Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tightwad Tuesday: "One Man's Trash" (alternately titled: Oh no she didn't!)

I don't clip coupons.
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.


renaissancemom said...

My issue is I clip the coupon then forget that I have it...or leave them in the car during the shopping trip. Hence they expire before they get used and end up in the recycling.

Julie said...

I'm proud of you :-)

Shelle and Dan said...

This post made me laugh out loud! Good for you. I may have to try my hand at the recycle center too. Yesterday I noticed someone dumped their used Sunday paper in the recycle box by my lab and sure enough, there were coupons! You can bet I grabbed those bad boys and cut them up at will!

Hilary said...

Dear Melissa,

Even though you haven't posted in over 2 months, I still check your blog.


Melissa K. said...

Hilary, I really miss you!
there are GOOD reasons I haven't been posting - One reason in particular I should probably blog about come to think of it. This little reason is about the size of a lime right now and won't make an official appearance until just after Christmas.

But alas, I really WILL blog about this delightful event once I find a toddler nap-time where I, too, do not also need a nap.