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August 27 , 2008

The Reluctant Housewife's Guide to Saving Money


Times are tough. Money is tighter than ever before. Food prices are rising. How is a growing family supposed to balance their needs and their checkbook at the same time? Coupons! That's how! In this simple, easy-to-read guide, the Reluctant Housewife will walk you through 10 simple steps that will help you maximize every dollar you spend at the store with just a few hours of preparation per week.

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Do you like saving money? Of course you do! We can help. And it won't cost you a single dime! Or even a penny! What have you got to lose?


Now don’t let the name fool you. I love my husband, our kids, and our marriage. That I have no issues with. It’s the housework that I could do without. I come from a family of women who don’t cook, hire others to clean and prefer to go out for dinner as often as the budget will allow. Those lovely ladies taught me how to order the most expensive thing on the menu (when someone else is paying, of course) and how to enjoy life to the fullest and handicap the horses but they certainly never taught me how to make a casserole or scrub a toilet. I blame genetics. After all, if my grandmother didn’t enjoy cleaning and cooking for her husband back in the day when that’s what women did, how could anyone possibly expect me to be domestic?

For the past 13 years I have been the primary bread winner in our family. My husband was in retail before becoming a writer. As a teacher, the union helped ensure that my salary was always increasing and with the help of an administrative credential, my salary was double what his was within just a few years. I’ve been a working woman for as long as I can remember and I’ve never been very good at keeping up with the household responsibilities. I can pay the bills and bring home the bacon but I sure as heck can’t cook it! My husband feeds us all, mostly by grilling, but he’s learned over the years how to cook enough dead animals to keep a hint of variety in our diet. If he didn’t cook, we’d live off of canned goods and microwavable meals. I made a pot roast once. It was that time of the month when my hormones fooled me into trying to be a good housewife; usually I just clean out the car and then eat whatever is left in the tub of chocolate ice cream. The roast didn’t kill us but I sure as hell never tried to make it again. I can make chocolate chip cookies and guacamole but beyond that, I’m pretty much useless in the kitchen. And that’s the way I like it!

My house is a mess. It’s not so bad that my friends need to call CPS (Child Protective Services) but things are always piled on top of bookshelves and on the floor. The dirty dishes overflow the sink onto the countertop. My floors are only cleaned twice a month when Blanca, our wonderful housekeeper, shows up and makes the house look like what it should be on a daily basis but never is. In fact, we laugh about how long the house will look that way. Usually within 4 hours of Blanca’s departure there are once again empty soda cans by the desk, snacks on the coffee table and dirty socks in the corner of the living room where the dog drops them after he plays with them. Not everything has a proper place, so trying to put things away is a never-ending battle. If I actually get motivated to clean up—usually when family is coming over—I will pick up something up off one random spot and put it down in another. I have shoved things in the hall closet before and warned my kids not to open it for fear they get severely injured.

I hate household chores and responsibilities. I could pick up and little each day and organize our things, but frankly, I don’t want to. I’d rather go out to dinner or run to Vegas for the weekend. I do what needs to be done so that our family has food in the house and the electricity stays on but there are Legos on the floor, old phone books on the porch and our California King sits on the carpet. I will never be Martha Stewart, thank God! I am the reluctant housewife.

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