Secret Millionaire Diary: Day 5—When Life Gives You Lemons

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(Read more about our Secret Millionaire contest and catch up with Emily’s post from yesterday.)

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

  • Anonymous

    Best way to save is called collective buying!!! search online for “Printapons” every day a local business will be featured and prices will be discounted upto 90% off

  • Anonymous

    Best way to save is called collective buying!!! search online for “Printapons” every day a local business will be featured and prices will be discounted upto 90% off

  • kodemonki

    How can one save on actual food?  Every coupon flyer I flip through only contains coupons for processed food.  Sometimes you might see canned fruit (in syrup), but that’s a rarity.  I know actual food goes on sale, but are there ever coupons on things like beef?  Bananas?  Cauliflower?  I can’t even remember the last time I saw a coupon for cheese. 

  • kodemonki

    How can one save on actual food?  Every coupon flyer I flip through only contains coupons for processed food.  Sometimes you might see canned fruit (in syrup), but that’s a rarity.  I know actual food goes on sale, but are there ever coupons on things like beef?  Bananas?  Cauliflower?  I can’t even remember the last time I saw a coupon for cheese. 

  • Cristyscollectio

    I’m also a coupon clipping, sale hunting mom that depends on government assistance. My son is Glutent and Casin intollerant, which means I usually prepare two meals three times a day. I can’t afford to feed us all the GFCF diet…I wish I could. I use coupons, rewards programs, and combine both with current sales. I NEVER purchase diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, soaps, health and beauty necessities (ie deodorant, shampoo, shaving items), or paper products without a coupon AND a sale price. I look for buy one get one fifty% off deals, and use a coupon. I buy fruits and veggies that are in season, and we have a huge garden year round. Around summer holidays like July 4th & Memorial day grocery stores always have great sales on meats and many other food items so I’ll wait til those sales start and buy my meat for the entire month. Then if I do really good sometimes I may have some left over on my EBT Card when Im asked to help with a shower or a birthday rolls around, I won’t have to blow my budget for a last minute cake or fruit tray that I can use my EBT card to purchase. Just thought I’d share, I’ve been judged several times when in the checkout line and someone notices me buying items they don’t believe to be appropriate food stamp purchases when they have no idea how hard I’ve worked to save so my family can enjoy a special day together

  • http://www.facebook.com/MamaNavyBrat Virginia Haines

    The judgement received for needing government assistance is staggering. My Dr. believes I should still be at home for a while longer to finish ironing out meds. I have fibromyalgia which is why I haven’t worked for a year and a half. However I lived off my child support alone (while they still counted me as working full time) until my children’s father went to prison. I did everything possible to avoid collecting TANF but you can’t live off of $60 a month. I am in the middle of interviews to work at Walmart as a cashier which will hurt some but I can’t stand getting TANF. I always purchase wisely to make it go further and if we have extra food stamps left we try to help someone else who needs food.