happy too.  Here’s what I found to be effective.

Step 1) Set three eggs on the counter, run a load of laundry, and go take the kids to preschool.  Wait…that’s me again.  Leave them on the counter and come back to make mayo when they’re room temperature.

Step 2) Prepare ingredients.

  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tsp of acid (The acid could be lemon juice or white vinegar.  My son likes lemon, but I like vinegar because the flavor of the mayo more closely resembles the mayo in a jar.  My son accurately based his preference on taste and not mimicking what other people have decided is normal.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (or more) of oil (whatever oil is in the pantry will probably work.  I’m trying to reduce soy intake in our family, so safflower, sunflower, olive, and sometimes corn)
  • Other desired spices

Step 3) Put the egg, yolks, acid, and salt into a blender.  Blend on high for about 30 seconds.  The egg yolks hold the mayo together.  Mayo is acid and oil.  Without the egg yolk base, acid and oil can’t be friends.  Think of how oil and vinegar dressing separates.  Egg yolk allows them to blend together.

Step 4) Keep the blender running.  Drizzle (do not dump) a cup of oil into the churning egg 

and oil mixture.  Dumping overwhelms it.  Then, yellow yolks, yellow lemon juice, and yellow oil fluff into a WHITE, creamy mayo.  Cool, huh?  Some use more oil here.  Taste it and make sure it’s salted/spiced as desired.  Let it churn for a minute or so, helping the tornado of mayo move if needed in order to get all of the oil blended.

Step 5) I highly suggest putting it in a ketchup bottle (either one that is for picnics or an empty one).  Speed up the school lunch packing process.  Refrigerate.

Step 6) Go make an egg white omelet…or a homemade face mask.  You have at least two egg whites that need not to go to waste, especially free range!  Crush up the egg shells for the garden while you’re at it.  :)

I have an awesome kid (three awesome kids, but one with a particular affinity for mayo).  I’m going to relish    the times when he still believes that my supermom cape is an apron.

When I was pregnant with my third child, one of my coworkers commented that I really relish the mommy role, noting that I had been pregnant with somebody or another for half of the time that I had worked with him.  I also sometimes wore my “Epidural?! SCHMEPIDURAL!!”  t-shirt to work.  (I was pregnant and it fit me.  Fitting was the main requirement for clothing then.)  I assured him that, no, I didn’t particularly enjoy pregnancy, I was merely of childbearing age and having children fit my family.  The childbearing seemed to be my responsibility because my husband lacks a womb.

My coworker noted that I am obviously one of those women who genuinely enjoy being pregnant.  “Nope,” I responded, “if I could grow them in jars in a laboratory, I would find that to be preferable.”  Pregnancy seemed a little more pragmatic than the large jars or the other option of fearing pregnancy and childbirth too much ever to have children.

My brother-in-law noted recently that I am more of a girl than I let on.  For example, I readily discussed natural childbirth with our then pregnant friend.  Nope, it’s just a relevant topic and one where I have knowledge and experience to offer when it is asked of me.

When one of my daughters was hospitalized as an infant and I contested that formula was not the solution because it was not reasonable and it would not fix her, but mask a symptom.  We needed to focus on finding the root of her problem, I was told, “Well, you’re just one of those super-natural mamas.”  I just think that I should feed my infant something that is really food (breastmilk) for the same reasons that I use whole wheat flour instead of Bisquik (aka internal glue) when they’re approximately the same cost.  Our bodies function better when they are fueled properly.  It’s again about pragmatism.

My father-in-law has a graduate degree in agriculture.  He planted a backyard garden for us.  I haven’t done any work in it, but I get to go to my back yard to get side dishes.  He ups my crunchy credit when he’s the one who should be receiving the credit.  My zucchini is delicious and free…and easily accessible!

Now, these are all reasons that I have been called “crunchy” or “natural.”  I’ve even received the snide, judgmental, “Well, aren’t you just trying to win a medal, aren’t you now?”  But really, do not give me credit where credit is not warranted.  I am much too selfish to do these things to create a super-pristine environment for my family.  I’m much too apathetic to care about the opinions of other moms.  Let us replace descriptions like “crunchy” and “natural” with “pragmatic” and “reasonable.”

