Okay, so I am not an extreme couponer. I don’t have the time. Have you seen those shows about these people? First off, their storage facilities are bigger than my house. Secondly, they buy shit just to buy it. How many men’s Old Spice deodorants does one woman need? How many boxes of Zatarain’s can someone really eat, especially when you consider the pasta selection, Minute Rice, Lipton Noodle Creations, and Hamburger Helper that are all stored in the same closet?
I do like coupons, however. When we first moved into our house and we suddenly were paying for things I did not know people paid for– (like water– the earth is like 90% water and they make us pay for it? Who is the genius that said, “Let’s charge people for the largest commodity on earth?” Brilliant! Don’t tell anyone, but I am trying to patent the rights to air.)–I knew I needed to cut corners. I told Tom if we were diligent, we could probably save $500.00 in a year just by utilizing coupons.
You know what he did? He laughed in my face! “$500.00, my ass,” he said. “That’s a whole lot of $.50 savings.”
He forgot that Giant Eagle doubles coupons. He forgot that cutting coupons and savings did not translate to only food. Diapers, shampoo, laundry detergent, toothpaste— all of these products had coupons, too. I was on a mission. The man who graduated college, couldn’t find a job, and because he had no money, bought all of his humanly needs– food, beer, toilet paper– from the BP store was not going to prove me wrong! (The only credit card he could get at the time was a BP gas card. Lucky for the 22 year old Tom, he did not have many needs and they had a small convenient store.)
Each week I scoured the paper. I scoured the Internet. I started talking about it at work. Women that I worked with started cutting coupons for things I needed that they did not– like diapers and wipes. Target had its own coupons, and I started paying attention to those, too. Tom needed new sneakers? We priced them out at multiple stores, and then I found a coupon to get them cheapest at Dick’s. Oh yes, I was working at it, but it was working for me. We saved over $500.00 in less than six months. I saved the receipts in an envelope to prove it to Tom. He was forced to admit that we were better-than-surviving because I was frugal.
Over the years, I became a little less conscious about it. When I forgot my coupons at home, I didn’t fret. If we were at the mall and Tom said he needed a new jacket, we went into one store and bought it, I didn’t make it a three-hour production. I stopped being so militant about coupons. However, this past year, I started again. Between Tom’s student loan and his new car payment, we are paying out $700.00 more dollars a month than we were this time last year, and our financial income situation has not really changed. Thus, we need to cut corners, pinch-pennies, and conserve. It’s amazing how easy it is to adjust to this lifestyle.
Last night, Tom and I ran up to Target. I needed to buy birthday presents for two children, and we needed some supplies. We even picked up a cute little Ohio State dress for a friend whose wife is going to have a baby (if you read this Jeremy, be surprised when you see it!). Forty-five minutes in and our cart was full as we headed toward the check out.
“How much do you think we spent?” Tom asked me.
“I don’t know. It was either on sale or we are buying it with a coupon.”
The clerk rang everything through. The first total was $179.46. But like my dad always said, you never accept the first offer.
I handed him my coupons. I had a Buy Two Get One Free coupon for shampoo (saving $1.84) and a Buy One Get One Free for Swifter dusting spray (saving $3.49) . Then I had Target store coupons: $3.00 off any health and beauty product, $5.00 off any toy purchase of $25.00 or more, and $5.00 off any clothing purchase. In addition, I had a slew of $1.00 coupons.
After the clerk processed all of my discounts, my bill dropped to $154. 87. Of course, I whipped out my Target card and saved another seven dollars. Our final bill was $147.31. I saved $32.15!
I did not buy anything I did not need. I do not cut coupons just to cut them. In addition, I don’t always use the ones I bring. If another brand is cheaper without a coupon, I buy the other brand. I legitimately needed everything we bought. (The secret to the Target card is that I come home and go on-line and pay it immediately. That way, it was like using cash.)
Until I can get that patent for selling air, I will probably continue to cut coupons. The more I save, the better we live.