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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Teaching Daughter How to Save Her Pennies on Groceries

My youngest child is on her own now and is marrying next fall. She got into a tangle this week with her debit card. She knew the ATM machines charged her for using them, she didn't know HER bank added even more to the charge causing it to cost her $8 to use an ATM! She is tight right now after all her move in expenses and shorter hours from the holidays, she came down to Florida with us to meet her new niece. She thought she was keeping close track of her checking balance but ended up off due to these fees. Of course once she had become overdrawn thanks to bank fees--the bank charged her for being overdrawn. (thanks Wachovia!and every other bank that does this sort of nice thing to folks) I urged her to call the bank and find out exactly how the problem happened and if there wold be any more new charges added before she gets her paycheck--so she will know and can figure out how to prevent more problems in the future.

She now understands that policy and hopes they don't have anymore surprises for her in the future--as this had not been explained to her. She also knows which ATM in her neighborhood is 'no fee' so she can use that if she must get some cash, and she knows that whatever she does she mustn't use the Bank of America ATM as Wachovia will pile on the charge to the max for that transgression. Bofa (Bank of America) and Wachovia are the 'big boys' in the Charlotte metro area. Daughter lives in South Carolina but is still considered part of that area.

Anyhow that crisis has become learning opportunity for her. Banks are in business to make money and they want yours. They don't give you checking accounts and debit cards because they are 'nice'.

Today when she gets off work she and I are going grocery shopping together. We're going to make a big outing of it. I'm giving her a copy of my Aldi Price list. She lives near an Aldi and a Harris Teeter. I'm sure there is a Food Lion near her someplace as well. I'm going to teach her how to try to get the most for her money in the stores using sales and coupons and discount grocery stores.

If she wants to I'll help her set up a coupon file. I need to re-do mine I think. I saw that milk crate files are on sale with all the organizer stuff at Walmart lately. I have mine in a big milk crate for filing and I take the ones I plan to use to the store in my couponizer. I usually keep my money in my men's tri-fold wallet in a pocket so I don't have to watch a purse while I'm shopping. I can leave the couponizer open in my shopping cart so I can pull coupons as I find my purchases.

The system I use works great except for ONE thing. My fingers have been so sore that pulling the files is hard in the crate--they sink and get stuck and I have to pull them up.
Arthritis is the mother of invention!
I want to get a new milk crate that can hold hanging files so I can put my coupons in those. That way they'll all slide easily and stay near the top. There are simple fixes so often I have found that make life much easier when you have a little problem like mine. My new electric can opener is one of them and also container gardening, sliding files will be a new life improvement for me! This is the month to do it as this is when organizing stuff is best priced.

Perhaps Daughter would like my old crate coupon file?
She may not want to do it that way, she may just want to have a little coupon wallet--that's how I started long ago. I know she knows I save lots on my shopping, and I know she likes my pantry with all the extra stuff. I've heard her tell friends when they'd come for the night, "Don't worry if you didn't bring a tooth brush or anything, my Mom stocks up on those when they're on sale, she probably has an extra." She used to ask me if I had a coupon for her favorite brand of razor or shampoo when she lived with us. I would only buy what I could get in my price range, so if she wanted something nicer, house rule was she'd pay for it herself. That was my rule for adult kids living at home. We wanted to help them get going, but not spoil them.

Anyhow it will be a fun outing for us. I also want to give her some small containers of spices and spice mixes today. The ones that I use on some of the dishes I cook most often. Spices are so pricey and she is learning to cook now finally. ( I tried to teach her earlier--but I think it took the reality of the shrinking pocket book to get her attention on it)

When it gets warm out I plan to help her start a small attractive container garden for her balcony. She has room for a couple nice size pots with maybe some fresh herbs and veggies or fruit planted in with flowers. She took one of our older patio chairs and a small chair-side table with her when she left so she could start to put things on her balcony. Its a nice little space and she can easily tend a couple of pots, after all, her old Mum tends quite a bit more in the summer usually.

Because its been so cold we haven't gone to look at the state park that we are thinking of using for the wedding. I think I will just call them and find out if that weekend is still open and how long they think we have before we make that decision. Maybe we can wait until it is a little warmer to do it. It should be back up at least in the fifties soon. This cold spell is the worst I've seen since we moved here, certainly not the time to plan a hike in a park to check it out. I don't think the kids even own warm clothes like my Fargo coat, they just layer on hoodies. I'd like that outing to be fun, not torturous.

I'm kind of enjoying Daughter being on her own. She is a beautiful but headstrong person and there were many times I wanted to do certain things with her but she was just not open to it. Now that she has moved away she will call and ask about homemaking topics and I can share with her and she seems more interested in spending a little time with old Mom. Of course neither of us needs or wants to be together 24/7, this will be our first real outing since she moved out, and my first chance to see her apartment with all the furnishings in it--last time I was there she had just begun to move. I think sometimes two women are better friends in separate places. ;)

3 comments:

  1. I'm sorry your daughter had to learn about ATM fees the hard way. I also use Wachovia, and try to use only Wachovia ATMs. But if I don't get to a Wachovia branch, I can get cash back with a debit card purchase for my "walking around" money, with no additional fee.

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  2. I usually get my cash at the grocery store. our Credit union is out of town but they allow several different ATMs.. Wachovia's kind of dirt baggy that way I think. But --its a lesson learned, she needs to pay attention to the details this will help her in the long run.

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  3. I taught my kids to NEVER use the ATM machine unless it's the one at THEIR bank.

    There are too many places - grocery stores, Walmart, Kmart, Target, and a variety of other stores that will let you purchase an item and then let you get cash back. Make sure you ask a cashier first if you can get cash back with a purchase. Then the purchase doesn't even need to be large - gum or a candy bar works just fine.

    I hate it for her that this happened to her.

    And forewarn her about one of my daughter's lessons. Said daughter is very fond of using her debit card or even a check and NOT logging in her register. Instead, she will go look on the internet site for our bank. Only a couple of times, the debit hasn't cleared and she's forgotten about it and spent the money a second time - with $35 fees for overdrafts. It's taken her a couple of times of doing this to somewhat break her of the habit. sigh (You'd think ONCE would be enough!)

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