Natural childbirth.  Yes, I know that hospitals are where they keep the drugs, but it’s also where they keep the knives.  I don’t like to be cut especially when it’s entirely unnecessary.  I have been told 4 different reasons in 3 pregnancies why I needed to have a c-section.  I’m not in the mood to argue about everyone’s experience and hear about why her OB was right that that c-section was the only way, but it was obviously incorrect on 4 bad calls and 3 homebirths later.  I heard, “Well, aren’t you (snear) brave!”  Nope.  Just want to get it get it over with faster.  Don’t slice my abs or my hoohah.  Don’t paralyze and inhibit my body’s ability to birth gently.  Hospitals give people more injuries from which to recover.  When I’ve just had a baby, I don’t want to have to do any unnecessary healing.  No, thank you.  I have plenty to do without interventions adding extras.  Hospital birth as a whole process is just not as efficient as it’s cracked up to be.

Breastfeeding.  Yes, it’s appropriate food for a human and it’s created by a brilliant God, but, people, it’s FREE.  I repeat, FREE!   Furthermore, it’s really easy to administer meds (or herbs as the case may be) to a baby when my work is take the herbs myself, wait an hour, and feed the baby.  While it was not easy for the first two months, it was AMAZINGLY worth it.  Free.

Furthermore, the fact that my children are children makes it very hard to sit down and pay attention to them when they have so little to add to the conversation.  I breastfed them until they were very conversational (1 ½ years).  Breastfeeding was not something that I did because I already felt this mommying desire of sitting and bonding with the baby; it’s what I painstakingly chose to do to CREATE any mommy mojo that I could find.  Now, my children are pretty hilarious people and I love having one-on-one time with each one…and no one has to chew on me.

I was infuriated when I was told that I was breastfeeding because I enjoyed it so much.  Are you bleeping kidding me?  I ENJOY the process of teaching someone with limited communication skills not to bite me?  I ENJOY not getting to do an occupation that I love because I’m too busy feeding someone every 2-3 hours?  I ENJOY being sent to the proverbial corner because someone might suddenly become aware that I possess such appendages?  I ENJOY having sensitive skin cracked open and bleeding?  I once had someone tell me that I was nursing for more than 3 months because it felt good.  What?!  I don’t even know what to do with that.  It hurt.  That was just rude.  Nope.  I nursed the kids because I thought that if I actively chose to do my part in his or her creation, I owe it to him or her to provide proper nutrition for as long as I am responsible for nourishing the child.  Okay, and it’s free.

Couponing.  I really have no idea why this is ever categorized as super-mom material instead of just pragmatic plain and simple.  They let you have stuff for cheaper.  It’s pretty awesome.  Just don’t get free stuff that isn’t food but is masquerading as food.  That doesn’t nourish and is no longer pragmatic.

Herbs.  They work.  Prescriptions have lots of elements that I don’t find to be pragmatic. 1) I have to go to an MD and pay a lot of money to get them.  2) Then, I have to pay for the expensive prescription.  3) The prescription probably won’t work–at least that has been my repeated experience.  4) There are often yucky side effects.

I have a different idea.  Dr. Google is free.  Herbs are significantly cheaper than MD+Rx.  Then, people get well.  Be well is very pragmatic.

Backyard Garden.  I haven’t put work into it.  My father-in-law and husband have worked in it while I was at work.  I just harvest lettuce, zucchini and potatoes.  Maybe I wouldn’t think that it is so pragmatic if I had been the one putting in the elbow grease, but the backyard is more easily accessible than the grocery store.

Cooking at Home.  I deviated last week.  I told my husband that I didn’t want to bother packing a lunch for a family of 5 for an outing.  I should not have told him that.  He was even willing to pack food for me.  He stopped at McD’s.  It took forever.  It was $14 going the “cheap” route.  In the end, it took too long, we overspent, and we felt like we had eaten garbage.  Lesson learned…again.  Home is more pragmatic.  Hubs was right.  There’s produce ready for the next outing as I write.  We can pack what is delicious, easy, inexpensive, and makes our bodies feel well to play all day.

