Coupons in the news…and in color-coded boxes

This is such a funny trend, and I realize it’s a sign of the times. Every show from Good Morning America to Oprah has had “super couponing” stories in the past couple of months, and they seem to make the late half of each evening news program once a week. That’s a lot of airtime for coupon coverage. But the funniest offshoot is the way people actually call me to read things out of their newspapers about couponing. Oh, what a fun and exciting thing to be associated with. NOT. But I find it vastly entertaining that these are the same people who roll their eyes and laugh at me for my new hobby.

A few days ago, my mother read to me from the front page of her rather thick local newspaper about a woman who saved $250 on her $750 supermarket/drug store shopping that weekend through the use of coupons and sales. Was it because she was impressed? Hah! She was calling to laugh at how much the woman had overpaid because we had recently worked deals on the same products and did MUCH better. Her favorite example was about Schick Intuition razors, which retail for $9.99 – the woman being interviewed bragged about using a $4 coupon against a $5.99 sale price somewhere. Mom snorted. We’d gotten 8 Intuition razors/refills for free at CVS. Then there was the Kraft salad dressing dea – right after they put out a $1.50 coupon, several stores put them on sale for $1.49-$1.59. Huge no-brainer, even for people who hardly ever use coupons. I had mailed 6 of those coupons to my mom to do the deal on my behalf at her supermarket, and she said everyone in line had a bottle or two. Her tone very much implied that this “advice” wasn’t at all newsworthy. I took great pride in having her say “we could have done a whole lot better”.

On a sidenote, the easiest way to stop the friendly ridicule of shopping for free, i.e. couponing, is to give them a bag of their favorite products, stuff they would have paid about $40 for even on sale, and tell them you paid 65 cents for it all. Their eyes bug out and it feels like Christmas to them. My best friend is very brand-loyal and just gave me her list of preferences today, and it turns out I’ve got quite a few of them in my stockpile already. Littlest sister Starfish is once again getting a “purple box” – a box full of all things purple, no matter what they are, as long as they’re useful – which currently contains Olay Ribbons body wash, lavendar-scented Dawn dish liquid, Skintimate shave gel, Theraflu with the purple cap, and grape-scented L’Oreal For Kids shampoo (inside joke, because she always wore sickening grape Bubblicious-scented deodorant and body sprays when she was a tween/early teen). Bridezilla picked lime green for her box, and so far I’ve got Scrubbing Bubbles Action Scrubber, Garnier Nutritioniste face scrub, Doublemint gum, a clementine & ginger body scrub, and Tresemme curl spray. I’m also doing a box for Starfish’s boyfriend because I have a very warm place in my heart for a young man who runs through fire for someone I love, literally. She said navy blue, and so far I’ve got Lysol toilet cleaner, Right Guard pro deodorant, Pledge multi-surface cleaner and Crest Pro-Health Night toothpaste. I know, exciting, right? Remember, all three live in Aspen, where there are no chain stores, ridiculous prices on everything, and no sales. This stuff actually does excite as well as amuse them. Lucky me – and them!

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5 Responses

  1. Shipping it to Aspen will prolly cost more than the stuff!

  2. Won’t be shipping it – there are usually some summer trips back and forth between us all. Worse comes to worse, I’ll haul it all in my Samsonite come September for Bridezilla’s wedding.

  3. That is just too cute. I love the idea of different boxes!

  4. I love the idea for the boxes, that’s pretty cute. I may try that out on my sister…assuming, of course, that I ever figure out the coupon game. But, the boyfriend’s box was too funny! Toilet cleaner? Hehehe. I’m sure it wasn’t a personal dig at him, but it made me laugh. Although, I’m quite curious about the fire story now!

    At any rate, I’ve read some stories about coupons recently of well and I always wonder if you could do better. You always amaze me the amount of free stuff you get! One of these days I’m going to have to pick your brain and learn a thing or two!

  5. Kristy – the color boxes are just too much fun to put together. The more ridiculous-yet-useful the items are, the more fun it is!

    First step towards “shopping for free” – pick the chain store you want to learn first. I recommend CVS over the other drug stores, and your favorite supermarket. Then get all the coupon inserts you can from the Sunday papers you have access to. This weekend’s should be especially good.

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