Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Clampetts

As many of you know, we've given our family the nick name "The Clampetts" of our city. We live an a fairly affluent area, a suburb in the DFW area where the houses are as big as the incomes. Jimmy and I weren't raised this way. We grew up in the country, in small little towns where having money wasn't a big deal. We had TV's back then but rarely used them, we played outside all day and only came in when it was too dark to see. All our friends lived pretty much the same kind of lives we did; simple, inexpensive, full lives.

Our kids are expected to keep our same values while being influenced by a much different group of peers. Kids in this area expect and get; our children aren't afforded such luxury. Kids around here get brand new cars when they turn 16 (often sooner), they have unlimited use of mom and dad's credit cards, their clothes are ridiculously expensive as are their taste in all things "necessary." They have fancy cell phones and the latest techno gadget, get manicures, pedicures and hundred dollar haircuts.

If I don't have a coupon and/or the items requested aren't on the clearance rack, we don't buy it. We clip coupons for groceries, for restaurants, for haircuts. The majority of my kids' clothes come from consignment stores or the 80% off racks...WITH an extra 15% off coupon.

I could pay full price for things, but why? If I can get free and near-free groceries by spending a little coupon-clipping time, why shouldn't I? I could buy the kids' clothes for retail; OR I could let some other mom shell out the big bucks, have their kids wear it a time or two, sell it to a consignment store for pennies, and then I can swoop in and buy those perfectly good clothes for a couple of bucks AND use my frequent buyer card discount to make it even cheaper.

My kids are following suit. Sutton and her friend, Maeli, went shopping last week and called me squealing with excitement. They had each gotten a shirt for $.29. In awe, I squealed right back and asked how they had managed such a coup. Evidently the store, a boutique for teens, was giving each customer $10 coupons just for trying on their jeans. Those two smart girls tried on the jeans, got the $10 coupon, and headed straight for the clearance rack. They picked out $9.99 shirts and were told they would have to buy some candy or gum so the store wouldn't owe them! I was so proud.

We are the Clampetts in many ways. We are country born and bred and surrounded by big city people who don't understand us. That's okay, we don't really mind. I just hate the fact that I'm beginning to look a lot more like Granny and a lot less like Ellie Mae.

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