No TV.  This one makes me such a “tough mom.”  “What?!  You don’t have a TV??  That’s inhumane!”  Our antenna gets no reception.  The cable company (the only one in the area) wants to charge us an extra $50/month to watch what comes on hulu for free.  Furthermore, if our kids had anymore venues for media, I’m pretty sure they’d become zombies.  It’s cheaper.

Making Laundry Detergent.  This one is kind of a fad.  I keep the stuff on hand to make it when I run out.  It’s not very pragmatic to run out of detergent with this many mess makers in the house.  It’s cheap and functional.

Making Face Scrub. If I can be diligent about making it once a month, my face appreciates the homemade scrub better than anything store bought.  Pragmatism.

My 5 year old is often in mismatched clothing.  I usually don’t care if my 5 year old is wearing mismatched clothes because she deliberately designed that ensemble.  She dressed herself in clean clothes.  Done.   Some say that I’m a “free spirit” for allowing it; others say that she’s “being raised by wolves.”   I’ll let my apathy soak up the being raised by wolves part so that she can be the free spirit.  There’s something about her free spirit that I think needs to be nurtured.  It’s a part of her that can become the most beautiful.  She’s weird and different kind of weird than I am.  Whatever.  Maybe she’ll grow up with the apathy that becomes so pragmatic.

Don’t eat stuff that’s not food.  High fructose corn syrup and modified food starch are bad.  I sound crazy when I’m in the grocery store with my kids and I REPEATEDLY respond to their questions of why we don’t buy what other families buy with, “Because it’s not…” and the prompted kid responds, “healthy.”  “Right.  It’s not really food.  If you want to eat stuff like that, go somewhere else because you won’t find it at home.”  There’s a lot of unhealthy garbage that they have access to everywhere else (like the pseudo cheese slime that I saw one of my kid’s classmates eating in a school lunch.  Ew.).  I lack the ability to monitor all of that.  So, I’m not going to introduce that stuff into their normal eating hub too.  “If you want to kill your insides, you’re going to have to do it not on my watch.  If you have health problems when you’re an adult you won’t be able to blame me.  Now, have some hummus with cucumber and carrots.  I’ll make you almond milk/avocado chocolate pudding when you’re done (all delicious, by the way).”  Not crunchy.   If Type II Diabetes comes from my genetic line, it would not be pragmatic not to give them the habits and tools not to develop it later.  That’s a life goal, by the way—don’t get all of the nasty diseases that come from lifelong unhealthy eating habits.  All the bad ones in my family seem to be controllable by diet/weight.  Sick doesn’t seem pragmatic.

Therefore, doing what is “crunchy” has nothing to do with winning proverbial medals from other moms; it has to do with reevaluating choices and putting more stock in the best option over what is commonly done.  Again, I am much too apathetic to be concerned winning medals.

My friend from afar gave me a recipe for an all-natural homemade face scrub. She said it was good stuff.  She wasn’t kidding! This stuff is fantastic and easy! I’m posting it here so that I don’t have to hunt through old statuses to find it anymore.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 TBS raw honey
  • 4 TBS EVOO
  • 24 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 16 oz box of baking soda

 

Mix the wet ingredients.  I warmed the water a little for easy mixing. 

 

 

 

 

 

Stir in the baking soda.

 

 

 

 

 

Viola!  Shake before each use.

I admit it.  I’m a couponing hypocrite.  I’ve even discipled others in couponing during my coupon hypocrisy.  My couponing disciple is doing well, by the way.

I even went to three stores on grocery day without using a single coupon.  In my defense, two of them don’t take coupons and the Big Box store excursion was merely to buy fabric.  As I lamented my day sans coupons to my husband he reminded me that I should cheer up because we were en route to his birthday outing and I had a coupon that gave us 29% off.

There are reasons for my hypocrisy.  For example, I will euphemistically say that I’m simplifying when we all know that that’s code for not putting in the effort.  I’ll go back to the simplification thing.  I, according to my family, am a Type-A personality, meaning that I am more than willing to heap stress upon myself.  The stress has detrimental effects.  So, I can say that I’m making a decision in favor of my health and my family’s safety.

