It was one of those days. Not one of those days, but a good day – one of those days where the universe seemed to be smiling down on me.
My husband had the really awful flu (I did say the universe was smiling down on me, not him), and I had what felt like 32 things to take care of before the night was over. But, thankfully, things fell into place. I made good time on my commute home from work, so I dropped into my grocery store to pick up my new prescription. While I waited to pick it up, I looked over a saw a coupon booklet, scoring a $25 gift card for my new prescription. With three days to spare before the coupon expired – sweet!
I picked up a few essentials – milk, eggs, ice cream for my sick hubby. I saw a $1 off Oreos and milk coupon in the aisle, so I picked up some Oreos and other snacks to keep the younger kids occupied while I ran the older kids around that night. I also picked up a new movie from Redbox – with a code I scored from Groupon. I even picked up four chocolate bunnies (which, in my experience are always too picked over to get four of the right kind by the time they go on sale right before Easter), making it the most prepared I have ever been for Easter so far in advance. Three crispy bunnies for the boys and one solid chocolate for my daughter. All told, I escaped with my goodies for just $6 out of pocket!
Feeling pretty groovy, I swung by the library to pick up a book I had requested. I made it out just at the perfect time to drop my oldest’s diving warm ups off at the pool and collect my $85 deposit. I headed home loaded with goodies to help my husband survive his evening and still get the other kids to their events. The sun was even shining – and it was 30 degrees – HUGE for Minnesota this winter!
All the way home, I was feeling pretty slick about my good timing, good planning, frugal deals and getting items crossed off my list. And honestly, it has been a full year since I have had a similarly satisfying day when it comes to timing, planning, being frugal and getting things done. I wish I was exaggerating for effect, but I am not.
When I started down this road of motherhood, household management, frugal living and the like, I read all the blogs, books and articles I could find. It all sounded so great – cut your grocery bills by 75%! Never pay for shampoo, deodorant or toothpaste ever again! I started to think every shopping experience was going to be perfect – or I would be doing things wrong. As I tried various methods, my experience told me that despite my best planning, the coupon was expired, or the store was out of the sale item, or I bought the wrong size or type, or my kids drove me to mad distraction, or I forgot to give the coupon, or I just plain needed an item that was not on sale – you name it – it seemed there was a glitch at every turn. Just when I would think I finally got the whole system – I would fall on my face again.
You have to wonder – is it too good to be true when you read these seemingly effortless stories of free, organic foods, diapers, clothing and the like?
The truth is that being organized, frugal, and sometimes just plain lucky, usually does not come that easy or all at once. And while there are great triumphs, there are also innocent mistakes that lead you to not save as much as you intended. In my opinion, we writers are not trying to be deceiving – it just turns out that positive is more uplifting than negative, and we all want to share an inspiration, not a tale of woe. Plus, we don’t want to be complainers.
So, when you find yourself having one of those days – where it is difficult to get the right deals, and you are frustrated at every turn, try to remember that there will be better days. Forgive yourself for the snafus (you are doing your best); delight in the small victories (you rock!).
And when you have those once-a-year-kind-of-good-days, enjoy it to the fullest!
I know I did.
(And full disclosure: the next day I discovered that Redbox charged my card even though I entered the promo code (so now I have to call them), my daughter would rather have the other kind of bunny (I am going to eat it myself – so there) and I failed to use my HSA card to buy my prescription (so now I have to submit for reimbursement) – nothing is ever perfect! But, at least I enjoyed it while it lasted.)