Move over Coupon Suzy, there’s a new sheriff in town!

Since retiring, I decided to keep an eye on my spending. Switching from a paycheck to a paltry pension can made anyone a little nervous. There are trade-offs. I no longer need business clothes (actually, I really didn’t need them when I worked but that is another post). I don’t eat out all the much. On the other side of ledger, I use more gas — for trips to the gym, fantasy shopping and picking up Starbucks lattes.

In any case, I decided to focus on coupons. I have always used coupons but in a passive sense. I would clip out coupons for products that I use (only products that I use), put them in a drawer and sometimes I actually used them, sometimes I totally forgot about them but most of the time they were expired by the time I tried to use them.

I decided to be serious about it. In December, one of our local markets had a grand opening after remodeling. They included an $8 off coupon in the paper every week for three weeks. Wow! That’s a really good coupon. You needed to spend $50 to get it but you can easily spend that in a grocery trip…or so I thought.

The first coupon expired on me. Now I was really focused to USE THAT SECOND COUPON! I had the beloved husband accompany me on this trip. I don’t normally shop at this store so I couldn’t find anything. There were all these old people there waving an $8 coupon. Some of them were riding those electric carts that get in my way. I swear they were trying to run me over. That was really annoying. At the end of it all, I bought cat food and litter. Those are my “go to” items when my shopping cart doesn’t hit the required cost. The trip was successful.

Now there was an $8 off coupon for one of my favorite stores. I love when they compete with each other. Off to that store only to find out at the check-out with my $50 purchase that the coupon was only good for three days and the last day was…….yesterday. Who would print a food coupon that was good for three days??? Bummer. I bought $50 of groceries for nothing!

My favorite store put another $8 coupon in (good for only three days again) but I was quick this time. I got to the store. They didn’t have what I was looking for so I bought more…..cat food and litter.

This sequence happened again and again as the local stores were trying to out-coupon each other. I was exhausted. Although I only bought what we use, we have incredible amounts of toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, and oh, yes…..cat food and litter.

What is it about a stupid coupon that makes sane people react like a crazy person? I have resolved to resort to my former passive coupon technique (or I will need a storage unit!).

My latest financial strategy is the Powerball lottery! Someone has to win so it may as well be me. The beloved husband is hoping that this is also a short phase.

 

Artwork by denisbolduc via Flickr

15 thoughts on “Move over Coupon Suzy, there’s a new sheriff in town!

  1. Coupon adventures. I cut a few ones for stuff I use – and put them in a ziplock plastic bag in the car – the only way I can remember to use them…just sort through them just before checking out. Still it’s worth it: $5-$10 a week or more – that I can spend on something else.
    Also many stores here put items in the Sunday coupon flyers on sale that week – so you can save even more…but I’m not organized enough to cut too many coupons. Good luck

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    • I wondered if you would pick up on the noun/verb thing! Lottery tickets — so far, Kate – 0, Lottery – 3. This won’t last long. I have a very short attention span especially when I am putting out money and not getting anything back.

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  2. I used to feel guilty about not being a coupon shopper – I feel your blog has been my absolution. I was great at cutting, sorting and storing, just not at remembering to take them to the store.

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  3. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen $8 coupons, but that would motivate me, too. And for the coupons that are in my newspaper, half the time I really don’t use those products, so I’m impressed with people that make this happen. If you get a good system going, please share! I let them expire, too, and that’s not a good strategy for savings! Debra

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  4. I always thought I would be a natural at couponing, but I was WRONG. Expired coupons in my purse, expired coupons under my keyboard, expired coupons in the drawer, expired coupons everywhere! I like the idea of saving, but can’t seem to connect the coupon to the actual trip to the store. At least you managed to stock up a bit. Hey, massive quantities of toilet paper, kitty litter, and cat food are a testament to your good intentions, not a reflection of your misplaced coupons dreams. Good luck on the lottery — too bad they don’t make a coupon for that, too. Buy one get one free! No? Oh well ….

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  5. I usually save between $5-10 a month with coupons. However, I also save oodles by shopping stores where I can find yogurt 4 for $1, cauliflower 2 for $1, a giant thing of cascade dish soap for $6, 3 lb. chubs of 7% lean hamburger for $7 something, tortillas 2 for $1, etc. etc. Every Day Deals is one of those closeout grocery places (where I get the aforementioned good deals), but you have look closely at expiration dates and whatnot. I like to buy entire flats of mushrooms at 99 cents a pound there and sautee them down and make mushroom ice cubes for adding instant mushroom-ey goodness into casseroles and soups. And the ‘shrooms are still good, not spoiled or anything. The trick with Everyday Deals is that you never know what they are going to have from one trip to the next, so if there is something there that you would usually buy, and there are only a few items of it left and it is super cheap, buy them all. Even if there are a BUNCH of said items, I still buy a number of them just in case, because sometimes they are all gone by the time I go again (I go about once a month.) I’m starting to get a pretty good feel for what it is they stock more often than other times, so sometimes now I’ll let things go because I’m pretty sure it will be there next time.

    Also, another favorite haunt of mine is Grocery Outlet. Their selection is pretty steady, but you have to be a little more savvy with this place. Sometimes their deals are pretty much the same price you would pay at a regular store.

    Oh, and shopping at Asian markets (we are a huge fan of Asian cuisine in our home) is another place to go for super cheap produce, sauces, Asian meal ingredients, and meats (sometimes–again, you have to know your local prices). Buying things like bamboo shoots fresh is much tastier and waaaay cheaper if you go to an Asian market than purchasing some tiny can of bamboo shoots at inflated prices at American super-markets.

    I go to Winco and Fred Meyer’s for most of the rest of the stuff I can’t find at those two places.

    Also, I’ve discovered a coupon isn’t worth it if it means I have to spend gas to go someplace just to get a few items. Save the money on gas, shop at the one or two places you normally go, and end up saving about the same.

    Overall, though, I’ve learned to feed a family of four for an entire month, plus buy all of my household goods (shampoo, dishsoap, toilet paper, feminine products, etc.) on around $450 a month by going to places like these.

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