Monday, May 23, 2011


I'm always one for a good deal. This weekend I was after one. Four of us got up way too early on Saturday to get the $1 flip flops at Old Navy. Of course the flip flops were what got us to the store, and yes, I did buy a few other things. Excellent marketing strategy. Advertise a "loss leader" and the customer will buy more at regular price. I know how this works. I'm smart. Most of the time. Except when it comes to coupons.

I was watching television this weekend. I needed to just decompress. Gracie had a friend over and they were watching a movie upstairs. Scott was up at our cottage. I had the remote all to myself. I turned on a program about people who use excessive amounts of coupons. Absolutely amazing. It's a full time job for them. Usually the need to save money comes from unfortunate circumstances. Not always, but many times. One woman had lost her job, another was a stay at home mom and her husband had suffered an illness that made it difficult for him to work. One of the obvious places to start was at the grocery store. They collected or bought many papers. These people printed coupons from their computers. They "stacked" coupons. This means that they would use more than one coupon for a single item. They researched the stores in their immediate area and memorized the coupon policies. They researched in store deals and had club cards for particular stores. One woman spends sixty hours a week collecting coupons, printing coupons, researching online and compiling a spreadsheet of all of her deals. She goes to the store with a budget. And of course a list. She knows what her general end price will be. Somehow though, it's always less than predicted. There is always an in store sale that seems to bring prices down lower.

I got to thinking. How would this work for me? Could I devote myself to collecting and clipping. Could I make a plan and execute it to the extremes that these folks did? Well, there is one simple answer for this. No. Are you kidding me? If I can leave the house and remember my purse and list I'm doing well. I occasionally will clip a coupon. I'm lucky if I remember to bring it with me. I really admire that these people featured can buy $1200 worth of groceries and only spend $50. For me, not so much. There are really two reasons for this beyond my forgetfulness. One, I couldn't imagine stockpiling all of the items that these people do. I know that they can live for months/years on what they have gathered. At my house this would go against my simplifying. I'm pretty sure I would break out in hives just imagining all of those items in my house. And there is no way I would ever put shelving up in my bedroom to store stuff! Totally not fitting into the feng shui plan at my house. The second reason this stockpiling wouldn't work for me is that I buy almost all fresh. There are very few if any cans or packages in my kitchen. Toiletries, yes these items reside at my house, but not in excess. The packaging that comes from these item is almost always recyclable.

I shut off the television after watching a marathon of these skilled shoppers. I was exhausted. Probably from waking up with the sun to get the flip flops. I think I was also tired from watching all of these shoppers. I'm glad for them and the success that they have. I'll stick with my "looking for a good deal" kind of shopping. I'm simply just not able to be that extreme.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

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