Judy Woodward Bates has been looking for bargains for a long time. When she got married at 17, she was determined to prove to her parents that she and her husband, Larry, could make it on their own. So she established some thrifty habits.
It was a strategy that worked.
And when she was studying at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary several decades ago, she got a name for her habits — “Bargainomics.”
Bates’ class was studying the Proverbs 31 woman, and as she read the passage in different versions and paraphrases, a word in one of them jumped off the page at her.
“It said, ‘She is energetic, a hard worker and watches for bargains,’” Bates said.
Not too long after, she was able to trademark the word Bargainomics (exclusively, until a grocery store chain recently got rights to use it in their domain). She became the Bargainomics Lady, speaking and writing articles to help people know how to steward their resources well.
For going on two decades, she’s shared her wisdom through articles in TAB, and on the Nov. 23 episode of the TAB Talks podcast, she offered advice about how to have a budget-friendly Christmas in the middle of a pandemic.
People are even more interested in how to find bargains this year, Bates said, “because people are having a tough time financially right now.” They’re looking for new ways to find deals because they aren’t getting out as much as they usually do, she said.
After the podcast was released, Kristen Rogers at CNN came across it and reached out to Bates for an interview. Then on Dec. 14, CNN posted an article including Bates — “Budget Christmas 101: Pandemic hardships don’t mean the holidays are canceled.”
It was picked up by more than a dozen other news outlets and websites from the Albany Herald (Georgia) to KITV Island News in Hawaii, which also ran a Spanish version.
In the article, Bates gave an array of ways to save money, but one of the biggest was simply to be honest with family members when times are tough financially.
“If you’re embarrassed about giving less this year, ‘Fess up,’” she told CNN. “You will see the relief on other people’s faces, because it just takes one to be willing to say, ‘I’m strapped this year.’ Because most of these other people, when you just say that, will admit, ‘Hey, I’m in the same boat you are. Thank goodness you had the courage to speak up because I wanted to say it, but I was just afraid of how people would react.’”