It snowed on Monday and the roads were too bad for me to make it to Dyersville and the $1 a bag book sale.
Yesterday I had to pass right by the turn-off which would have led me to Monticello and a bag sale at a consignment store. My daughter Emily needed to go to the doctor and I’d promised Katie a chance to shop Borders for her 11th birthday, which was the day before. We couldn’t go on Tuesday because my other daughter, Elizabeth was stuck in waiting rooms in Iowa City with Jacob, who could celebrate his last radiation treatment. Well, he could celebrate if he ever got out of the hospital, but each appointment (radiation, chemo, then medicine at the pharmacy) meant another lengthly wait. I, in the meantime, held a 2-year-old feverish Jo-Jo the entire afternoon. And read a Jodi Picoult book in the process, House Rules. An entire book in one day, how decadent and lovely.
During the week my mother was dying, I missed a Walgreens sale that would have netted me at least 20 bottles of body wash for free.
I didn’t make it to Dubuque or Cedar Rapids in the week after Christmas because of hospital visits and babysitting, and frankly, I could care less if I missed some 75% off Christmas sales and cheap flannel sheets.
If we miss some of the good deals, its not the end of the world. There will always be another sale.
I’ve been couponing for so long, I may have lost some of my perspective, but there have been times in my life when I’ve almost hyperventilated, gotten sweaty palms, and experienced extreme anxiety thinking about missing a book sale or a Target clearance sale. I’ve driven through blowing snow and traveled treacherous roads to get to a sale.
That time is gone.
Does that mean I’ve lost my edge? I’m lagging behind in the race to the finish line in the land of good deals? Does it mean I am no longer a~ gulp ~Coupon Queen?
I’ve been clipping coupons since I was 10 years old and offered to cut coupons from the Sunday paper for my mother. Wow, free money, I remember thinking, my mother can take this piece of paper into the store and get twenty-five cents off the price of Cheerios. It seemed almost magical to me, that a little piece of paper could make a difference in a price, and all you had to do was cut it out and use it. It still amazes me a little, except now what amazes me is that not everyone will bother to cut out that piece of paper. Or peel off the coupon attached to a box. Or that someone might actually reach past the boxes with the peelie coupon attached and deliberately choose one without. I saw a woman do that at the grocery store shortly before Christmas, where $1 peelie coupons had been attached to Nabisco crackers. This woman’s arm stretched out in front of me, reaching for the single box without the coupon, the one well above our heads. I turned and stared at her a little too long, wondering what in her life made her avoid that $1 savings. If she’d seen a dollar bill on the ground, would she step over it?
I’ve missed a lot of sales recently. Have I lost my savings edge, or just gained perspective?
In the grand scheme of things, a few less body washes in my cupboard isn’t going to matter. I’ll still be missing my mother and worrying about my grandson. I still have a book to complete and a house to clean. If I don’t buy the Target 75% off flannel sheet sets, I’ll likely find another 75% off sale before I actually need sheets, and I might avoid having to face deer and snowflakes on my beds in July. (I like using flannel sheets year-round) Amazon might have rose print flannel on clearance in February again, or a set of sheets may be priced at $4 at a yard sale this summer. And I didn’t even have to go out of town to find perfume sets and Christmas candles marked down. I could use those $5 Coty perfume and $1 Glade candle coupons before they expired without even leaving our humble burg. I stumbled on those deals right here in Manchester when I was searching for drain cleaner. Without trying very hard, I can still find ways to fill my shelves with free Tone’s spices and my Christmas closet with inexpensive body wash gift sets. Despite my busy schedule, I can plan some strategic shopping sprees at Walgreens or Target. I can plan to go to Hy-Vee tomorrow for a 12-hour sale and come home with free toothpaste and Premium crackers. I can sell four boxes of books at HalfPrice books while I’m in town and check the local thrift store for 25-cent deals. I can note a local sale ad for Softsoap hand cleaner that combined with my $1 off two coupons will cost me only 9-cents a pump.
There will always be another book sale, another clearance sale, and another chance for good deals. I’m not about to give up my coupon box.
Or my crown.