I’ve been inspired by Busy Mom to post about coupons. After recently fumbling with my keys, coupons and shopping list, I think it’s time to talk about them in detail.
First, let me just say that it’s a great idea to cut coupons (or add them electronically to your savings card). I’ve saved oodles of money over the years and I’m grateful for it.
However, it’s work.
There’s the planning stage where you physically clip out the coupons. This requires the skill of weeding out the ones you will never use. If I was truly honest with myself I wouldn’t clip half of the coupons that I do. I just feel compelled to save, even if I never intend to use Depends or Polident.
Then, there’s the coordinating stage where you look at the weekly ad and match up your coupons to the specials. This requires more brain power than I have available and I sometimes skip this step completely.
The next step is one that beginners shouldn’t attempt alone. It’s where you stand in front of a product and dig around in your organizer to see if you have a coupon for it. This step is often combined with young children asking if they can have other products in the store and thereby interrupting your coupon thought process and concentration. It’s also annoying to other shoppers since you inevitably block the aisle with the basket while attempting to save .50 cents.
The next step is very new and hip – it’s the electronic coupon aspect of saving money. These are coupons that you load onto your shopper’s card before stepping foot into the store. They usually consist of cleaning products and foods with a high sugar content.
Similar to paper coupons, they also need to be tracked carefully. If I were cool, I would whip out my iPhone or BlackBerry and refer to my coupons. However, since I am NOT cool, I have a paper list that I check off with a pen. This step is also fraught with problems – refer to the blocking baskets and interrupting children above.
Finally, there is the hurdle of the “multiple items” coupons. One has to decide if they actually need 10 Lunchables to save $1.00. This requires math and a level of patience that often wears thin by the last aisle. Also, the “save $x amount on three products by the same company” (ie Keebler, Post, etc) requires my synapses to fire at an extraordinarily high rate and smoke to come out of my ears.
The final step is to look at your total savings on your bill. On my last shopping trip, I saved $10. I waltzed proudly out of the store with my “I am a saver” smile on my face.
Maybe I should celebrate with my hard earned cash. I’ll have to check and see if I have a coupon to Starbucks.