Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Self Revelation

So I’ve had a revelation. Many people have been trying to tell me this for many years and I have just been too stubborn to listen – but I have had a self revelation and I finally see myself as I really am: I AM CHEAP! I know. It’s taboo – it’s tacky to be cheap, but I am. I love saving money. I hate paying full price for anything. I stray away from cutesy boutiques because everything is overpriced. Give me a Wal-Mart and I’m happy. Give me coupons at Wal-Mart and I’m in heaven.

Steven complains often about my obsession with finding the best deal. I cannot tell you how many times he has said, “My mother never used Great Value ketchup. Heinz only Amber!” or “Seriously, this $1 shampoo is making my scalp burn!” or “Please buy real Q-tips. These stupid plastic things keep bending in my ears!” My favorite is, “I cannot make decent spaghetti sauce with these crappy Wal-Mart tomatoes! (Amazing how I make great chilli with crappy Wal-Mart tomatoes.) Apparently I married a name brand snob (Kathy – how did this happen?!) So we have had to work on a few compromises in our house over this past year. I buy Heinz ketchup, Loreal shampoo, name brand Q-tips & Bertolli pasta sauce. Steven has learned how to eat Great Value brand for many staple items in our pantry.

In my defense, I come by it honest. I have cheap on both sides of my family. My mother is frugal. She can take $50 and buy more with it than any woman I have ever known. Her eyes light up when she sees a Wal-Mart. My Mema (dad’s mom) took the word “frugal” to a whole ‘nother level. Let’s call a spade a spade – she was cheap! In her defense, she was a product of the depression. She learned how to survive on very little and lived very meagerly. She always lived by the motto that just because you had lots of money to spend, didn’t mean that you had to spend a lot of money. Mema’s store of choice was K-Mart. If K-Mart didn’t have it, she didn’t need it.

So my whole life I have been taught that saving money is a good thing. I truly believe it is a good thing. Why would I pay $1 for an item at a pricy local grocery store when I can pay $.50 at Super Wal-Mart. (For the naysayers – the price difference is that great!) And if I have a $.25 coupon and can get the item for $.25, well that’s something to get excited about! I know that most people see “Coupon Women” in line at the grocery and think “Oh my goodness – how ridiculous. Just pay full price and stop holding up the line!” Not me! I think, “Good for you! You go girl – save that money! Stick it to the man. You’re too smart to pay full price!” I feel a kindred spirit with other women who are cheap and proud.

So that’s it. I’m cheap! As Steven recently called me, “My wife – the coupon queen” – that’s me! One day, when we have a nice bank account and can retire before the rest of our friends, he’ll thank me. Until then, he’ll just have to learn to live with off brand tomatoes.

**Just a side note before I make myself sound like a vagabond - every cheap person has their extravagance to splurge on. I don’t even want to know how much money mom has invested in scrapbooking materials. Granted, she probably bought most of it on sale – but I guarantee she has spent a lot. Mema had a jewelry collection that would rival any Southern belle. Of course she always said, “Oh Winford, you shouldn’t have!” every time she opened the shiny boxes. I haven’t quite figured out what my extravagance is just yet. I do love a fabulous designer bag. I also enjoy travel which is by far the most expensive hobby you can have. We’ll see which passion wins out over the next few years.

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