Years ago, when I was a stay at home mother, with lots of time on my hands, but little money, I used coupons. I also shopped several different stores, every week, to buy all the sale items.
Truth be told, I got burned out on doing that after about five years. And then there was the few years we lived without a vehicle and it wasn’t really possible to shop several stores. During that time we did one big shopping once a month, and take a taxicab home. My friend and I would share the ride, and split the cost. The taxicab drivers hated that. What can I say? We were poor! I literally had $5.00 cash left over each month after paying our bare bones bills and the taxi fare came to $5.00. My friend and I would each pay $3. Sometimes we’d get a really nice person and they wouldn’t mind stopping by my friend’s mobile home on the way out of the park and letting her out with her four or five bags of groceries. She is also blind. But sometimes, we’d get a snotty driver and so we’d just unload quickly at my house, then help her take her groceries home.
In the past few years, I’ve stopped using coupons. It seems like coupons were better years ago… nowadays if I happen to purchase the Sunday paper I can barely find coupons to pay for the value of the newspaper ($2) as they are mostly for processed foods. Another thing is I find I can often get the generic item for much less than the name brand minus the coupon. Moving out to the country also had an effect, as we figured out it costs about $0.15 per mile and when you have to drive 15 miles to the nearest store – which probably isn’t the one that has your sale items, it tacks on an additional cost to the items you are buying on sale, thus negating the sale price in the first place!
The weekly ads do arrive in the mailbox once a week, and I usually scan the front page for the best deals.
I stopped my subscription to the newspaper at least a decade ago, as I found it cut down dramatically on the impulse shopping. No ads, no “I wants” to go with them. It was handy to see if things I used were on sale, but more often than not I ended up buying a few other things on sale that I wouldn’t have bought if they weren’t such a great price. And besides now if I just have to find the best price for an item, I can look at the ads for every store online.
But I used a coupon yesterday.
Yesterday we pulled into one of the local grocery stores and I spotted a pile of coupons in an empty shopping cart. You know the ones that shoot out of the little printers where your receipt comes out? The coupons are usually related to something you’ve purchased. Either a coupon for the same brand name, I’ve noticed, or the competitor’s coupons will show up.
I went over and got the coupons, just to see if there was any that I could use.
I found this one:
Whoohoo!! Free paper towels! I mostly use cloth, but paper towels are so handy for wiping extra grease from our cast iron skillets. And our son prefers to use paper towels, and he does the brunt of the cooking in our home.
They only had two styles to choose from. One roll was $2.39 and the other roll was $2.59. The more expensive rolls were stacked all along the entire length of the area where this brand was located. I dug around directly behind the area where the $2.39 rolls were supposed to be and found one of the cheaper prices rolls. The coupon was free, up to $2.20.
Well, drat. I would still have to pay $0.19 plus tax, I thought. OH well, that’s not too bad.
I got up to the cashier and she rang me up. Mr. A had run back for one more thing, and I kept looking and looking for him to show up. In the process of gawking around and worrying about him having to go through another line, I forgot all about using my coupon.
It turns out Mr. A had gone through the “u-scan” line, and he met me as I was walking away from the cash register. I make a point to always look over my receipt carefully, to make sure I wasn’t overcharged, since at this store they give you the wrongly scanned item free, up to $5.00. At least two to three times a month I’m over at customer service to get my free item.
As I looked over the receipt, I saw that the paper towels were actually on sale, for $2.07, and remembered that I’d forgotten to use my coupon. I went over to customer service and got my money back.