Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lisa Dale: Couponing Grows Up

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?


Lisa Dale

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)!


Christine Young said...

Well worth the time, especially when I let my husband do the shopping and the searching for the coupon deals.

Na said...

I am a coupon user but I'm not extreme although I would love to find the deals these people have. I'll only use a coupon if it's for an item I really need or want to try and have it ready at the counter. I try not to buy impulsively and fumble around for them when I have to pay as I know there are people waiting behind me :)


Jane said...

I've always been a coupon user, but I wish I were as crafty as those people you see on Extreme Couponing. The supermarkets in our area don't do double or triple coupon days, but I do feel good even if I use a coupon for 25 cents off.

Lisa Dale said...

Thanks for your comments, ladies!

I don't know how they do it on that show...I think it's a matter of buying 1 item 500 times when they see a deal...but there's a line!

Na, I'm trying to learn the art of's an evolving process. :-)

Diana said...

My daughter is a couponer so at times I do get the benefit of all her shopping!

Di said...

I used to clip coupons all the time when I got the Sunday newspaper. Since I've stopped getting the newspaper, I don't have a source of those nice printed coupons anymore so mostly just use the ones I get at the grocery store.

marybelle said...

We don't really have a lot of coupons in Australia, but I look for the specials catalogues to come out & shop accordingly.

Laney4 said...

I use coupons all the time and exchange my "leftovers" with several friends. We don't have double or triple coupon days here either, but I use them almost every week on sale items of products we enjoy. I rarely buy something new with them. I prefer the coupons that say you get it free if you send in their rebate form, as I have tried lots of new things and enjoyed them enough to buy more later by doing this.