Anyone who has followed this blog since its inception in 2009 is well aware that I used to share a lot of stories about my couponing adventures. In fact, the posts up until late 2011 still exist in the archives of this blog. Later, as I worked on a book about the history of couponing and refunding, I began a separate blog, the Crazy Couponer. For three years, from late 2011 until early 2014, I also conducted couponing workshops and wrote a weekly coupon blog for the Telegraph Herald newspaper.
Couponing has been a huge part of my life.
In fact, it has been such a big part of my life that if you’d told me even five years ago it wouldn’t always be, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d lived and breathed a couponing lifestyle for more than 30 years.
I’d gone from a purse-sized coupon holder in my early days of marriage, to a coupon box, and finally, a coupon binder.
My younger children were raised with a mother who roamed alleys and trash cans for stray labels. They knew the bounty underneath the Christmas tree was a direct result of their parent’s forays in recycling bins. While I was writing articles for refund and home business magazines, I didn’t think of it so much as a home business, but more of a way to save money.
This short column from an April 15, 1987 issue of the newspaper I now work for made me think about that old lifestyle again.
Evidently, my couponing and refunding was a “cottage business.”
My last blog posting about couponing coincided with my last coupon workshop in April 2015. While I haven’t given up couponing entirely, I did finally become weary of writing the coupon column and conducting the workshops. I miss both, but I was also beginning to feel like an imposter. Who was I to hawk the benefits of extreme couponing when I wasn’t doing it myself? The loss of my shopping partner in March 2012 began the downward spiral. Being thrust into the workplace in late 2014 made coupon shopping sprees less feasible.
I briefly resurrected my couponing hobby and enthusiasm to be filmed for a documentary on couponing.
By then my coupons had been moved from a binder into a simple white envelope I carried in my purse.
I don’t know if I’ll ever return to doing couponing workshops. I had such a huge stockpile of extra health and beauty items back then, it was easy to fill baskets for the giveaway I’d do during every workshop. Now, while my cupboards aren’t bare, I no longer have the stockpiles. But I do have a two-hour power point workshop on my laptop and an awesome coupon tablecloth I’m not sure what to do with. (yes, my son Matt and I made an entire tablecloth out of old coupons)
But I did get tired of paying full price (gasp!) for shampoo and deodorant. While I doubt I’ll ever return to the coupon binder days, I recently invested in a $6 coupon holder that I thought might help me jumpstart my coupon use.
I was right. The day after the coupon holder arrived, I clipped the stack of coupons I had on hand, before checking out Coupons.com for coupons on products I already use. Then I encouraged my daughter Katie to drive us to our destination while I filed the coupons in the holder. That first shopping trip post-coupon-holder netted a whopping $35 in savings, for a little over one hour of clipping and filing.
That might not net me “Coupon Queen” status, but I do have to admit it felt good, even if I’ve lost my touch and forgot to set everything up, scan the receipt, and share my savings with readers.