Adventures in Couponing

coupons1I think I mentioned once before that I used to be a coupon clipper 7-8 years ago. But when I moved into Manhattan, prices were so ridiculous to begin with that it no longer seemed worth the effort. However, I’m back to my good habits and the savings from smarter shopping go into a jar for charitable donation or whatever I feel like funding through “snowflaking”.

I rarely use coupons at the supermarket because most of the ones for food products are for prepared things. I tend to cook from near-scratch even though I hate cooking – it just makes such a huge difference in my ability to lose weight that I suck it up and do it. So unless I stumble across the rare coupon for Pam, mustard, my fave tomato sauce, that sort of thing, it’s pretty much just me and the weekly circular. Plus, I don’t really count supermarket savings towards my snowflake fund because I have always bought food based on sales. Given the nauseating price differences in things like boneless chicken breasts ($4.59 v. $1.99) and Cheerios ($4.99 v. $2.49), I don’t even consider it an option to buy these things when they’re not on sale.

However, today’s trip to Rite Aid is very representative of the difference between what I’d have spent 2 months ago and what I spend now. The full, non-sale value of everything I bought was $27.30. Some of the things I’d have chosen specifically for the in-store sales price anyway (I’m not brand-loyal for most non-food things), so I would have paid $21.50 with my usual “minimal fuss” approach to frugality. Now throw in coupons and “coincidence sales” (meaning I normally buy the product at full price due to poor planning), and the total came to $12.35. That’s $9/42% less money in the coffers of big business and more in this month’s donation check to The Baobab Home…which is going to be somewhere around the $60 mark.

I hope I haven’t bored you all with stories of nickels and dimes, but it’s been a painfully slow week in the massage business despite the marathon last Sunday. It’s actually a lot scarier for me than I’m letting on here, but I mention it because I’m focusing on what I can control (spending) to keep from panicking about what I can’t (earning).


11 Responses

  1. I like it! Good job. Love these kinds of stories. Is this “weekly circular” a free paper? I usually don’t bother with supermarket coupons either. The two main stores that I shop don’t even take coupons except their own, which are few and far between. But the prices are so good I don’t care!

    How are the tingling fingers? They’ve obviously been getting a LITTLE rest….

  2. By weekly circular, I mean the in-store sales insert rather than actual coupons. I get coupons from the SmartSource, RedPlum and P&G Brands thingies that come in the Sunday papers. I can usually get about 20+ copies of each by digging through the recycling cans in my building on the weekends. Lots of newspaper-reading, coupon-ignoring folks in my neck of the woods 🙂

    Fingers are still tingling. The chiropractor is doing good work on the rest of me, but not having any effect on the tingling. I’m convinced I have a nerve trapped in my elbow or wrist that’s causing this, but I can’t figure out how to untrap it…despite WAY TOO MUCH REST!

  3. Yes, more information on NY would be great!

    I am probably looking for alternative accommodation only because I want to have a kitchen so that we can cook…

    Leanna mentioned that they have apartments you can rent for $1k a week?

    Anyway, email me! brokeinthecity at gmail dot com

    I’d love to pick your brain about this and get recommendations on what to see 🙂

    Friedman Loretta (212)243-5515 80 Fifth Ave. # 1204 New York NY 10011
    Email Dr Friedman at:

    The DNFT referral list only has one chiro listed for NY. I only know west coast people and most of the ones I saw weren’t on their “referral list” (long story). I’d at least email this person and see what she says. Seriously. The people I’ve seen have MAGIC! And it generally is cheaper than regular chiro because they don’t need xrays or an xray machine.

    Each doctor I went to was very unique. The first one I went to would even adjust you with your clothes ON!

    Anyway, my two cents.

    P.S. A dumpster diver!! I LOVE IT!!!!!!

  5. I seem to have forgotten what the term “snowflaking” means. Can someone give a quick definition for that?

  6. Hm, Catmom, I’ve been worked on by half a dozen different chiropractors over the years and none of them ever had me take anything but my shoes off!

  7. really. i guess the dnft people are just different. diversified is the name of the most common type of practice as i understand it. the rack ’em and crack ’em type. i’ve never been to THAT kind so i don’t know their usual procedure.

    guess i should really come up with another name for myself. this “catmom” is seriously lame. i started using it on another website on the spur of the moment and didn’t realize if i carried on it would sound IDIOTIC on another website! sorry…i’m digressing. but i’m totally new to this blogging world. have never been remotely interested before in listening to people’s personal stories. usually they just aren’t worth listening to!

  8. I’m not interested in random diaries, but personal finance is such a tricky, sensitive, and sometimes crass subject to get into in the “real world” that I came looking for people who fussed over all kinds of money-related things online. I liked blogs the best because of their anonymity, openness and personality…and then I just had to join all the cool kids!

    Yes, “catmom” is rather lame. You need a good financial alter ego that has nothing to do with your pets. That should be your project for the weekend.

  9. Catmom, thanks so much for the link to “snowflaking.” You rock!

  10. you’re welcome amy. i’m just a “web hunting fool”. okay moneymate, how about “working poor”? It’s not very upbeat but far more appropriate. I really don’t expect to be hanging out in these financial blogs much longer. I gotta tell you though…the first time I read one of your blogs it was the middle of the night, i was half asleep, i seriously need a new eye exam/better glasses and i thought your name was “monkeymatekate”!

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