In case you haven’t noticed yet, this week has really opened my eyes to the alarming number of people in our community who are depending on government assistance. I’ve pointed out several things that I feel are fails in the system, but today I saw a positive that I would also like to highlight.
Lately, like many other families trying to save some cash, I’ve taken up couponing. While I’m not one of these stock-pile crazed, mass-purchasing, super moms that spend 50 cents on $1000 worth of food that their family could never consume in a reasonable time frame (read more about that here), I am learning a lot about sales, budgeting, and how to balance needs with savings. I spend about five hours a week preparing for a shopping trip, and then at least an hour on each trip arranging the best saving scenario for my buck.
While shopping today I met a lady with her children who introduced herself to me because she too was learning to coupon, and she noticed that I was doing the same. The family was really nice and we shared stories about how we began couponing, and traded secrets about how/when we find out best coupons and deals.
While it was great to meet her, the lasting impression was made when I happened to get behind her in the checkout line. When her bill was totaled, I noticed that she paid with an EBT food stamp card. I thought it was very savvy that the mom still put the effort in to couponing, even though she was spending money that she was given.
The lady lagged behind to check out my savings on my trip and met me in the parking lot to say that she was glad to meet me. I told her that I was proud of her, and she didn’t even ask why. I think she knew what I meant by that. I was telling her that I was proud that she wasn’t giving up; she was taking an unfortunate situation and making it the best she could. (But should people be allowed to buy soda with food stamps? Join the debate.)
I think it’s great that she takes the initiative to commit her efforts in to turning a supplement program in to a sole source of nutritional funding for her family. I’ve always heard the saying that people appreciate money more when they have to work hard to earn it themselves, but I think I witnessed an exception today.
Kudos to the government programs who help people like this lady, and kudos to her for being trying to be the best provider she can.
Read all of Emily’s posts so far.
Day 1: Shock And Devastation
Day 2: Frustration And Disbelief
Day 3: Cross Paths
Day 4: Working Class
Image Credit: clementine gallot on Flickr