Monday, August 24, 2009

Free Food!!

Last week was really great when it came to "free" food. First, I applied a $20 credit coupon at Kroger's for filling a new prescription, and then lucky for me it was Mega Week at the store. The deal with Mega items is that if you get ten of the identified items, you get $5 off. I got ten of the identified items, and for each one I had a coupon. It's always fuzzy math, but after everything was applied, I owed Kroger around $14 for $34 worth of food. But with my $20 credit, no money came out of my wallet!!

Then my husband came home from visiting his mother with a bunch of what should be frozen food and tomatoes. The frozen food came from her just-broken-down in the garage refrigerator, and the tomatoes came from a neighbor who had a bumper crop. I am very sorry that her refrigerator broke down. She is as thrifty as I am, so I know this hurts. However, she is a very good planner and is certain to have the cash stashed to buy a new fridge.

THEN it's close enough to my birthday (I will not share which day or how many years.) that a couple of free coupons came in. (I applied months ago.) I got a free HUGE burger and fries from Ruby Tuesday, which I ate the night my husband was at a meeting. I got a HUGE burrito at Moe's, of which I ate half for lunch and the rest for part of my supper.

I got a couple of other birthday gifts,but they weren't free; so they'll go unfulfilled.

I get a real high when I do not have to spend anything, which apparently is a scientifically proved experience. Thanks to a fellow Facebooker I read the following today from author Ellen Ruppel Shell: Brain studies show that the human brain "lights up" at the prospect of a bargain. Stanford neuroscientist Brian Knutson used fMRI to peer into the brains of subjects as they contemplated making a purchase and found distinct brain circuits anticipating gain and loss -- when subjects were presented with prices they considered excessive, the insula, the region associated with guilt, humiliation, and pride, lit up. Confronted with discounts, nucleus acumbus -- a brain region associated with pleasure -- lit up like a Christmas tree.

People don't like to spend money, they consider it a loss, but a discount "reframes" the spending as a gain. This might sound weird -- after all, even when you get a discount you are spending money, but your brain doesn't see it that way. This is why we so often overbuy in response to discounts, especially deep discounts.

When I don't have to get any money out, my nucleus acumbus is not just a Christmas Tree--it's the one in Rockefeller Center.

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