I’m also trying a few experiments that don’t necessarily lend themselves to couponing.  I’m considering the possibility of working more when Kid #2 goes to preschool in the fall.  I’ll have one kid entering preschool in the fall and another entering preschool in the subsequent fall.  Okay, maybe “considering” is the wrong word.  Maybe “hoping” is a better word.  Anyway, I’m putting my efforts into practicing what I want to make at home and what things I want to buy preferably with coupons.   I’ve restructured my frugality.

This restructuring is coupled with a push for healthier choices.  My son went from homeschooling to going to school this last school year.  He doesn’t have access to a microwave at school, so his school lunches are limited to sandwiches and the like.  Instead of discovering what lunchmeat I can get for nearly free, I decided to feed him healthier lunchmeat due to the large volume that he was consuming.  So, instead of hunting for the best deal of lunchmeat per weight, I bought a couple of packs of coupons (technically, I bought someone’s time to assemble the packs because coupons can’t be sold) of the brand that I am willing to feed my child many consecutive days.

There are some things that I don’t think I willing to make from scratch often enough not to have to use coupons.   Bread— while I feel better about making it from scratch I can buy an almost as good quality for a dollar a loaf when they clearance it.  I just have to make a monthly trip to get enough to fill my freezer.  Yogurt— while yogurt is ridiculously easy to make, I am not spending enough consecutive hours at home to babysit the yogurt-making process.  I could plan it correctly.  The only problem is that I would have to plan my yogurt babysitting time around my test grading time slot in order to have it done in time for my weekly housewife day.  So, I may make it from scratch again, but I think I might buy more packets (I mean “time”) of coupons for organic yogurt (because I’m not willing to feed my people the modified food starch).  It’s not that I won’t ever do these things, but I’ve decided that I can’t count on having the time to do it regularly.

There are other things that I have found are way too easy/cheap to make to buy and bother with coupons.  Laundry detergent—there are not enough coupons in the world to make me want to choose dye and perfume laden detergents.  No longer will I find phantom blue spots on my toddlers’ shirts.  I have, however, started making powdered detergent instead of the clumpy liquid.  That process needs a little perfecting.  Granola bars—they’re so easy and they freeze so well (That last part sounds a little odd, right?  I’m just afraid that they’ll get lost in the pantry.  They don’t really have to be frozen)!  No more garbage-on-the-go in this family.  Face scrub – by far, the homemade one is better than store bought (though my husband contests that it doesn’t smell as pretty).

So, as I bewail my lack of couponing awesomeness (it’s been a while since I have saved 67% at the grocery store or 89% at the drug store) and my lack of Martha Stewart-esque DIYness (and my spell check is going crazy), I can claim Thomas Edison’s logic (not failing, but finding ten-thousand ways that don’t work) in finding my mom mojo.  I don’t intend to stay a couponing hypocrite or a slow baker.  I intend to figure out how best to streamline that mom mojo so that I can work at super-efficiency if I start a new life chapter.

I will determine what is worth my time and what tradeoffs are not as valuable.  I will determine what things must be scheduled rigidly and what can be put off when I have to choose between doing for the kids and doing with the kids.  I kind of feel like I’m in mom college, learning best methods.  I know that I’ll have to give up plenty with a life change, but in the mean time, I can make a list of what I’m willing to give up first.  When I come to a place where I have to give something up, my Type-A personality won’t have to struggle and kick and scream and stress.  I can just say, “I’ve already mourned the loss of not doing all of the mom stuff.  Here, I’ve enumerated a list.  Free up time by eliminating items from the bottom up.”

The short version: where can I find washing soda?

The long version: More than three years ago, my friend, Hannah taught me how to coupon.  Initially, it was a solution to a very large problem.  Then, it became a game.  For a while, it became a little bit of an obsession.

In August of 2009, I bought a boatload of dishwasher detergent (I use the term loosely, because I came out $4.11 in my favor to take it).  Then in February of 2010, I got twenty+ bottles of laundry detergent for next to nothing.  I bought dishwasher detergent in September (2011) and laundry detergent in October.  I’ve decided I don’t like this “paying” for things that I’ve enjoyed for free for so long.  Now, I did use coupons, but I didn’t get them for nearly free.

The stockpile of free items has another benefit that I miss—the convenience of not having to go to the store to finish household chores.  “We’re out? No we’re not.  Go get some more out of the storage drawer under the dryer.”

