Please understand. I love saving money as much as the next person....maybe more. I've often said that bargain shopping is my varsity sport in the University of Life. I use coupons almost every time I shop. I can work a few deals with the rewards programs at the drug store. I carry unit prices around in my head so I can know if a sale price at one store beats a regular price at another. That one gets me some strange looks...yes my head is filled with random, useless pieces of information such as how much a pound of bananas costs at all 4 grocery stores in my area!
My children know that in order for something to get into the grocery cart it has to fall into at least one of three categories.
1) It is on the list because it is a need and not a want.
2) It is on sale for a good price and we will definitely use it in the near future.
3) It meets criteria #1 or #2 and there is a coupon for it.
We even play this little game called "The ___________(insert name of store) Game" We watch the running total as the items are scanned, then watch the total decrease as rewards cards are scanned, then coupons are scanned. The way to win the game is to get your actual total to be less than the "saved" total on the slip.
Then Mommy does the Money Saving Dance of Joy out to the parking lot. (I have promised my pre-teen to never release video of this dance for fear of YouTube viralness before he gets to high school.)
But I fear I will always be a simple bench warmer or practice squad member in this competitive sport of extreme couponing. You see, I have never been able to get my totals down to the levels of the starters and MVPs. I clip. I organize. I scour store ads for sales that match my stash of Sunday inserts. I make my weekly menu around what is on sale to maximize savings. But in spite of all my best efforts, I have yet to get a total that matches what you see on those television shows.
I finally figured it out though. I have a few obstacles that no amount of extra training will overcome.
For a long time I lived in a state that charged sales tax on everything...including food. There was no way I was getting out of the store without paying my 7.85% on the pre-coupon/rewards price of the items I was purchasing. In that state I also had only 1 store in the area that doubled coupons, and even then it was only up to 50 cents. Of course it was the most expensive of the stores.
Now that I live in a state that doesn't tax food, I have hit another obstacle. No grocery stores here double coupons...at all.
And so, I am sorry to say that you will most likely never see me perusing the aisles while being followed by a television crew and adoring fans clamouring to learn my shopping savvy secrets. I will still have to hand over hard earned cash when I leave a store with items in my bag. I have gotten better over the years, and learned a few tricks to pass on to others, but cable TV programs will not be calling me any time soon.....
because I missed the class on that.