Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One Way She Makes My Life Better

One thing that makes a great marriage is when the spouses are frequently thinking about how to make the other's life better. Not in a controlling way, but in an assisting way.

In my bachelor days, I was generally careful with my money, but I had to keep my shopping time to a minimum. There was one supermarket with a pharmacy I'd frequent, a membership warehouse, and specialty chain grocer. That was the bulk of my shopping for groceries and most other things. I would sometimes use the coupons given with my receipt, but that was about the extent of my coupon shopping.

My wife is cheaper than me. She's very careful with money, and that is one of the reasons I married her. She's not bringing in any income directly; it is all through her support of my career (packing me lunch, washing my clothes, finding and wrapping gifts for my associates, etc.). However, as a good shopper she is stretching the dollars I earn in ways I wouldn't if I was a bachelor.

In recent months she has become extremely adept at stretching our dollars. She keeps track of deals, coupons, and incentive programs. She will spend several hours each week on those things, then shopping at various stores. There's little store loyalty or brand loyalty – she usually goes where she is going to get the lowest price on a given item (and she makes sure it rings up correctly at the register) or the greatest return (credits or dollars off for future purchases). She doesn't buy stuff we don’t need – this is all stuff we will use.

It is quite a tale when she returns and goes over the receipts, giddy and proud of her skills. She'll walk out of a store with several bags, spending under ten dollars or leaving with more dollars in credits for the next visit than she spent on the current visit. Reviewing the monthly credit card statement, I'll see charges for two bucks or less when I know she got out of that store with a bagful of items. It's all honest and by the rules, but if everyone did it, the stores or the manufacturers would go broke. The stores and manufacturers know that very few people will shop the way my wife does; they count on it.

When it comes to larger purchases, my wife researches them thoroughly.

It's great not having to do the shopping myself and knowing that we’re not spending any more than we need to.

That's an important way my wife makes my life better.

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