Couponing Is Harder Than It Looks

Sometimes you can study and prepare for a situation so much that you think you’re ready for anything that is thrown your way.

But when you are actually put in the game you crumble under the pressure.

That’s what happened to me Wednesday.

Let the Battle Begin…

Grade for my first real couponing excursion.

I had spent the last couple of weeks clipping and organizing before heading off Wal-Mart with a binder full of coupons to get my savings on.

The problem I had was that we NEEDED some items which meant I had to go against one of the Super Couponing rules of buying what is on sale instead of for need.

I went down aisle after aisle matching up my coupons with items, some we needed and some we didn’t.

I even had the grocery flyer from Jewel so I could compare prices to see which store was cheaper, both with and without a coupon.

Any coupon I used went into the right pocket of my shorts and while I wasn’t keeping track I knew I had amassed quite a few.

I went around 10 a.m., which was almost the perfect time.

Flies in the Ointment

There were a couple of instances that caused the day from being perfect.

I was standing by the boxes of Hamburger Helper (I had a coupon for 75¢ of three) when I heard a woman talking.

Lady: Hey, I found your coupon for Metamucil.

My first thought was, “I didn’t see any coupons for Metamucil. Where’d she get that?”

But then I started thinking about how embarrassed the person she was talking to must have been and started laughing.

I turned away before I could see the person dealing with constipation. That decision has been haunting me ever since.

As disturbing as that was, the fact that Wal-Mart was testing its fire alarm drills was worse. The high-pitched, shrill sounds felt like an ice pick was being shoved into my ears.

They lasted 3-4 seconds each and only went off 4-5 times but that was more than enough for me to be thankful when they stopped.

Trouble Ahead… 

I continued to weave my way through the store, filling up my basket and my pocket.

I had tried to keep count with how many coupons I had filed away but quickly lost count. I just knew that I had used a LOT of ones saving a dollar or more. More on that below.

By time I reached the frozen section I knew I had a dangerously-high amount of items in my cart and started worrying about the final total amount.

I pushed on and headed to the front of the store to check out.

I couldn’t believe my luck at finding an open cashier.

By the time I was finished unloading the cart, the cashier had already filled all of the bags on her carousel and even had some stacked on top.

I pulled out my coupons and actually was surprised at how many there seemed to be.

Trouble Behind…

I briefly saw the pre-coupon total before she started ringing up the coupons.

I watched and watched and watched…

I saw the overall total going down but knew there weren’t enough coupons left to get it down to an amount acceptable to Tammy.

Despite using 63 coupons, 29 of which took more than $1 off the total, the $55.59 I saved was no where near the 50% minimum mark to even be considered as an Extreme Couponer.

I got home and had unloaded everything when I got a text from Tammy.

Tammy: Sooo… how much did you save?
Me: If I added it up right it was $55.59. Over $60 if u count the reduced savings on meat. I got a LOT of stuff. haha
Tammy: And how much was the bill?
Me: I can’t hear U… U are breaking up…

Know When To Hold ’em

I knew she was gonna find out eventually and while it wasn’t close to the amount that drew tears, I still knew she wouldn’t be happy. But the text that came next took me by surprise.

Tammy: I have bets going with the girls, so tell me.

Great, now she’s gambling on me? I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

I got this text after I told her how much I spent.

Tammy: Yea!! I won the bet. They think they have more faith in you. (We switched the rest of the conversation over to Yahoo! Chat)

Turns out her gambling on me was bad.

Me: Did they think it would be lower?
Tammy: Oh God yea… Kathy said $200, Kristen said $150, I said $375.

I tried to shift the focus to make my total not sound so bad.

Me: I used 53 coupons… Bought 117 total items. hahaha.

No response.

Me: But there was some stuff I bought just because I had a coupon that i might not have boughten otherwise. haha… But we do have a lot of stuff… :-)

The Silence is Deafening

If The Price is Right rules had been in affect then Tammy would have lost.

Tammy’s radio silence started making me nervous.

Me: I didn’t but anything that I knew was going on sale at Jewel tomorrow (Advil, pads, {tam}pons, etc)…

Still nothing.

Me: AND… If “Price is Right” rules were in effect then you lost!! Because you went over….
Me: Jerk face.

The “Price is Right” rule is used in any game or contest where the one closest to the target number without going over is the winner.

Lessons in Saving

When Tammy got home she started in how much I spent. I left out a stack of items that I had used coupons on to show Tammy but that led into how I didn’t get anything good.

Me: Like what?
Tammy: Like fruit and salad.
Me: I didn’t have coupons for that stuff.

I then started telling her how much I saved on certain items which led into math lesson from Professor Tammy.

Me: I saved a dollar on two of these.
Tammy: How much were they then?
Me: $1.38 each.
Tammy: That’s still more than if you bought one right?
Me: What?
Tammy: If you bought one it would have been $1.88 but you got 2 so it was $2.76. Last I checked $2.76 is more than $1.88.
Me: Yeah, but that’s not how couponing works. I had to buy 2.

For Those Scoring at Home

All in all, I gave myself a C– for my effort, because while I was prepared and organized (I REALLY liked having the coupons in the binder because I could see them instead of filing through them for each one), I wasn’t very disciplined.

Because we “needed” things I ended up doing a hybrid attempt at couponing. I bought things I prolly wouldn’t have gotten before just because I had a coupon.

While we definitely have a lot of stuff right now we don’t have everything.

Just tonight Tammy found something we were missing.

Tammy: We don’t have any paper plates?
Me: I didn’t know we were so low.
Tammy: (shaking her head) And we just spent $300.
Me: I didn’t spend $300. I got $300 worth of stuff.

That’s called couponing.

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4 Responses to Couponing Is Harder Than It Looks

  1. Maybe you just need a little more practice?

  2. muddledmom says:

    I love that she bet on you. Or against you.

  3. Pingback: Couponing Success!! Thanks In Part to a Stooge | The Life of J-Wo

  4. Pingback: Oh No!! What Did I Just Eat? | The Life of J-Wo

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