After thirty years as a wife and mother, I now realize that bargains, coupons, sales and deals were a latent part of my personality from birth. When it came to spending money, I preferred having more cash on hand for the recreational side of life than tied up in the kitchen.
My sixth sense for deals didn’t appear, however, until I had been married for about a week. Up until then, shopping was merely the deposit of various food needs in a cart with little thought of cost. My new husband and I were on our first joint grocery shopping venture about five days after the wedding. We were strolling blissfully along, both of us chummily guiding that one shopping cart. As we turned the corner from canned goods, we saw a group of fellow shoppers crowded around some kind of display. Without a conscious decision on my part, I temporarily broke away from my newlywed bliss and joined the throng. After some pushing and shoving for a turn at the display, I triumphantly returned to my bemused spouse, two chickens in hand.
“Can you believe these birds were only 59 cents a pound?” I exclaimed. “Did you know what was on sale there?” my husband asked. “No, but I figured it must be something good if there were that many people interested,” I answered.
At that point, my novice husband realized that there had been a personality change in the relationship and it wasn’t his.
Over the years, more subtle changes occurred in our married life. Where once I would share the paper with my husband on a Sunday morning, I now ransacked it for coupons. Television after a hard day at work was ignored as I prepared elaborate lists of grocery needs and then tried to figure out how to pay less for it all. Quick trips to the store turned into scouting missions as I mentally kept track of who had the best price on items. We still shopped together but my husband had sole charge of the cart as I had to keep alert and on the watch for previously unannounced sales. Sneakers were a must and our conversations went from newlywed sweet nothings to “Quick! That’s the last one! Grab it!”
When the children came along, they could be a distraction from the business at hand every Saturday morning. My husband, somewhat regretfully I’m sure, opted to stay home with the children while I braved the bargain hunters set loose on the weekend.
Time mellows everything and working within a budget encourages creativity. We miss our solitary strolls through the market but enjoy the surprise meals and desserts my coupon and bargain hunting helps produce. Our only complaint is that happy repasts have added to our weight but I know, deep down in my heart, I am still a size seven hidden somewhere about my person. Besides, you need the extra muscle to get ahead of those people who think they can grab the last two for one item on sale this week.