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Mama said there’d be days like this …

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be a cheapskate

POSTED: January 11, 2012 4:00 a.m.

I have never been a big couponer. I tried it when I was younger during grocery trips with Granny.

My attempts to save money cost my budgeted-to-the-penny Granny an average extra $34. I was ordered to never try to save Granny money again.

The experience left me a little gun shy and even though couponing is all the rage now, I still haven't jumped on the bandwagon despite my friends bragging about getting a buggy full of groceries that will last three weeks for less than what I spend on cleaning products per year.

Instead, I try to find other ways to save money - sticking to my shopping list, comparing the cost per size and buying store brands - and except for when it comes to shoes, I can be almost frugal. But I have found that sometimes, it just doesn't pay to be cheap.

Once I bought the generic brand of oatmeal and grits, feeling confident that the two dollars a box I saved had to make them tasty. I was wrong. Cole told me the lumps in his oatmeal never dissolved, no matter how many times he pounded them with his spoon. I think they even bent his spoon a little. The grits had the same outcome.

"No cheap oatmeal," Cole will remind me on the cereal aisle. The cheap stuff sat on the pantry shelf, untouched and uneaten until they were finally tossed.

Cheap toilet paper doesn't really save you money either. It's worth whatever it costs to go ahead and get two-ply. Cheap laundry detergent is a waste of money according to Mama too.

My laundry obsessed mother was mortified to find some generic detergent in my laundry room once.

"It gets the clothes clean," I told her.

"Does it make them smell like a mountain breeze? Make them soft? Get the wrinkles out? You don't get cheap laundry detergent." she argued.

"At the price of Tide, I could buy new clothes," I replied.

Mama disagrees and buys me Tide, Gain, Downy and Snuggle by the trunk load because I am too cheap to buy it myself.

As a woman, I have learned it's worth a little more to get a few things at a makeup counter versus the drugstore - foundation being one of them since most colors turn a Pepto-Bismol tinge on me if I don't test them first.

Shoes are definitely one thing you can't skimp on either. I took a cheap pair of sandals on vacation once and spent the first day limping around trying to find a shoe store, begging for Band-Aids off of store clerks.

I admire my friends who have saved hundreds of dollars using coupons; they have excellent scissor skills and more patience than I have ever dreamed of having.

Knowing how to attack those sales is almost an art form I haven't quite mastered yet.

But one thing I have learned, sometimes it just doesn't pay to be cheap.


Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist and certified life coach. She lives in the north Georgia mountains with her family and four insane, but fairly well behaved dogs.

 

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