Coupons for Credit: A Short Story

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“Whomever accumulates the most products while paying the least amount of money would be the winner. The loser has to relinquish all of her coupons and swear off bargain-hunting for life. Think you can handle it?”... How foolish was it for Andrea to risk the very thing that had saved her...

Andrea thought she was doing a good thing by getting that credit card. Her credit had been suffering but her income had recently increased, so she got the card in hopes of making improvements to her credit. Her fortune hit a wall, however, when she lost her income. She was up to her eyeballs in even more debt as a result. It was a secured credit card, for goodness’ sake! The most she could spend was what she deposited, like a debit card. It’s not like the bank actually did her any favors by charging her for her own money.

Coupons had become a life-saver for Andrea over the years. She went from occasionally clipping them to obsessively collecting them, downloading coupon applications on her smartphone and studying sales ads. It grew into a part-time job for her. Eventually, it paid better than one. Investing 20 or more hours a week into collecting discounts, marking her calendar for sales and finding ways to get cashback, she would often leave the grocery store with nearly free merchandise and a rebate check in the mail or waiting to be deposited into her online spending account. She got so good at it, she started a website to showcase the fruits of her labor.

Aspiring couponers from across the country followed her journey to financial freedom. Between coupons, rewards programs and the occasional profit from reselling excess, unneeded merchandise, she had nearly established financial security, except for that one pesky credit card, which had accumulated more than double the interest and late fees than credit line’s initial value. If she had any regrets, that credit card was one of them.

Claire shared a love-hate relationship with Andrea, as is typical in sibling rivalries. Claire gleaned a wealth of money saving/earning tips from Andrea that helped her pay some of her own bills. However, Claire consistently sought to best her sister, so she challenging Andrea to a coupon-off.

“Whomever accumulates the most products while paying the least amount of money would be the winner. The loser has to relinquish all of her coupons and swear off bargain-hunting for life. Think you can handle it?” Claire said. Claire’s taunts of Andrea not being able to withstand the pressure made the bet irresistible to Andrea.

“Please! I taught you everything you know,” Andrea responded.

How foolish was it for Andrea to risk the very thing that had saved her from the financial abyss? The coupons and rewards had granted her financial stability and she finally felt comfortable with making regular credit card payments again. She had her eye on a car and an improved credit score would certainly help her purchase it.

She perused the sales advertisements online to grocery story that she and Claire agreed to shop for their bet. She felt her blood pressure rise at the moment Claire suggested the challenge and it had remained elevated ever since. There was no way she could lose this. Especially not to her kid sister. The stakes were too big.

 

© LeTara Moore, 2016 

LeTara Moore is an author and blogger. To read more of her short stories and poetry, visit her at letarawrites.wordpress.com or like her page on Facebook at facebook.com/letarawrites.

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