for xmas, i gifted myself with a subscription to the sunday paper. it’s minimally cheaper than buying it at the store, and conveniently delivered to my front door before 7 am. thus, i can stay in my sweatpants and be lazy and not brave the cold cold walk down to the sketchy sketchy 7-11. or so i had hoped! first sunday, NO PAPER. i figured maybe it just took them a minute to get the party started. last sunday, NO PAPER AGAIN (later resolved with an agitated call to the circulation department- i hope)! thanks to a 7 hour a chorus line rehearsal on sunday, i didn’t have the time or energy to go get one on my own. i hit the grocery store on tuesday, but sadly, there were none left. a couponless week! what’s a girl to do!?
when i first started my coupon clipping adventures over a year ago, a moment like this would have sent me into a panic spiral. to think of all the deals that i would miss, the freebies loaded into the carts of strangers that wouldn’t be available to me without those magic slips of paper… i don’t remember if i ever cried over such a situation, but i also don’t remember not crying. when i first started out, i would get a crazy high off my deal mongering and would hit multiple drugstores multiple times per week- often spending hours in the aisles trying to cobble the perfect deal (poor boyfriend left to languish in the car).
but then, i kind of got over it.
i don’t have any idea how extreme couponers keep the ball rolling… it’s so much pre-planning and work! after a while, my coupon energy ramped down and my desire to have every single deal faded away (my stockpiles grew too large… i ended up with items i couldn’t use or donate…i was fucking tired…). if i missed a newspaper, so what? if i forgot to bring my coupons to the grocery store, meh!
i still go through peaks and valleys of coupon focus/mania, but in terms of the emotional highs and lows that i used to hit, i have figured out a few things along the way that are guaranteed to always talk me off the ledge:
1. deals are cyclical: for the most part, if a deal comes around once… it will come around again (and again and again). otherwise, it was for a product that wasn’t successful/good enough to make it anyway. and who needs a whole bunch of diet mouth spray anyway?
2. don’t waste your life searching for the holy grail: i remember my first big extrabucks score ever was “buy two neutrogena products, get $10 ECBs in return”, and someone in some forum had figured out that the $1.99 soap would work. it was amazing, and i haven’t stumbled across another killer deal like that since. definitely keep the eyes and ears out, but most months you don’t get to spear the mammoth, and that’s totally ok.
3. all is never lost: if you’ve missed the paper and there’s an amazing coupon that you absolutely need… you’ve got 2 decent options: #1- dig through people’s recycling bins on trash day. perhaps a bit embarrassing, but you’ll get what you want (possibly several), and you won’t have to pay $1.75. #2- use a coupon clipping service. if you’re too busy/lazy to go get the paper and clip out what you want, you can be guaranteed that a family of uber-wholesome homeschooling baptists are happy to do the work for you (for a small fee). the coupon goddess SWEARS by her clipping service, and she’s one exceptionally smart cookie.