With my mother passing away in November and then my grandson being diagnosed with cancer in mid-December, there haven’t been too many moments when I have actually cared about my couponing hobby. Oh, there were those three weekends in November when Pamida tripled coupons and David and I made several trips to Dyersville. My adult children’s Christmas baskets were heaping with good deals this year, thanks to those sprees. But in the scheme of things, with hospital visits and grandchildren to babysit for, couponing fell to the wayside. Chapter Twelve of my book takes a critical look at the advisability of extreme couponing and the fine line one can draw between obsessive couponing and hoarding. Watching the TLC “Extreme Couponing” special in late December actually turned me a little off of couponing, and had me re-evalutaing my own obsession.
But it must be in my blood.
This past Tuesday David and I enjoyed a “date day,” our first since our grandson’s cancer was diagnosed. I planned for our date the same way I always have; by clipping coupons and organizing my coupon box. I also made sure to print out my Border’s 33% off one item coupon and add my Christmas gift cards to my billfold. We headed to Dubuque before noon and stopped at Walgreens first, where I scored big on the Kellogg’s Special K cereal, using my Buy One, Get One Free coupons that I printed online. This week Walgreens has the cereal on sale for $2.50 a box, and when you buy two, you get a $2 catalina coupon off your next purchase. With my coupon, I paid just $2.50 to get a $2 catalina. I also found the L’oreal lipsticks (pictured) on clearance for $2.59. I bought 10, used five of my $5 off 2 L’oreal coupons, and paid 90-cents for the ten lipsticks, which triggered a $5 off your next purchase catalina coupon at the register. (buy $15 of L’oreal, get a $5 catalina) The Tylenol Precise products were triggering a $3 off catalina and I had a $6 off two coupon, making the final cost of the two products less than a dollar. The Nature Made vitamins were on sale for Buy One, Get One Free and I had a $3 and a $1 coupon to use, making the final cost for 2 bottles less than $6. The Bic pens were free after store and manufacturer coupon and the Exedrin was free with a coupon I’d gotten in the mail. Not pictured, but included in my spree was oatmeal. Quaker Oats were on sale for $1.50 after in-store coupon, and I had $1 coupons. I had to smile at the checkout when my total savings was $148, and I walked away with catalina coupons to use on our next trip. We also stopped at Target, where I found the Glade cinnamon apple (my favorite scent!) candles marked down to $1.48, and I had four $1 coupons. Their Weight Watcher meals were on sale for $1.80 each and I’d printed out Target coupons for Buy 5, Get One Free, which I could combine with my manufacturer coupon for $3 off 10, making the meals less than $1.25 each. I take these with me when I work at my sister’s consignment store or for a quick meal. If you can find the hair dye with $4 Target coupons attached, you can also use a manufacturer coupon on top of it, making a great deal.
These were “easy” deals that even the most unorganized couponer could do. I didn’t have to think very hard to make it work. It only took me a few minutes to plan and implement the deals at both stores. Of course, I’ve been out of the loop for awhile so I checked www.RefundCents.com before I hit the road, and theat is where I read about both the Special K deal and the L’oreal makeup catalina. I already had the L’oreal coupons in waiting in my box for just such a deal, and it didn’t take much time to download and print out the Kellogg’s and Target Weight Watcher’s coupons. And being paid to take the clearanced make-up out of the store? It doesn’t get much better than that.
After all this shopping, we headed to Bishop’s in the mall, to use a gift card our daughter Rachel had given us. We also had enough punches on our Bishop’s card to net a free meal. Nothing tastes as good as free, does it? So for $6.50 of our gift card, we both enjoyed LIVER and each other’s company.
Then it was off to Goodwill, where we dropped off some donations and went inside to look at books, the perfect ending to a perfect day spent with my best friend.
And I realized that for several hours, I hadn’t even thought about cancer.
Coupon shopping can also be good therapy.