The conversation started off innocently enough.
Husband: “Hey, Al, I’m out of razors.”
Me: “Wait, what? How???”
Husband: “Um, maybe because the last time you bought me razors was two years ago?”
Me: “But it’s SUNDAY AFTERNOON – the deals have already come out! Everything will be gone! (deep breath) OK….I’m going to go get a newspaper and hit RiteAid. I’ll be back!”
Fear not, Husband has not been scraping rusty blades against his skin for the past few months. No, he has had a full supply of razors that all gush water and make jet-fighter noises as they rid his face of stubble. (That’s what happens in the commercials, so it must be true, right? Oh. Sidenote - I was similarly disappointed as a kid when my maple syrup bottle just sat there and no dirt-fighting little sponges sprang forth from a cleanser can. My mother was less than enthused when I wasted both bottles looking for cartoon characters.)
My good people, so that we can firmly live together in the Trust Tree, I must tell you that I have a slight confession to make. Gosh, this is hard. OK, deep breath. I am a……. coupon lady. There, I said it.
I wasn’t always like this. Three years ago I didn’t give coupons a second thought. Or any thought, really. Then my career switch caused our household income to drastically change and something had to be done because: a) the switch was necessary to preserve what little shreds of my soul remained; and b) my babies had to eat.
It all began with an innocent Google search about “saving money.” Suddenly I found myself immersed in websites where people triumphantly described how they fed their families of 18 on $50 a week.
A light bulb went on. This was our solution! I could continue down my career-changing path AND my babies could still eat – win, win, win!
Coincidentally, a few weeks later, Kmart had the glorious event known as Super Doubles. (This program has drastically changed. Tear.) Basically, Kmart would double any coupon UP TO $2. A $2 coupon was now worth $4. What does this mean? Well, for starters, two years’ worth of free razors for Husband. We are also still working our way through our supply of free Fantastik and Lysol cleaning sprays and Lysol air freshener. We just ran out of free Band-Aids last month.
On my first trip to Kmart, I now realize that I was incredibly unprepared. I only brought coupons for the items I wanted to buy, assuming (pfffftttt!) that all the things I wanted would be there. I ended up buying some hand soap and four boxes of cereal and paid a ridiculous $3 for the whole shebang. I hurtled home and burst through the door, waving my bags.
“HUSBAND!!!! You’renotgoingtobelievewhatIjustdidIsavedallsortsofmoneyandIhavetogetmorecouponsandgobackrightnow!!!” During this stream, I threw the cereal at Husband as I tore upstairs to change and grab more coupons.
There is one detail that embarrasses me about my first couponing experience. No, it’s not the buying 10 boxes of cereal at once. I own my savings. What makes me cringe is how I irrationally decided that I needed to change my outfit before I headed back to the store for a second go. Which I did. I also might have worn sunglasses on my second trip. Um, and a hat. You know, the coupon police and all. (FYI - No, stores do not generally care if you make more than one trip. You’ll thank me when you don’t have buy that fake mustache for days when you make multiple shopping trips.)
After that first day, I enlisted Husband so we could rock two orders per trip. Deep in the throes of heady savings, we’d hit Kmart twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. Because I’m crazy like that, I kept track of our overall cost vs. shelf price – we ended up saving a good 75%.
Don’t worry, I’m not building Jello towers or anything. (Husband: Yet.) We do have a …healthy supply of cereal, laundry detergent and frozen veggies, but it was all free. And I am now a happy soul-filled teacher. Woo!
And yesterday? I got Husband two Gillette ProFusion battery-powered razors for $6. Retail $26. AND I have $5 to spend on my next trip. Boo-yah.
P.S. For those of you that may want to get started, here are some of the deal-compiling sites I like:
For the Mommas - Deals for PA grocery stores, national chain drugstores and Target
My Frugal Adventures - West coast stores
Hot Coupon World - Forums contain previews for deals at most chain grocery and drug stores