I was at a baby shower recently in my hometown when a woman piped up.
“I remember you,” she said. She was looking at me. Her eyes were bright. “I was your preschool teacher!”
I laughed. I remembered her too—not her face or her hair, but a general “her-ness.”
She went on: “You’re that kid who used to cut coupons out of the newspaper all the time.”
I laughed. “Yes that was me.”
My favorite thing to do the year before I went to kindergarten was to cut coupons out of the paper. God knows why. And if there were no coupons, I cut out the classifieds ads because they looked like coupons. I said it was for my mom. Really, I just liked to feel helpful. The woman used to pull me out of class so that I could sit with her and cut coupons while she read the paper. I’m thinking she must have been on her break.
The woman said, “You were the weirdest kid I ever met!” At which point, there was a round of laughter and I’m sure my face turned red.
Flash forward, oh, a couple dozen years. After preschool, I got bored with coupons. As an adult, I’ve never been a couponing person. I run to the store, grab what I need, and flee. Actually, I’ve been known to throw coupons away. Too much of a hassle to save thirty cents.
But TLC’s couponing show, Extreme Couponing, really got me thinking.
What if I just gave this coupon thing a try?
Well guess what?
My first trip out, I saved $42! Talk about awesome. And since that first trip about a week ago, I’ve saved about $150 more. Just yesterday I picked up a $100 super duper electric toothbrush for just $30! That’s seventy bucks saved! That’s a nice dinner with my husband. That’s a trip to a theme park. That’s a whole lotta books!
Granted, I’ve had to get organized. Dedicate a bit of time. I have to buy things now and store them until later. No more shopping on the fly. Plus, I’ve had to go to multiple stores to do my shopping, whereas before, I was one and done.
But so far it’s really been worth it. The key, apparently, isn’t just cutting coupons from the Sunday paper. It’s pairing those coupons with retailer deals. Actually, you can get quite a lot of stuff for free when you combine them.
I suspect the people featured on Extreme Couponing area bit showy for the cameras (seriously, how could a person physically use 60 bottles of allergy medication before they expire? You'd die trying!). But still…there are rewards.
QUESTION: Are you on the coupon train? Too much hassle? Or worth the while?
P.S. Comment on my new blog post to be entered to win my LOVE TO READERS prize (which is a gift card of your choice to a book retailer)!