Being a little dramatic, I claim that each time I come back from the store, I am done.  I am done; everything that my family will use for the next week has been purchased.  I have completed the whole shopping event and I AM DONE.  I have accomplished my goals.  ALL HAIL MOM who has returned from the trenches of retail.  Now, I can spend my week focusing on cleaning, working, and paying attention to the toddlers so that they don’t rip the house apart.  I might even sit down with a cup of coffee.

That’s my fantasy, by the way.  I always envision sitting down with a mug and a computer and writing or practicing calculus or trig problems—the way that other people do crossword puzzles.  But my toddlers wake up and stop the fantasy—as they have done twice during the course of writing this paragraph.

But within minutes of coming home, my husband will sweetly say, “You know what I should have asked you to get at the store?…” or I’ll see the one thing that I overlooked on my list.  And a little piece of my morale dies because the end of my to-do list is that much farther out of reach.  I have only found the very end of the to-do list a couple of times in the last decade, but I always really, really believe I will reach it.  When it becomes farther out of my reach, I can hear the really whacked out version of me inside my head weeping.

So, having to GO to the store and BUY things that I have grown accustomed to having at home in my free stuff stockpile makes me feel like I’m hemorrhaging both time and money.

Having now purchased 3 bottles of laundry detergent and 4 packs of dishwasher detergent (yes, we have a LOT of dishes and laundry in this house), I’m debating making these things at home.  I’ve heard of people doing this.  It makes sense.  Making laundry detergent wouldn’t really extend too far out of my realm. I’ve used baking soda for cleaning for 15 years.  I’ve made use of borax in the last year or so.  I apparently need washing soda—which is different from baking soda.  I can’t find it at Target and the space for it at Wal-mart (which also makes me weep a little inside) is empty.  So, before I put any more effort into it, dear internet, where have you successfully found washing soda?

I have a list of things that I am out of and plan on learning to make at home (this week, my homemade goal is yogurt—which is a lofty goal during finals week). While there are many things that I would be willing to make at home (detergents, yogurt, bread, curtains, purses, any cleaners where the homemade version would introduce fewer toxins into my home), there are many things that I cannot imagine making at home–like mascara.  I was out of mascara this week and I bought more with coupons because I don’t have access to bats and can’t fathom making it at home.

Since I’m still going to coupon for things like mascara, shampoo, foaming soap (my homemade version didn’t work out very well), I question the decision to try to make things at home.  So, dear internet, what things have you successfully made at home where the conventional American home would have just gone to the store?

I have a confession.  While I am the one in my marriage who insists on paying homage to Thanksgiving before decking the halls, I love that stores bring out the Christmas stuff on Nov 1.  It’s a double standard.  I know.

My husband is a kid at heart.  He pushes me every year to decorate a Christmas tree earlier and earlier.  When we had been married for 5 years, he said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had the tree up by Columbus Day?  That would really freak out the Trick-or-Treaters!”  So, as chief homemaker of this household, I firmly respond that we must give our proper thanks on the fourth Thursday of November before we wear jingle bells as accessories.  Yes, in being his balancing force, I am the household Grinch.

However…

I love what commercialism has done to our stores.  I can’t imagine that it is economically advantageous to have Christmas displays for sale nearly two months before the holiday, but, my goodness, it’s pretty!  My home décor is still autumnal and we are anxiously awaiting Thanksgiving (and Autumnal Pi Day and Veteran’s Day), but I love that all of the stores are so holly jolly!  Loud speakers are chiming, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  The orange and gold hues with a background of chestnut have already been replaced with metallic reds on pristine whites.

Who’s buying this stuff??  Certainly, someone is.  The almighty dollar has spoken.  The stores wouldn’t keep on doing this if there weren’t bunch of suckers buying all of this.  They’re not selling it to me.   I buy it at 95% off after the previous year’s season.

Let me just go on record saying that I love that there must be people with more money than sense.  I love that commercialism has made us spend a sixth of the year getting ready for the one day.  I love that I can get my Starbucks coffee in the snowflake cup with “holiday flavors” while going to Target to use my giant stack of coupons.  I love that walking past the four aisles of 75% off Halloween clearance (what’s with that, Target?  Gimme 95% off!) reveals the enchanting Christmas hardware.

