Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I can't coupon

My other sister-in-law, the middle child of Steve's family, is a coupon diva. She is a shopper to the core, and couponing came into her life as a job from the heavens. She stays at home raising three children - one about to turn 16, the other 12, and one age 8. She discovered couponing about one year ago, and she has mastered it.

Couponing, real couponing, takes a lot of time and effort. It requires extra patience on the side - and a lot of printer ink. I watched my sister-in-law while she was with us this week - she found sale items, opened her trusty coupon binder, and swiftly matched up deal after deal. We scoured the grocery aisles for the low-cost treasures, did a whole lot of math in our heads, and proceeded to the check out counter.

Five bucks. Ten bucks. She rarely leaves the store spending more than $20. Usually for a week's worth of groceries, for a family of five!

I thought I caught on. It looked pretty simple in concept: find the sales, match up manufacturer and store coupons, and buy not when you need, but when something is on sale. Stock up when the price is right. Walk away if the price is not.

Last night, I spent an hour searching for sales and printing coupons. I found two deals worthy of a morning shopping quest. The other coupons, I printed and kept for future use. I ran out of black printer ink, and most of my coupons came out looking pretty bad. This morning, I made it to the store, proud of myself for the $0.25 soap I was about to claim. Store #1 - sold out (we must have couponers in the area!). Store #2 - sold out (ahhh!). Store #3 - had the soap, but would not accept my coupon on top of a 5/$5 deal.

I totally struck out.

I did get a lower-than-usual price on the soap, some cereal, and a body wash, but I paid $10.44 - for a few items. Not good in the couponing world. A true couponer would have walked away.

I went to work, thinking I could print the coupons again (as several would not scan at the store, thanks to my dying printer ink). I searched the sites, clicked, and chose print. It didn't work. I tried again, and our work printer? Is losing blank toner! Once again, fuzzy, non-scannable coupons. Arrrgh.

So I am several hours into this endeavor, I saved a meager $6, and I wasted a ton of time (and ink).

Clearly, I cannot coupon. I will stick to my office job.

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