Diary of a Reluctant Coupon Clipper

Marching closer and closer to a full blown cliché, I have started shopping with coupons.

It was the hubby's idea. He's the born saver in our family. Initially the idea irked me on several levels. Hunting and sorting through circulars and magazines to save a few cents didn't seem worth our time. There's the inevitable, "I have to buy this brand because I have a coupon" (even though that brand is cheaper) confusion. Or the, "Of course we'll eat 4 boxes of fruit by the foot (though we've never eaten an inch of fruit by the foot prior)... AND, we'll save 50 cents in the process!" madness. Coupons, I thought, lead to buying things you wouldn't normally buy. And I'm not typically a spend money to save money type of gal. But, my biggest objection was that our time and effort and all that paper and ink weren't worth the minimal savings to be had.

As usual, I was wrong.

In the past two days, I've saved $43 using coupons. I haven't bought anything that wasn't on our shopping list, and I am an absolute convert.

Sure it takes a little bit of time, and there were a couple extra stops so it took a little more effort. But, I gotta admit I'm enjoying the hunt and the thrill of the kill. And on top of the savings, the whole deal has been an exercise in patience. At each check out line, I was faced with an obstacle. First, I got stuck in line behind a fellow coupon shopper while she was haggling over her receipt and the anticipated 15 cent savings that she had not received. (lesson learned: never be THAT woman. Fifteen cents is NOT worth my, the sales person's or the people-standing-in-line-behind-me's time) At the next stop, the register wasn't picking up my B1G1 vitamins (B1G1 - that's coupon speak for "buy one, get one free" - check it, I'm even learning the lingo). However, just politely waiting while the sales person readjusted the pricing on the second bottle saved me $7! (lesson learned: pay attention as items are scanned) By my third stop, I tried to save time by using the self check out lane. Unfortunately, the scanner didn't recognize my coupon so I had to wait for assistance. When the attendant sweetly and quickly entered my coupon manually, I saved $2.38. (lessons learned: sometimes it's worth the itty bitty wait AND it's okay to ask for help) And at my fourth and final stop, I got so excited about the $10 gift card that I earned by transferring my prescription that I totally forgot to present all the other coupons I planned to use. This oversight necessitated a stop by customer service for a price adjustment. (lesson learned: don't count your chickens before they're hatched... I was mentally shopping with the FREE $10 when I could have been actually spending less on the current transaction!)

When I think how much we can use $43 in the coming month, that's right 4. 3., I'm pretty stinking excited. Even if you subtract the $1.50 for the Sunday paper and a couple dollars for ink, paper and gas, we're still waaaaay ahead. Now, I'm rather confident that my savings won't always be this dramatic, but the cents certainly add up quickly. Even if I only save half that much each week, it is TOTALLY worth the effort.

So, chalk this experience up to one more thing I NEVER thought I'd do. (Can a minivan be far away?) And let's put clipping coupons in the "delightful surprise" column. Who could have imagined?


Anonymous said...

The minivan is close behind. I have been clipping coupons for a while now and I drive a fast and fancy minivan. Just be patient, it is coming


Lexi said...

you can buy newspapers at the dollar store :) if you want to save a little bit more. also...southernsavers.com is an AWESOME place because they catalog all the store flyers and places to find printable coupons. welcome to the cheap side ;)