Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Disclaimer: Here is a glimpse into the mind and heart of a homemaker. I write this partly for fun (see my past entries to Cost Cutter here and here), but also because it's been on my mind seriously as I learn new ways to steward my husband's paycheck into our budget, over which I have a great deal of control and responsibility to spend wisely.

Dear Cost Cutter,
It's been a while since my last letter so I need to write. I have been a Cost Cutter shopper for going on 7 years, with a few breaks in between, but loyally for about 5 years. I can't believe it. It's a real relationship now. Pastor Mark Driscoll cited that in a marriage the hardest years are the first 9-15, and I'm feeling it again in my relationship with you, dear Cost Cutter.

You have a special employee, Jane, my "grocery store friend." She is so sweet and kind to me and my kids. I feel an inexpressible joy when I walk in your store around 1pm on Wednesdays every week. Some weeks I don't see Jane, but I do see my other grocery store friends Barb, Lisa, and Cindy. In my head I hear "Where everybody knows your name..." Jane and I have exchanged gifts for holidays and the birth of my son Wesley. My daughters are so excited to see their grocery store friends each week too.

But, I'm torn. I am being lured by the thought of spending less, by cutting coupons. You are not a major chain, not one of the stores listed on the coupon blogs with amazing deal matchups. You have great prices and I only have to go to one store. But I'm torn. I want to jump into the world of couponing. All my friends are doing it. But if I shop at another store I feel guilty. I feel like someone will see me "cheating" on you. I'm not even kidding. I feel like I've invested 7 years into knowing your store, knowing your employees, feeling comfortable with the whole grocery experience...too much has been invested to throw it away on a trip to Albertsons or Safeway. And by the way, they ARE more expensive than you and you carry the same items. But you don't have all the glitter and shine.

I admit I cheated a few weeks ago. Thursday evening I gathered my coupons and headed to Albertsons to score an awesome deal on some cereal and other sundry items. But it was so frustrating. Wesley was very tired and cranky and hard to manage while shuffling coupons in an unfamiliar store where I didn't know anyone and felt anonymous. Like someone in the movie WALL-E shopping at a "Buy'n'Large." I probably saved some with the coupons I had, but on a good week at your store, with in-ad coupons and some manufacturer coupons, I probably would have saved more. But...everyone else was doing it. All I read on the coupon blogs was how great of a deal it was this week at Albertsons. But it left a sour taste in my mouth.

I really want to figure out how to make it work. I want to learn how to combine my manufacturer coupons with the in-ad coupons at your store. You already have good prices, it's been proven in the 5 years I've shopped with you. We eat well, healthy, and it doesn't blow the budget. The system I've been using has worked well. I want it to work better.

With love,

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