www.moneysavingmom.com and they triumphantly match up coupons and deals and end up with the grocery stores/drugstores almost paying them to leave the store with bags full of groceries and toilet paper. My college friend Gretchen is one prime example. She posted on facebook last week about the haul of cereal, apple juice, olives, and more that she brought home from CVS for a mere $0.58! After rebates come back, she will have made $13.08 on the shopping trip!
How do they do it!?! I may clip coupons sometime, but I flunk at finding the sale, remembering the coupon, and using it before expiration. You see, I have these ideals that someday I too will be able to be that smart and that brilliant and that together. But then I have experiences like last Tuesday and I despair of ever being a good coupon shopper and I wonder how anyone else does it!
Here's the actual story. My current town has two grocery stores: Larry's and Gene's. Last week, I saw that the Larry's sale ad had Life cereal for 2/$4. AND they had a coupon in the ad for $3 off if you bought 5 boxes. AND I just happened to remember that I had an extra coupon for $1 off 2 boxes of Life. I calculated.... 5 boxes of Life for $6? I like that! It's a long way from being paid to shop, but it at least brings the cereal within my budget. And it was simple.
So Tuesday, I went to Larry's. I picked up all my other groceries and headed to the cereal aisle--only to find out they didn't stock the 15oz boxes of Life! They had Oatmeal Squares on the same sale, but my extra coupon said specifically "Life."
Bummer. So I purchased my groceries (sans cereal) and headed to Gene's for the same sale. At Gene's, I found the cereal I wanted - 2 15oz boxes of Life, 2 16oz boxes of Oatmeal Squares, and 1 box of instant oatmeal packets (handy for backpacking trips AND I had a coupon for .75 off!). I double-checked ounces and coupons and ads to make sure everything matched and off to the register - so proud of myself! Until they rang up the cereal. The Life rang up at 3.99/box instead of $2/box. What? The checker looked and decided that the ad only had Cinnamon Life pictured, not regular Life. But they don't stock the Cinnamon Life. Another checker went back to double check. Meanwhile, I'm in the only open checkout line and 4-5 people were lined up behind me. (In Anthony, that's a traffic jam.)
The checker returned, "Never mind, the regular Life is on sale." So they cleared the two boxes and rang them in manually at the sale price. Then I gave them my coupons. The first one rang up okay. The second one didn't. Nor did the third one. The computer didn't think I had the matching items purchased. By this time the checker was frustrated. Skipping the barcode, she manually added coupon amounts and hurriedly gave me the total. I paid and left.
Yes, I got my cereal at a good price, but the hassle? I mean, it wasn't supposed to be this hard! You have three coupons and five boxes of cereal. It's simple. What could go wrong? Why should it take half an hour?
/me sighs. I think being a coupon queen is just beyond me.