Criticizing Couponers: C’mon, Leave Us Alone!

 

waiting for P&G coupons
Couponers don't care about the dirty looks we get at check out. We still love to get our coupons (especially those P&G newspaper inserts!) To find out when your next P&G newspaper insert is coming your way, click on this photo. Photo: Courtesy of P&G/PRNewswire

Never did I think that couponers would be criticized for their actions. There are certainly more extreme problems in the world than extreme couponers. After reading way too many long and scathing articles about how awful couponers act, you’d think we were a bunch of Bernie Madoffs. C’mon, folks, we’re just trying to cut our grocery bills, not swindle people out of peanut butter.

Now, I’m not an extreme couponer, but I do coupon, and I see the benefits of saving 50 to 60 percent off my groceries at check out, and I will continue to coupon to feed my hungry crew.

I have seen some strange reactions to my coupons, though—from positive to downright rude. I’ve had a handful of people at check out comment that I know how to shop right, to a handful of people at check out give me the once over, tell me they think TLC’s EC show is dumb (I am a fan of the show because I learn a lot from it), then ask me if my family really needs ten boxes of typically expensive cereal and thirteen boxes of juice packs (uh…yes!).

The benefits of couponing became crystal clear the day before school started when I was running ragged through Target, picking up groceries willy-nilly without thinking about cost or coupons. My thought process went something like this: paying this much for single packet Pringles is crazy, but I will get back to couponing once the kids are back in school… I wonder why other people are willing to pay these prices without coupons…how is it that the woman down the aisle can just throw groceries in her cart without coupons or looking at the price?

After the sticker shock of that little shopping spree, I vowed to get back to couponing asap. Happily, I used my Catalina coupons at Stop & Shop yesterday and walked away with my free toothpaste, $1.00 boxes of Keebler fudge granola bars, and paid pennies for Pantene shampoo and conditioner.

Ahhh, it’s good to be back in the couponing business. I can’t wait for the second season of EC to start. And, I couldn’t care less who gives me the evil eye at check out. ~TFF

Adventures in Couponing

recycling bin
Grab coupons wherever you can, even at the town dump's recycling bin--I do! Photo: Courtesy of free images at Dreamstime/Matthew Richardson

Anyone out and about last Saturday night in Fairfield would have found two women dressed in black and wearing heels wandering around CVS, Walgreens, and Stop & Shop hunting down coupons and discussing Extra Care Bucks and how to get free cosmetics. After a mutual birthday dinner celebration (thanks to Groupon), my friend and I wanted to give our husbands and kids more time to themselves (well, we really just wanted to hang out together longer without spending any money!). We both admit–though it’s not for everyone, we had fun walking out of stores with coupons.

That’s just one of my shenanigans when it comes to couponing. TFF went to the town dump yesterday and yours truly asked the kind gentleman who oversees the paper recycling area if I could search for coupons. It felt weird to literally garbage pick my way to a bag full of coupons. I don’t regret doing it, or getting the strange comments from residents throwing in their bags of papers over my head. I still have to get over the feeling of worrying about what others think as I rifle through papers.

But, the bottom line is this: couponing can work. It’s not just saving a buck on shampoo. It’s getting lots of free things for family, friends, and charity. And, as groceries go up and up in price (did you hear the reports yesterday about the rising costs of coffee, in addition to everything else?), I don’t see anything wrong with taking advantage of a tool that the manufacturers and stores want you to use. In the words of one featured woman on the Extreme Couponing show: I think it’s a shame if you’re NOT saving money.

Excuse me now while I go empty out some shelves in my basement so I can stash some stockpiles.

~TFF’s Four Frequented and Favorite Couponing Sites:

Coupon Mom (great tutorials and forums)

Hot Coupon World (great tutorials and forums)

Coupons.com (printable coupons)

Simply CVS (all about CVS and Extra Bucks)

Fairfield’s Not-So-Extreme Couponer

 

tlc show
An extreme haul from extreme couponing. In spite of the show's critics, there are invaluable things to learn from the TLC hit of the season. Photo: Courtesy TLC

Of course I’m hooked on the new TLC show, Extreme Couponing. Buy $1,000 worth of groceries for a penny. I’m just glad I can save $3 on a $25 order! But, I’m willing to try to coupon again. Yes, I’m inspired by the show, but there’s something that has caught my attention: Shell gas stations now accept Stop & Shop gas points! When I learned about that last week, it literally made me feel like I was floating on air. Amazing how gas points can make my day. It’s now worth my time to leave PriceRite to go back to shopping at Stop & Shop now that I don’t have to lose my gas points because I don’t make it to Milford very often.

There’s something else I learned from that show, by the way. Something called e-coupons that can be loaded onto your store loyalty card. Wow. Amazing. But Stop & Shop doesn’t really participate in that. ShopRite does, however. There’s an e-coupon site, called Cellfire that lets you load up some coupons to your card so you don’t have to print or cut them out. But…a big but…there aren’t that many coupons available for this amazing service. I believe Proctor & Gamble has a similar service, but I have not had luck on the site as of today. I do think this will be the wave of couponing, though–paperless couponing.

So, I’m gonna dive in to couponing again. I know it can work (not to the extent of those crazy couponers, though) because I, too, have somehow managed to “stack” coupons and bought some item or two for a cent or less. I amazed myself when I actually did it, but I do see the strategy. However, it won’t happen until I build up my anemic coupon collection. (I noticed I was hanging on to coupons that expired back in February!)

I will report back in between coupon cutting.