Because SOMEONE must be spending a lot of money on things that are not really important, our culture spends two months on encouraging a spirit of peace, joy and kindness.  We spend two months celebrating the incarnation of the One who gave the ultimate gift and identifying a role model who personified kindness.  I’m not going to buy into this commercialism, but I LOVE the results of it.  While in my home, I will bah-humbug Christmas until my turkey leftovers are securely in the fridge, but I will squeal with delight for the public merriment!

My husband suggests about half of the blog posts that I write.  This is no different.  I told him last night that I was in the checkout with our three adorable, ahem, children.  AFTER the sale was complete, the cashier returned four coupons that she chose not to scan.  She said, “These aren’t right.  We don’t even sell that item.”  I took it upon myself to inform her that, yes, the store does sell that product.  In fact, I plucked those coupons from the dispenser in the store.  I added that I would have appreciated the courtesy of informing me before charging me so that I would have the opportunity to contend or choose not to purchase the item(s) in question.

Upon what I intended to be the completion of my recollection, my husband asked, “Why didn’t you take it to customer service?” (I still may.)  I said that the baby was whining/crying because she needed a nap.  The toddler (who had taken a bite out of one of the returned coupons, but that’s another issue entirely) was throwing a temper tantrum because I moved the cart where she couldn’t grab the register and shake the cart and all of its contents (including the sleepy baby).  Also, I overheard the kindergartener ask a stranger why she only had one leg.  I was a little preoccupied.

My husband was laughing because our children where such a disruption that they were almost a cliché.  Through his chuckles, he asked, “What did you do?  Did you go to customer service then?”  He knows me well.  I said, “No, I left.  The movement calmed the baby.  There were no more registers to grab.  I had a chance to explain to our son that we don’t risk hurting people’s feelings by asking them why they are different, no matter how kind and accommodating they are.”  He responded, “At least she didn’t mind.”

I find it to be an amusing feature of parenthood that the more mouths there are to feed, the more grocery shopping is required.  Thus, there are more people to hinder the laborious grocery shopping process.  Oh, well.  Pardon me while I block out this memory (or at least alter it) so that I can recollect how pleasant these times are and say to my children, “I remember how inquisitive and thoughtful you all were when you were little.”

After teaching my classes last night, I made a rare stop by Walgreens.  The cashier obviousl did not understand the purpose of coupons.  They had a buy one get one free sale and I had a buy one get one free coupon.  Used together should make both free.
So I had to explain the diffrence between a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon.  Then, the when we got to the BOGO issue, she said, “But you wouldn’t have to pay anything for it.  So you can’t use it.”  I said that yes I can.  The deal I’m making with the manufacturer is not contingent on the deal I’m making with the store.  She called a manager who called out to accept the coupon at face value before he made it to the front.  She STILL argued, “But she won’t have to pay anything for it!”  He quieted her by saying, “this one time.”
I am very proud of myself for not yelling at her, “THAT’S THE POINT OF COUPONS!  THE ‘NOT PAYING’ IS THE WHOLE REASON FOR ME DOING THIS!”  But I didn’t yell.
Even after the manager left, she grumbled, “but you’re getting stuff for free.”  Being mindful of the line behind me, I redused the earfull that I gave her to be completed by the end of the transaction.  I said, “I have no problem leaving the entire order of $16.88 (a record high for me) on the table and retrieving my coupons and going somewhere that has no problem granting me the deal.”  She snarked, “Yeah, well, he said, ‘this one time’.”  I relpied, “He ALWAYS says, ‘this one time’.  If he ever stops saying, ‘this one time’ then I’ll go somewhere else.”  With a righteorous indignnce, she said, “well, the store is losing money because of it.”  I calmly replied, “No it isn’t.  The manufacturer will reimburse the store.”  She nodded to affirm.  The transaction was complete.
Now, in a different media, I say FURTHERMORE, the manufactuerer GLADLY entices me with a coupon in hopes that I will become addicted to their product and the store GLADLY entices me with the sale to get me to spend $16.88 and use $10.34 in manufacturer coupons that they can redeem.  Why do some cashiers have a personal problem with me getting a good deal?
So, I ask cashiers everywhere, WHAT’S IT TO YOU?   Your store is making money, the maufacturers are getting their products into homes, and I’m taking care of my family.  My savings are not coming out of your paycheck.  You’re getting paid by the hour, not by commission.

