I had a very upsetting thing happen to me the other day. I lost my big coupon binder. I am a big coupon user, often getting my purchases down to very low or free and it has been the biggest way we have managed to live on our small income. We can make $100 stretch with me using my coupons the way I do, and so I organized all my coupons into a big 3-ring zippered binder. It was my shopping bible. I am devastated that I lost it!
I have no explanation for why I lost it except I wasn't feeling well, I had all the family with me, and I was in a hurry-- a big triple combination for disaster, I suppose. I never even realized I had lost it until we received a phone call late at night asking if I had lost my WIC folder (a supplement program for low income families for children's health for up to the age of 5). What? No, it's in my coupon book! I go and look for it and it's not where I usually put it! Maybe I left it in the car, nope, nothing! Panic sets in!! I lost my book?!? We arrange a meeting with the caller and Andrew comes back home with just a few papers that were inside my coupon binder. No coupons, no binder, nothing, just a few pieces of scrap paper, my WIC folder, and some random items I had in there.
I cried. I felt disgusted with myself for losing it in the first place. I was horrified thinking about someone pawing through it and finding such a valuable money-saving tool. I got upset when I did the math and realized I had over $100 in store gift cards and credit in there, all gone! All my hard work cutting out and organizing those coupons! Then I started to think about what else I had in there with personal information on it! Oh no! Do I have to worry about identity theft now? Do I need to call the bank? Will someone do harm to my family now that they have my address? What a roller coaster of emotions!
After a night of tossing and turning, I woke up with a very stiff neck. We called the bank to see if there was anything to be concerned about and they put a notice up on our account for any suspicious activity, just in case. We called the store where I lost it to see if anyone turned in a big binder-- nothing. When Andrew met with the person that found some of my papers, he went back to the parking lot to look around, check the trash bins, but didn't find anything.
What can I do? I did my crying. I vented my grief and frustration to friends and on Facebook. And now? I just have to start over. I'm pretty sure I'll never get it back. No amount of tears and anger at the person that found it and kept it will not bring it back. Kicking myself in the butt will not bring it back and just leave me with a sore behind. So, I'll start again.
I need to buy a new binder. I'll need to get new baseball card pages. And then I'll start cutting out coupons again. No use crying over the good ones I had, I'll get more good ones. Losing all those gift cards and store credit slips really hurts, though. I had been saving some of them to buy a big ticket item, and the others were being saved for different gifts I planned to buy when I had enough credit saved up. Nothing else to do but move on. Get past losing the old one and start working on making the new one better.
I'll definitely find a new spot for the receipts I had in there--next time I'll pull them out and save them in a folder I leave at home. The gift cards will be kept somewhere else, too, not in my wallet because it's tiny and cannot hold 20 gift cards. Not sure where I'll keep them, but I will figure something out.
My children were so sweet, they all came and hugged me and tried their best to console me after they saw me crying and found out I lost my coupon book. Evelyn made me a small paper folder and wrote, "My Mom's Coupon Folder" on it and then in small print below it, "Don't lose it now!" She also included a hand made coupon for a FREE HUG that never expires. Bless their hearts. I told them that it was sad that I lost my book, but the more important thing is that we have each other and that we are all alright and full of love for each other. I'm trying to keep my chin up for them, to let them see that it's ok to be sad about something and then it's time to move past it and keep going.
I'm not 100% over it, but I will be. Once I get my new binder, I'll have something to do with the new coupons I'll get in tomorrow's Sunday paper. The possibilities will open up and I'll find new deals and bargains. Starting over...