How I Learned to Love CouponsBy Winnie Yu for Completely You
When I was single and carefree -- and certainly more flush with disposable funds -- I rarely used coupons. I thought they were tacky and time-consuming. But now that I’m a mom who manages a household, coupons have become a necessity for financial survival.
Every purchase is worth a quick check for coupons, from groceries to spa services. A shopping excursion with my daughters? Check on RetailMeNot.com for 20 percent off on clothing at Old Navy. Printing photos for a scrapbooking project? Enter the company name “Kodak Gallery” and the words “promo code” into a search engine and get 50 free prints if you’re a new member. Looking for a massage? Check Groupon and snag a $45 hour-long rubdown.
Of course, the coupons I use most are for groceries, cleaning products and toiletries. Every Sunday, I scour my newspaper (I get two editions just for the coupons!) and file them in an alphabetized packet. At any given time, I probably tote around $50 worth of coupons.
So when I recently dropped my packet of coupons at Target, I broke into a cold sweat, thinking of the money I’d tossed away. I retraced my steps through the paper products, where I’d last remembered seeing them. Luckily, another shopper returned them to me in the parking lot before I had a meltdown.
Funny, what brings me joy these days.
I hate to think I’m emotionally attached to my coupons. And I hate to think I’m miserly. I’d prefer to think I’m just being a smart consumer, someone who will pay less for the same product or service, by simply forking over a tiny piece of paper. The money saved allows me to make my coupon-free purchases sans guilt.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who has become a coupon aficionado, as you can see here:
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Truth is we live in tough economic times. And as a wise man once said, a penny saved is a penny earned. With inflation, it’s probably more accurate to say a dollar.
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Winnie Yu is Completely You’s mom blogger. She has two daughters and is the author of seven books, including New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding and What to Eat for What Ails You. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Woman’s Day, AARP Bulletin, Prevention and WebMD.