I was hooked.
Sure, it cost some money up front. Sure, it got some strange looks from passersby. Sure, it even consumed my evenings and weekends. But I was saving money. I was stockpiling all sorts of necessities. I was guaranteed to never pay more than 50 cents for a tube of toothpaste ever again.* I was couponing. Not the fill-up-five-carts, clear-the-shelves kind of couponing, but I was couponing nonetheless.
And I got really good at it. I knew where to score cheap Sunday papers (thanks, Dollar Tree!). I knew which friends and family I could hit up for more Sunday coupon inserts. I knew which cashiers at Target wouldn’t roll their eyes at me when I used a MQ (clipped, printed, or peelie), TQ, and Cartwheel.** I knew how to score freebies on tons of items that we used regularly.
Then everything came to a screeching halt.
As I was wont to do after most of my couponing triumphs, I texted a photo. Contained in that photo were two jumbo bottles of contact solution with the caption: Free! Score! Saved over $20! Rather than replying back with her usual adulation and misused abbreviations, she sent a response that stopped me in my tracks: Good thing. U don’t wear contacts.
That’s right. I don’t wear contacts. Neither does Mr. P nor does anyone else in our family for that matter. Sure, I could probably track down a third or fourth cousin*** who wears contacts, but I’m not all that eager to kick start a family reunion over contact solution.
Fortunately for me, there is a nearby women’s shelter that accepts donations of all sorts of toiletries – including this contact solution. Still, it was a pretty big wake up call for me when I realized I was couponing for things that I didn’t need. While I haven’t ended my relationship with coupons entirely, I’m much more of an occasional user now. I find that in the long run, a more relaxed take on couponing saves me time, money, space, and sanity.
*If you’re a couponer, I know what you’re thinking.: 50 cents for toothpaste? Amateur. I score that free all the time!
**If you thought coupon would be abbreviated with a C, you thought wrong. And yes, couponing does have its own language.
***Do fourth cousins really exist? What about third? I’m pretty sure I can only follow the logic for first cousins. Maybe someone could draw me a picture.
So tell me…How often do you buy things that you don’t need? Are you a fan of coupons?