I have recently started a new hobby. I don't collect buttons or stamps or bake home made bread; I coupon. And no matter how you pronounce it, coo-pon or kew-pon, I have become obsessed. I really blame my friends for this. As a kid I was aware that my friends would try to get me to drink and smoke pot, which they successfully did. No one ever told me however, that when you grow up, your peers will pressure you to save money. My friend Tena started me on this quest, then Kandi jumped in and now I hear how Vickie goes to Costco and spends $65 on $200 worth of groceries. I just can't stand it. I want my free stuff too! I have become addicted to shopping at Target. I bought $40 in toilet paper the other day just so I could earn $10 in free gift cards. Yes, I will use the toilet paper, and I split it with my mom, but that wasn't my main concern. I wanted that gift card. Target has started giving gift cards away for special purchases. Last Friday I bought four packages of toilet paper, four bottles of shampoo and conditioner, too much laundry soap and overpriced lady razors because I wanted those gift cards. Now, I grant you, I left with $25 in gift cards that I can use whenever, but I was still unsatisfied because I could think of no reason to buy a no-contract phone from them just for the big $20 gift card. There are five people in my home, all of who have phones. My mother also already has one. I had no reason to buy a hundred dollar phone, and I was a little disappointed. There is bound to be some kind of therapy for this. Oh! And to make my shopping experience worse, I had my son pick out $25 worth of under shirts so that I could use a $5 off coupon that the pharmacy printed out for me when I picked up mom's medicine. Guess what? Yes, I forgot the coupon. I got all the way home, reached in my pocket and found the coupon. So now then I am faced with this dilemma: do I throw away a five dollar coupon? OR do I go back to the store and purchase another $25 worth of undershirts? I can't bring myself to not use that coupon! I only have 8 days left until it expires and it's hanging on my fridge, staring at me every morning. It taunts me. “Wouldn't you like to save $5 with your eggs?” “Hey, while you're grabbing that diet coke, you could be saving $5.” Now, do not point out to me that if I just didn't buy any of the undershirts, I could save $25, that's irrelevant. The point is, I have a slip of paper that says I am entitled to a discount that other, everyday, common shoppers are not entitled to, and I want to use this paper. I want to flaunt it. I want to see the five dollars get subtracted from my total on the receipt. That way, I can see in black and white that I am saving money.
I cannot just run to the grocery store anymore. A grocery store run is a week-long coupon and discount marathon. I start out loading the in-store grocery coupons to my handy store card, that card thing all stores make you have now and no one knows why. Then I get online. I go to all of my coupon sites and print hundreds of coupons. I check mark everything I might ever want to use or see my grandchildren use, even though I'm only 34, and I print everything. Did you know, sometimes, if you buy two bulk mayonnaise jugs, you can get a third one for free? It's true! And I only buy what I can find a coupon for. Tena taught me that. So my pantry may consist of three jugs of bulk mayonnaise, three different brands of yogurt, overpriced gourmet cheese and store brand canned peas, ten for ten dollars! I am perfectly aware that my family does not need three boxes of General Mills cereal and two boxes of Post cereal every single time I go to the store, but it doesn't matter, I have a coupon! I am totally aware that buying the Malt-o-Meal cereals in the big bags is cheaper. My brain knows this. But I don't have a coupon for Malt-o-Meal, so I cannot buy it. I just can't. I have prenatal vitamins. I am a 34 year old mother of three teenagers, I DO NOT NEED prenatal vitamins, as there will be no natals within one hundred yards of me if I can help it, but I have the vitamins for it. I take them actually. They are still pretty good for you, and I got them on sale with a coupon. It was like a tiny miracle for the day.
Oh, man, those are the exquisite days! When what you are buying is on sale anyway, and you have a coupon for it! And if you really want a truly orgasmic experience, have the product on sale, and you be in possession of a store coupon AND a manufacturer's coupon! You can actually hear angels when the cash register finishes. A warm glow follows you through the store as you look at those other pathetic, tool shoppers who just bend over and take anything put in front of them. Poor stupid fools, they have no idea that with just a little patience and seven hours on the computer, they could save .75 cents on their Ziploc bags. Oh, sure they may have one coupon, they may even be lucky enough to hit the sale also, but do they have TWO coupons? Nope. They are just throwing their money out the window while I am reaping the profits and sticking it to the man. It doesn't matter that I have spent well over two days online tracking down every purchase I will make for the week. It doesn't matter that I have driven to five stores in three different cities. The blisters on my hands from cutting real coupons from the paper are of no importance. The important thing is, I saved one and a half dollars on these batteries, and you – You did not!