After teaching my classes last night, I made a rare stop by Walgreens.  The cashier obviously did not understand the purpose of coupons.  They had a buy one get one free sale and I had a buy one get one free coupon.  Used together should make both items free.

I had to explain the difference between a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon.  Then, when we got to the BOGO issue, she said, “But you wouldn’t have to pay anything for it.  So you can’t use this coupon.”  I said that yes I can.  The deal I’m making with the manufacturer is not contingent on the deal I’m making with the store.  She called a manager who called out to accept the coupon at face value before he made it to the front.  She STILL argued, “But she won’t have to pay anything for it!”  He quieted her by saying, “this one time.”

I am very proud of myself for not yelling at her, “THAT’S THE POINT OF COUPONS!  THE ‘NOT PAYING’ IS THE WHOLE REASON FOR DOING THIS!”  But I didn’t yell.

Even after the manager left, she grumbled, “but you’re getting stuff for free.”  Being mindful of the line behind me, I reduced the earfull that I gave her to be completed by the end of the transaction.  I said, “I have no problem leaving the entire order of $16.88 (a record high for me) on the table and retrieving my coupons and going somewhere that has no problem granting me the deal.”  She snarked, “Yeah, well, he said, ‘this one time’.”  I relpied, “He ALWAYS says, ‘this one time’.  If he ever stops saying, ‘this one time’ then I’ll go somewhere else.”  With a righteous  indignation, she said, “well, the store is losing money because of it.”  I calmly replied, “No it isn’t.  The manufacturer will reimburse the store.”  She nodded to affirm.  The transaction was complete.

Now, in a different media, I say FURTHERMORE, the manufacturer GLADLY entices me with a coupon in hopes that I will become addicted to their product and the store GLADLY entices me with the sale to get me to spend $16.88 and use $10.34 in manufacturer coupons that they can redeem.  Why do some cashiers have a personal problem with me getting a good deal?

So, I ask cashiers everywhere, WHAT’S IT TO YOU?   Your store is making money, the manufacturers are getting their products into homes, and I’m taking care of my family.  My savings are not coming out of your paycheck.  You’re getting paid by the hour, not by commission.

“Courtney, you have a master’s degree.  Wouldn’t it be better for your family if you got a full-time job?”  No, not really.  I am more valuable (monetarily and otherwise) to my family when my primary job is homemaker.

Arithmetic (and a tiny bit of algebra) to follow…

Daycare Rates:

Infant for a week: $155

Toddler for a week: $145

After school for a kindergartner:  $62

Formula for that infant would be about $40 a week.  Human milk is free, so formula for anyone else to be her care provider would create an additional cost.

$402/wk so far.  Then, using this daycare 48 weeks out of the year would cost $19,296 for the year.  That would come from net earnings.  Daycare would cost me $23,136.69 in gross earnings.

I probably wouldn’t work as a part time employee either (as an adjunct or as a lab instructor).  That’s approximately $11,500 that I wouldn’t make. (Frankly, I call being an adjunct math professor a time consuming hobby instead of a job.  My kindergartener can’t derive the quadratic formula yet.  So, I spend six hours a week with people to whom it is academically relevant.)

With my obsession with coupons, I can buy groceries for about $60/wk (by groceries, I’m including personal care like shampoo, diapers for 2 babies, etc.).  I’ve been getting approximately 75% off overall.  That other 75% is $180 that I’m saving each week.  $180 for 52 weeks is $9360/yr.  This is $11,223.02 from gross earnings.

So, the way I see it, I make the equivalent of almost $46,000/yr because I don’t have a full-time job.  However this way, I can pack my husband lunches that I either got for free or made from scratch.  My son’s kindergarten teachers have master’s degrees.

I’m not saying that I would never take a full-time job.  I’d have to become significantly less necessary at home and it would have to have an awesome base pay to be worth my time!

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