Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Having and Giving
The second pleasure of couponing is the having. I love having things. This is not necessarily an ideal love in an 850 square foot apartment, but I do anyways. I come from a reasonably affluent background, as does M, and we are both used to having things that we want. These days, having what we want must compete with having what we need and paying for what we can't afford to lose. If you have read the very earliest articles in my blog, before the reboot, I'm sure you can probably see my gritty desperation about how on earth we would ever get by on the money M made. It was a deprivation lifestyle, and it was very difficult! Couponing doesn't let me have everything I want, of course, but it lets me have things. Oftentimes the things I can get for free are brand new items on the market, and they are cool, and I love that! Having new cool things helps make up for not always being able to afford things I would like. And I can afford more things that I like because I'm not spending as much money on the things that we need.
Today Robert and I went out in the morning. We went to the library first for baby readalong, but found that it is done for the summer. So sad! We can go back in September, though. So we went off to Staples instead, where I had crazy coupons. I got a 2GB flash drive, two big reams of multicolored printer paper, 100 sheets of 8x10 photo paper, two boxes of pens, five bottles of glue, six notebooks, four scrubbie sponges, and a bottle of glass cleaner, all for 20 dollars. We are always looking for new flash drives around here, and getting one for a dollar after rebate is irresistible. And while right now I cannot afford to buy origami paper, I now have a ton of colored printer paper that will work almost as well, and is making my fingers itch to play with it.
The third great pleasure of couponing, one I've been exploring a lot lately, is the giving. Once you have, I've found, you start wanting to share more. Especially if you live in a place where space is restricted. =) In my first few months of couponing, I found it hard to part with things like toothbrushes and deodorant, things I use and need. Now I've realized that those things always go on sale, and there's no reason for me to stockpile in our limited space. Now when I get them for free, I make sure I have a couple months' worth socked away for my own family, and I can give the rest away. I've totally lost count of how much I have given to the food bank and other places since I started, but it makes me feel good when I can fill one of the baskets at church with the fruits of my shopping labors. More than that, when I give, it makes me feel less poor. Concentrating on others' needs lets me remember my own blessings. When I give away a stick of deodorant or a bottle of body wash, I remember that I am blessed to always have enough of those things, even if I don't have the latest gadget or book or whatever. Filling a bag of school supplies reminds me of how I always went to school with new things, and how I want someone else to have that experience too.
After Staples, Robert and I went over to the New Hope Center, where M and I did our prenatal classes and where I went to clinic. I know I've spoken about them before here. They hold a special place in my heart for all they did for us. Our counselor, Joan, was not in today, but we saw Denise instead, who remembered us right away and was happy to see us. Robert is having some stranger anxiety this week, but he let her hold him for a minute or two, while I brought in the diapers from the car. I decided that the best thing to do with the Size 2 diapers I couldn't return to the store would be to give them to someone who can distribute them where they are needed. There were quite a few diapers, too! Five full jumbo packs of Huggies, one partial jumbo pack of Huggies, and one partial store brand pack. I hope they will help someone out who needs diapers. I still remember that article about women who can't afford to change their babies when they are wet, and it makes me so sad. I have always had enough diapers for Robert, thanks to couponing and to the kindness of people like the ones at New Hope. That's a big blessing!
When we got home, Robert took a two hour nap, and spent the rest of the afternoon on a hyperactive baby tear. I'm not sure what got into him, but he was in quite a mood. Luckily, M was around to help deal with him as well! I spent some time in the kitchen, freezing more blueberries and baby food. Today the green bananas were yellow, so I took two of those and pureed them with blueberries into a lovely mush that I froze in an ice cube tray. When Robert is ready for blueberries, he'll have such a treat! I couldn't resist eating one myself, after they were frozen. This freezer is definitely a blessing. I love it so much! It is going to help me save so much money!