How do Moms save up for/conceal purchases when they don’t have a paycheck?

There’s a great episode of the Dick van Dyke Show in which Laura squirrels away change from the grocery budget to save up and buy Rob a present.  Rob finds out, Laura cries, “Oh, Rob.”  It is a very cute episode and seems so old fashioned, with the housewife at home and no income of her own.

But not so old fashioned.  If you are a stay at home mom, how do you pay for a gift without your husband finding out?  A few years ago, my friend confessed that she was pulling a Laura Petrie, depositing random rebate checks and change from major purchases so she could pay for her husband’s 40th birthday trip.

Part of the reason why I like to work (besides having to work in order to help afford living in our town) is to have some leeway in how I spend.  Sometimes it is for myself (OK, a lot of times).   Often times it is a splurge for the kids- a pair of Hanna Andersson pajamas for my daughter or some Merrell sneakers for my son that are sharper than the New Balance outlet version my husband would buy (and easier for my 3 year old to put on himself).

Recently my splurge was some gorgeous fabric from Calico Corners to slipcover our ottoman and throw pillows.  Come to think of it, it would take a little forensic accounting to calculate the cost of the fabric vs. the cost of the labor (handled separately and timed a few months apart).  So maybe I have some Laura Petrie in me after all.

What’s your splurge and how do you bury the costs?

Laura didn't mean to be deceitful.


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2 responses to “How do Moms save up for/conceal purchases when they don’t have a paycheck?

  1. Jan Jessup

    You’re a clever shopper–and Calico Corners has many customers who stage their purchases, buying the fabric on sale one month and bringing it back a little later to arrange the custom labor. We encourage customers to decorate in any fashion that fits their lives!

    The important point is that you’re getting great quality at a good value. By purchasing the fabric at Calico, you’re saving a significant amount compared to designer prices–enough to pay for much of the custom labor.

    Having beautiful furnishings that are professionally made with a perfect fit means that you’ll keep them longer and be happier with how they look in your home. Ultimately, they’ll probably be less expensive than inferior products that have to be replaced more frequently. For example, cheap readymade draperies don’t hang well or fit well–and they bring down the appearance of the whole room. A cheap sofa that’s not worth recovering just ends up in a landfill and isn’t a wise investment.

    Perhaps your spouse can relate to the idea of buying a fine quality blazer that he can wear for years, versus something made of cheap fabric that doesn’t hold up well over time. Instead of worrying about hiding decorating expenses, perhaps it’s better to focus on the value received and how you’re improving the quality of life for the whole family to enjoy! Happy decorating to all–
    Jan Jessup, Calico Corners

  2. As a stay at home mom of 12 years, I have to admit I do a little petty hoarding. When I’m doing laundry, I’ll often stick a $5 found in the pockets in the fabric softener sheets, or a $10 in the bathroom cabinet between the tampons and girly smelling lotions. I find it saves me a trip to the bank a lot of days. And if I don’t hide it, my husband will grab it for a drink or gas and I’m left with no cash!
    I live in the world’s smallest town and bank at the most ineffecient bank in the south. Getting a withdrawl from checking(if I don’t have a checkbook) requires everything but a DNA sample. Mind you I’ve known everyone who works there my whole life. Forget about getting anything out of another account. You can’t do it in the drive through and who wants to lug three kids in the bank to get $20 for snacks.
    So, my nicking a buck or two here or there is all about convenience.
    And I think the Calico Corners purchases are totally worth it! 😉

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