A Teachable Moment - 06/06/13
Saving You Money isn't just a segment I do on TV. It's really the way my family lives. I remember as a little girl my parents saying, "Why pay full price if you don't have to?" The truth is, you don't! It's so much fun to score a deal, to wait for the mark downs, to strategize the sales. A few years ago when I started Stacy's Saving You Money segment, I interviewed some expert coupon mamas. They taught me everything I needed to know about coupon stacking, BOGO deals and sales cycles. I'll admit, I've fallen off the coupon wagon for a few weeks at a time here and there. After all, it's hard to work full time, raise two kids, be a wife, manage a home, do community service, take care of pets, garden, exercise, volunteer at school/church and find the time for all that scissor cutting and filing. For the most part though, we stick with the strategy.
This brings me to the teachable moment. The other night, we were going to go out to eat. This isn't something we do all that often. Before we left, my husband said, "Where's the Clipper magazine or the ValuPak or the coupon binder?" He wanted to see which coupons we had for which restaurants BEFORE we made a decision about where we were going to eat. My daughter wanted to go to Five Guys (which we love Five Guys,) however we did not have a coupon for Five Guys on this particular night. We did have a coupon for Culver's, another burger joint that was offering a BOGO on burgers and a BOGO on icecream. We'd basically pay half. My daughter made her case at which point we countered with the coupon argument. Then she says, "Why do we always have to have a coupon?" My husband and I both rushed to answer, "Because money doesn't grow on trees." "Because we want you to understand the value of a dollar." "Because if we spend less tonight, we'll have more for later." "Because we're the parents, we make the rules." And finally the question she couldn't answer and the one that hushed her.... "Why pay full price if you don't have to?"
Now I realize we may be old fashioned. We make our children fold towels and empty the dishwasher. They also help water the plants and take care of the pets (sort of.) In return, they earn $2 a week. Through this process, they have learned how precious those dollars are and how they can really add up. Yes, they get paid for their work, but they really get paid with the satisfaction of a job well done and the tangible contribution they make day in and day out. It would be a lot easier and less confrontational to do everything for them and to let them choose the restaurant regardless of coupons, but we would be doing them a disservice. This way, when they're ready to spread their wings and leave our cheap nest, they'll have real strategies that will last a life time and hopefully they'll never pay full price when they don't have to.