I’ve become a stingy frugal freak show who is bargain-crazy. This is what happens when your household goes down from two salaries to one—especially if there is a new human being to feed, clothe, and send to school some day. And if said human being might need a lot of lessons to become a world-class violinist and a lot of one-on-one professional coaching to also earn a spot on the men’s US soccer team,* we need to save some serious scratch.
I feel guilty not having an income right now. But I also feel grateful to spend every day with my son while he is still a tiny nugget of cuteness who needs his mom. I’m so grateful, yet still so very guilty.
To squash the guilt a bit and feel like I’m contributing, I’ve made keeping costs down part of my new job as a parent. Each week I cut coupons, go through sale papers, and check online for deals on things we use. Yes, it takes a lot of time, but it’s all adding up to money saved for Tuco. At the end of each week, I add up all the little “Today You’ve Saved” totals from my receipts, and I put that money into a savings account for Tuco.
Here’s how a successful purchase might go for me:
Let’s say I need to buy a tub of butter and it costs $4.79. (I really should have made the item organic apples so I sound cooler than I am, but admit it, every household needs butter.) I have a $1.00 coupon from Target, plus a $1.00 manufacturer’s coupon. Plus the tub of butter is on sale a dollar cheaper than the regular price. I purchase this $4.79 item for $1.79. And what if I get to the store and the tub of butter has a bonus 25% more free butter? Then I am queen of the motherflippin’ world. Because of coupons, a sale, and bonus butter. Oh how things have changed.
Those three dollars will go into Tuco’s savings account for just this one item. Add that to the $6.00 I will save on diapers, plus the $5.99 I’m going to save on buy one get one free turkey meat and that’s $14.99 saved in one trip. Booyakasha!
I realize this kind of savings isn’t going to cover 4 years of college plus all those violin and soccer lessons**, but it will help a little. More than that though, it helps my psyche tremendously to know I am trying my best to save something for the little guy. Was it Oprah or G.I. Joe that said, “A mother with a content psyche is half the battle”? Whoever it was, it’s so true.
*just kidding, just kidding.
**no pressure, Tuco. I’m honestly kidding.