Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Mom - The Coupon Queen

Mother's Day this weekend has gotten me thinking about my original frugal inspiration, my mom. Long before frugal blogs, internet coupons, and "recessionistas," my mom clipped coupons, comparison-shopped, and gave me an example of responsible financial behavior that has greatly affected my life.

I was raised in a family of nine (yes, nine) children, the feeding and clothing of whom would stretch any budget. Every Sunday afternoon, my mom would be found perusing the sale circulars and clipping the coupons from the paper. We kids were strictly trained to never throw away a cereal or cracker box without checking it for coupons, a habit I retain to this day! In the days before Sam's Club came to our town, she would regularly fill two carts at our grocery store and hand a huge stack of coupons to the cashier. The manager would always have to come out with his key, as the register could never handle it.

My mom knows the cashiers' names at every grocery store, as well as the sales clerks at all her favorite clothing stores. Store employees have been known to alert her ahead of time about sales and to give her extra coupons. Once the manager of our Dominoes Pizza randomly gave her a huge stack of Buy One Get One Free coupons, just because he knew of her large pizza-eating family. My mom always chats with the clerks and is genuinely interested in them, an attitude that I truly came to appreciate when I worked as a cashier and a waitress during high school and college.

It was from my mom that I picked up the concepts of saving and budgeting. It never occurred to me that you would or could buy anything that you hadn't saved the money for. I clearly remember when my mom apprehensively decided to get a store credit card for her favorite department store. This particular card had 30-60-90 plan, where if you paid the balance by the third payment, you were not charged interest. She explained to me how she would only charge the amount that she knew she would be able to fully pay without accruing interest. I assumed that was the normal way to use credit cards, and I didn't even know that so many people carried a credit card balance. I guess I had a lot to learn!

We used to tease my mom all the time for being "cheap", and she would even chuckle at herself. We still joke about the time she tried to buy both of us lunch with the refund from a pack of diapers! However, I think we all always knew the value of what she did. These days, I am even more aware of how her money saving was such an important way that she provided for and took care of her family. Because she had saved money in other areas, she often had a little wiggle room in the budget for a treat or something that one of us really needed or wanted.

Because of my mom's example, it has been relatively easy for me to live on a budget as an adult, even when things have been a bit tight. I am so grateful to have had such a strong example of frugality to follow.

Thanks, Mom. I love you. Happy Mother's Day!


  1. Your mom sounds awesome! I bet she didn't realize how 'forward thinking' she was. She sure gave you a great gift in her example of frugality.
    I really only started being frugal a few years ago. My kids are pretty much grown, but I hope that they see how much I save with my couponing and stockpiling, and learn those lessons, too!
    Give your mom a hug from one frugal lady to another!

  2. That was a very nice post!

    My mom also taught me couponing before couponing was cool.

    My kids also call me cheap, even being teenagers they are also cheap! It's kind of a badge of honor! :)


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