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Confessions of a Reluctant Couponer

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I began my coupon… hmmm… what’s the right word here… my coupon odyssey? Obsession? Adventure? Nah. Those words could make my experience sound like these past six months could be made into a Hollywood movie or something. I don’t think a movie about a stressed out woman with her hair standing on end because she hasn’t had a shower in two days, with mascara circles under her eyes because she forgot to wash her face before falling into bed at 1 a.m., with paper cuts covering her hands from thumbing through store circulars and sorting through sheets and sheets of printable coupons, with blisters on her fingers from clipping the darn things, who leaps, Neo-like, through the air to stop her 2-year-old from knocking over the pile of sorted coupons she inadvertently left on the coffee table, would make for a blockbuster movie event.

Maybe I’m wrong. It could be like Bridesmaids – instead of food poisoning, it would be steady weight gain from cheap cookies. Instead of getting kicked off a plane because of any Xanax-addled airplane antics, I’d get kicked out of Price Chopper because of an exhaustion-induced temper tantrum over the price of almond milk.

You’d totally go see that.

I know! The word to describe these last 6 months? Education.

It’s a word that tells a story about my life since that fateful day when I decided to give this a shot: from blissful ignorance on how to use a coupon or where to find them, to late nights cramming (no, literally cramming those coupons into flimsy baseball card sleeves) for the next day’s tests (the shopping trips); completely overlooking large chunks of necessary information for the test questions (forgotten or overlooked coupons, missed coupon expiration dates, misreading coupon policies and coupon usage rules); feeling you’ve gained enough knowledge to stop making the same mistakes, because you’ve finally retained all that information into your brain – collecting, clipping, sorting, matching, usage. It becomes as natural as walking after awhile.

But the main difference between gaining an education on a particular subject in, say, college, and learning couponing is that, in couponing, the sheer effort never goes away. You still have to find, clip and organize those coupons. Every. Single. Week. And then? A whole batch of them expire and all that work goes right into the recycling bin, and then you start all over.

Plus, the rules change ALL the time. Over the course of the past six months, every store I shop at has had at least one change to its coupon policy – some of them pretty significant. It’s like saying, Hey! You think you’re so brilliant, you pretentious little English major? (I can say that because I WAS a pretentious little English major.) Then why don’t you go write a 20-page paper on the implications of changing the character of Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby into, hmmm… let’s see. Cookie Monster!

I’m exhausted.

But, am I quitting? No. I’ve thought about it, but then I see the regular price of, say, dental floss and I run screaming back to my coupon binder, which I hold lovingly in my arms for the rest of the day.

I will never pay for dental floss, deodorant, toothbrushes, shave gel, razors, lotion or body wash again. My binder and I made a pact.

Why? It’s really, really worth it. Each month I pay less for food and household products, yet we have everything we need.

Read more at NNY Life.

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