Shopping with Susan

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By Calen McKinney

I consider myself a pretty good shopper. I check for bargains, compare prices and try not to spend money I don't have on items I don't need or won't use.

But compared to Campbellsville resident Susan Wise - and likely all of the other "couponers" in Taylor County - I don't know the first thing about finding a good bargain.

I went shopping with Wise last Thursday. She agreed to let me tag along with her as she shopped for her family of four.

She had her list ready, complete with coupon binder (very impressive), the coupons she was going to use that day (even more impressive) and a list of what she would actually be paying for her items when all was said and done (OK, this just plain blew me away). Some of the items she "bought" were free after all of her coupons, and others cost her less than a quarter. Read the story about Wise's shopping trip on today's front page for more.

When "we" were checking out, Wise's total came to about $150. After her coupons and the sale prices were applied, she owed just shy of $36. That's a savings of more than $110. Can you believe that? I was in utter shock ... and awe.

She shopped for her entire family of four, saved more than four times what she spent and got plenty of food that will make great meals.

My shopping trip with Wise has changed my spending habits. As we were walking up and down the aisles talking, I told Wise about how her comments were making me think of all the money I have just tossed down the drain by not planning grocery trips and searching for coupons, which are really free money.

So am I a savvy shopper? I used to think so, but Wise sure takes the prize. My kudos to her and all those like her.

* * *

When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. I think it all started with his being in "Romeo and Juliet." It solidified when I saw him act as Jack Dawson in "Titanic."

While the story of the sinking ship itself is tragic, DiCaprio's love story with a first-class passenger makes it much more sad.

During my recent vacation, I traveled to Louisville to visit the Science Center's new "Titanic" artifact exhibit. I had seen it before in Atlanta, Ga., but enjoyed it so much there that I wanted to see it again.

This might sound corny, but the history of the Titanic really comes alive when you see actual items pulled from the water.

I saw dishes, parts of the ship itself, items belonging to passengers who were on board, containers with food from the ship still inside and much more. We also read the story of how the ship sank and heard some recorded personal accounts from those who survived.

DiCaprio wasn't at the exhibit, but I have to say that the artifacts were much better than seeing the movie. While I can't say I was alive when this happened, I can say that I have physically seen some of the aftermath of the disaster.

For those interested, the exhibit will be at the center through February. Visit www.louisvillescience.org for ticket information. You won't be disappointed.