Thursday, May 14, 2009

Paper Trail

I have never been one to really use coupons. I do use them at restaurants, but I have never clipped coupons to save at the grocery store. I have always been interested, but thought it seemed too complicated and not really worth the time and effort since a.) I try to eat fresh food, and there are no coupons for apples, and b.) I buy the store brand of a lot of things, or clearance, etc. or at the opposite extreme I buy really nice organic gourmet things which also have no coupons. This year we have been trying to build up our year supply of food storage and in my wanderings on the web I have come across many blogs and other sites with tips for spending hardly anything at the grocery store through wise coupon use. Oooh, I would like to spend less on groceries. So first I had to get some coupons which was as agonizing as I could possibly make it. Next I painstakingly copied the experts' organizational methods and still have no idea how to find the right coupons. Finally I looked at the store ads and armed myself with a plastic sleeve which contained a grocery list of only amazing deals and a neat stack of carefully clipped coupons to make those deals truly spectacular. I had a very busy day yesterday with orders going to the post office, picking up kids, cleaning the house, preparing my Bradley lesson, making dinner, etc. but decided to run to the store around 5:00 since some of the sales I had synced up were ending yesterday and if I didn't go then I would have to start all over again. I went inside with the three youngest, which I suspect was my first mistake, and we ran around looking for just the right items. Our cart was filled with multiples of the same product, time was running short, and we made our way up to the cash register. I was nervous and excited as I anticipated the glorious acknowledgement of my efforts -- the receipt! There were some things I had decided not to get so I pulled out the coupons to remove the ones I didn't need. What? Wait a minute! Where are the amazing salad dressing coupons? And the magic eraser? And the peanuts??? Of course I still had the coupons for the things I wasn't buying, but out of the things I did decide to purchase, I had only ones for two items! I had multiples of those so I hadn't realized that some of my precious, precious coupons were missing! By the time this realization was confirmed (checked purse 25 times, shaken out completely empty transparent sleeve in hopes that something was hiding in the corners), the groceries were already being zipped through. I asked if the transaction could be suspended since I was missing some COUPONS, but he said that I could bring them back in with my receipt. Okay. Deep breaths. They are probably in the car and just fell out. Take kids out to the car, scramble under the seats, no coupons. They are probably still at home on the dining table. Get home, look all around, no coupons. I guess I didn't notice 50 coupons trailing behind us as I tried to keep baby safely in seat and was repeating "No gum. No brownies. No sugar cereal. No fruit snacks." to the girls! No wonder I was a bit befuddled. I figure I lost about $20 worth of valuable coupons somewhere and I doubt that anyone will treasure them as much as I did. And to be honest, I didn't really need that many bottles of salad dressing, but they would have come out to .17¢! I guess I will return them.

To sum up: my initial foray into the dark underbelly of Coupon World ended in complete disaster. Should I even attempt round 2?


Melba Toast said...

This makes me laugh so hard because I have done the EXACT same thing so many times. I have mostly given up on coupon use unless it is a really good coupon, and then I have to practically staple it to my shirt to make sure I don't lose it. I don't see a lot of coupons anymore, maybe because we don't take the newspaper. Did you find coupons online? Which website?

normal mom said...

I struggle with coupons because I don't want to plan my meals around the generally unhealthy things there are coupons for. I do sit down ever Sunday and look at my meal plan and the ads for the stores I go to frequently and try and match things up. Sometimes I'll change my menu for a good deal, but most of the time I don't see anything on sale I would want to buy 5 of.
Most of the time, I don't use my coupons. But they are organized neatly in a little folder in my purse. Maybe someday. I think all those people paying $2.00 for $200 worth of groceries are eating a lot of prepacked, preprocessed food. Like you said, they are not getting a good deal if they are buying produce.
Are farmer's markets any cheaper?

AFarCryFromNormal said...

I agree COMPLETELY!!! The ONLY things I have been using coupons for is items that I will be putting into my food storage. I put items like shampoo,soap,medicines,water, brownie mixes (sorry not so healthy but I am working on my make a mixes that I can store easily and cheaper). I also use coupons for toilet paper, canned vegetables (only green beans and corn). I SOOOOOOOOOOOO wish there were coupons out there for fresh produce too! Wouldn't that be LOVELY!! So, since I use coupons for that, I don't use them as often. The thing I do most often is watch for the produce and meat sales at different stores. I would probably use that coupon for salad dressings though. That is also a staple in my food storage. I am really praying for a fruitful garden so that Andrea and I can can a BUNCH of spaghetti sauce, salsa, green beans and peas. I hope that my strawberries work some so that I can make some healthier jam.

As far as the farmer's market's. I don't find them cheaper but WAY yummy. When I can I do shop farmer's markets because of the taste and to support local farmers.

Phew that was a long response. I guess I could have just called and chatted with you for an hour on this! LOL

AndieF said...

OK, I've been planning this for a little while, but I've been away from my blog for a week or so because of LIFE and everything, but I'm planning on putting up on Wednesdays links to coupons for food storage items at Walgreens and CVS and grocery stores and letting you know sales on food storage items at local stores. I've doing this for a little while because I started out the same way as you - not using coupons because I didn't get them for produce or store brand, etc. And then when I did use coupons, I didn't always use it the most effective. Now, I can't necessarily make sure you get the stores in your purse, but hopefully this will help you at least get food storage items for cheaper!

Nauvoo Commuter said...

Thank you for using the words "befuddled" and "flailing."

Have you guys re-financed since you moved to Bloomington? If not, you could either convert to a 15-year and retire early, or you could lower your payment (on a 30-year) by enough that you wouldn't have to worry about saving money on groceries.

Nauvoo Commuter said...

In your next post, could you please try to use either the word "thunderstruck" or the word "unwarranted?"

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