Let me rephrase that. I didn't clip coupons.
Ok, well, I USED to clip coupons, and then I had a colicy infant, and couponing just didn't hit a high enough priority rating for me to actually take the time to do it.
Also, I save a TON by admatching around town at my local bottom-of-the-barrel grocer. It seems to me that the majority of people who use coupons actually end up spending more than they naturally would, and so I stayed away from them all together. We've maintained the mentality that it's better on our wallet to "do without" something than it is to buy it at a discount. Obviously, something purchased at a discount is more expensive than not buying it in the first place.
So, in December of 2009 I canceled our newspaper subscription. My wonderful neighbor agreed to let me have the grocery circulor's from her paper which made it a pretty good set-up. After all, it had been months by then since I'd even clipped a coupon from our Sunday paper and, although it cost us only $52/year, I wasn't making that back in coupons alone.
I have two friends in particular that are incredible couponers. I am exhausted when I think of all the work they do rounding up deals. They are both careful to match up ads, with coupons, and only to buy what they ordinarily would - often forgoeing even the greatest of deals if it would mean a dollar wasted on something that isn't necessary to buy. I have a lot to learn from these two - but one tidbit I learned this past week was put into practice immediately.
I can't believe I'm about to admit this...
On monday after playgroup I made a stop on the way home. Not at a store, not for lunch. No, I stopped at my local recycling center. Not to deliver my recyclables, no. Wait for it... To dumpster dive for coupons. No joke.
And it was easier than I ever imagined possible. There were three bins for newspapers, each stuffed to the brim with nothing but clean (some untouched) papers. With ease I rifled through them to find the prized Sunday papers and their coupons therein. Ten short minutes (and a few awkward glances from passers by) later I was back in my car, with a content snack-clutching toddler, and a large stack of Sunday coupon inserts. Multiples of the same one even.
It wasn't until I arrived home that I realized the bounty of my find. Although there was a mass of coupons I'll never use (for items I couldn't imagine leaving a store with unless they were down right FREE), my 10 minutes of diving time yielded me coupons for multiple commodities that we regularly purchase - items I consistently wait on sales for to purchase in bulk. Coffee, mayo, creamer, cheese, sugar, toothpaste... and the list goes on.
Now, here's the tricky part. They all have expiration dates. Duh. And because I'm NOT ABOUT to use a coupon on an item whose generic alternative I could purchase for less, I must wait until a deal comes around. That's where a few of my favorite blogs come in handy - these blog writers are excellent at scouting out combinations which lead to nearly free products. It boggles my mind. Really.
So if you ever see my red Forester parked out by the recycling center - give me a kind glance and not one that reeks of "Oh no she isn't!". I'll be sure to shoot you the same glance in return when you join me in the bounty of One Man's Trash.