Thursday, October 6, 2011

its "cou-pon" not "cue-pawn"

Apparently, I say coupons with a southern drawl. My hubby finds this amusing. I pride myself on having been told by many people that I don't have an accent. One woman guessed Minnesota (?!) but otherwise I've only ever heard that I speak accent-neutral - at least by U.S. standards. So, to find that I had a sneaky-southerner in my vocabulary was not a happy day, but it's becom a running joke and I'm not sure I could pronounce the word any othe way now. Say it with me "cue-pawn."

As my domestically-challenged status slowly started to change, I began to use the word more frequently. I embarked on a mission to see what the big hulabaloo was with the coupon business. Like many others, I had seen a few episodes of TLC's Extreme Couponing, and was curious. I had no interest or ambition to buy another home in order to store massive quantities of detergents and toilet paper nor did I want to have to bust out logarithms or crazy mathmatical equations to go to the grocery store and feel good about my day. I did, however, want to find a medium between paying full price and...well...the extreme.

The more involved I become, the more opinionated I am about coupons. Here are my rants - directed primarily at companies giving (or not giving) coupons.
  • Any coupon below $0.50 is generally not worth my time to cut (This goes for you Pillsbury, Charmin and Bounty). The amount of the coupon should be proportional to the cost of the product - no, I don't have an algorithm for this, but I'm sure someone could come up with one.
  • Don't put "Do Not Double" on any coupon under $1.00 - and ESPECIALLY, don't put "Do Not Double" on a coupon for $0.35 (I'm looking at you Hilshire Farms).
  • If you're going to make the coupon require the purchase of more than one item, then $1.00 off or above is appropriate for 2, $1.50 for 3, etc. (having to buy 4 cans of Pringles to get $1.00 off doesn't do me a whole lot of good when the 4-can total is $8.00)
And, some shout-outs to the grocery stores/pharmacies that I frequent.
  • Thank you Harris Teeter for Super Doubles, Triple Coupons and doubling up to $0.99 on a regular basis. Awesome - and fun! Also, your e-Vic specials are amazing - with coupons, I've purchased toilet paper for $2.77, and 2 bags of Pampers for $11.00 ($5.99/bag).
  • Thank you Bi-Lo for your 10 for $10 and B1G1 sales - have made some good finds on soup and Pampers wipes.
  • Thank you CVS for your Rewards program - I don't always use it because I don't always need what you put on sale, but when I do, I love "free money!"
  • Thank you Lowes Food for the occasional $10 off a grocery purchase of $50 or more, for doubling coupons every day and for consistently great customer service!
Finally, some thoughts on how to find the middle ground and overall benefits.
  • If you don't need it, don't buy it. Finding a sale can be addicting, but if you don't need it then it's a waste of money no matter how great of a bargain it is.
  • As a benefit, we have started trying new products that we would not have without coupons and bargains. Some work, some don't.
  • We actually have food in our pantry and refrigerator in the event that we have guests and would like to eat a meal at the house (novel idea!).
  • If you're considering the plunge, remember that the best savings are when a sale pairs with a coupon. Just a coupon is good, but the sale/coupon combination is the kicker.
I'm getting a bit better and having a stockpile in place means I can focus each trip on updates instead of full-on meals. This past week I spent $9.72 at CVS and saved $27+; I spent $53.93 at Harris Teeter and saved $40+. Not going to make it on any TV shows, but my family is pretty well fed and clean.

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