Monday, December 7, 2009

Learn how to get $114 for $1.62

A Spouse's View on Couponing

The following is the spouse’s point of view. It was written by Christy of The Bargain Jargon’s
husband Steve.
I have always been attracted to the nostalgia of years gone by; the crisp look of a shirt with cuff links, the comforting crackle of an old time radio broadcast, the smell of a freshly painted white picket fence; all of these relics resonant with a warmth that reminds me of the goodness of America. The ties to tradition are entreating; homemade fresh apple pie, cheering the home team at a community baseball game, and sharing pictures of cherished children that make us swell with pride. Tradition has been turned on its head.
When proudly flashing the most recent photo received from your wife, most people would expect to hear something like
“What a cute little pumpkin.”
“I know, my wife took this picture during his soccer game. Isn’t it adorable how his ruffled hair radiates the enthusiasm of youth?”
As the husband of a frugal freedom fighter, however, one is more inclined to hear something like, “What a cute little pumpkin.”
“Yeah, and my wife got it free when she purchased two boxes of stuffing with her coupon from Sunday’s paper.”
Such are the sacrifices made by the spouse of a coupon clipping bargain shopper. Rather than receive adorable photos of my sons playing ball or my daughter as she skips rope with her friends, I get Chronicles of Conquest. These are documentary photographs displaying towers of toilet paper, neatly stacked boxes of corn flakes, or an array of shirts and shorts…pristinely laid out on the floor… empty, rather than filled with any of our cute kids. All are accompanied with the phrase, “Guess how much all this stuff cost me!”
Like the brawny woodsman with giant heads of antlered moose mounted to his log cabin walls, my wife loves to festoon my email in-box with photos of her latest shopping victory. With excitement that is filled with unfamiliar phrases like, “Using my BOGO coupon and applying my Easy Saver Rebate…” my wife intricately details how she was able to combine promotions and clearance sales with double coupons and a rewards program to get $200 worth of merchandise for only $1.67. While the concepts are sometimes hard to follow, like the intoxicating accent of a foreign movie star, her strange jargon and animated narration is addicting and adorable.
I will admit that coping with the almost alarming enthusiasm of someone who has just found a “Buy One Get One” free coupon can be a daunting task at first. Indeed, witnessing a bargain shopper discover that the local grocery store is honoring Double Coupons is akin to watching the frenzied stampede of wild horses that have been deprived of water, suddenly smell a nearby stream. It is best to get out of the way of such unbridled passion and just enjoy the beauty of the seemingly effortless bargain ballet. It really is almost a form of art.
For those who have just recently recognized that their beautiful bride has joined the growing ranks of the frugal fanatics, (a term of endearment) I have decided to offer some FREE advice. (That last sentence alone, containing the word “FREE, has likely triggered the Spidey Senses of coupon sentinels the world over, who, in countless homes across America, stopped in mid-sentence, lifted their head ever so slightly, and while sniffing the air whispered, “I sense the word ‘FREE’ has been posted on the internet. I must go investigate.”)
Coupon Consciousness
The Sunday paper belongs to the mom. If your kids want to read the comics, or if you would like to check on how your favorite sports team faired, these are acceptable desires, but you must surgically extract these sections with the precision of a covert Navy Seals team, carefully ensuring that the ads are not disturbed and that no insert is misplaced. Trust me, she will know if a coupon is missing. She has already researched the matter and knows what coupons should arrive, how they will be incorporated into a comprehensive shopping trip, and whether they can be combined with any other offers resulting in stores paying her to take products from their shelves. (Is that legal?)
Once she has cut out the coupons and arranged them on the dining room table in preparation for the careful cataloging that will shortly follow, do not disturb the staging area! The slightest breeze could blow these wispy coupon treasures from their stacks, causing a panic reminiscent of a government lockdown initiated after discovering that classified computer systems have been breached. If your teenage son begins to run past the table as he heads off to a friend’s house, tackling him to ensure that he does not create a draft may be the greatest display of love and concern for his safety that you could offer. Walking slowly, breathing lightly, and talking softly will all improve your chances of survival.
What’s In Store
It may be prudent to sit down with your children and let them know that they do not live in a Target store. This can be confusing for some children who don’t realize that just because there are shelves filled with endless stacks of deodorant, toothpaste, and shampoo, their home is actually a private residence. Just because they are given a “shopping list” to go to the garage and get food from the abundant shelves to restock the pantry in the kitchen, does not mean that they will be required to wear a clerk’s smock and don a nametag. Stocking up goes hand in hand with coupon clipping and bargain shopping, but you may consider investing in companies that sell shelving materials.
If you suddenly realize that your daughter is invited to a birthday party that you forgot about, don’t worry. Head to the garage and select any one of the many toys that your wife has purchased from the last Christmas clearance sale or toy mark-down event. It may be a bit tricky selecting one toy from the large stockpile, but the birthday girl will never know that the gift actually only cost $3 even though it retails for $45. You may want to explain to your daughter, however, that the garage is not an actual department store, and they don’t have to worry that another “shopper” will come in to purchase their bike or their roller skates.
Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Living with a coupon crusader means you get to be on the cutting edge. That is to say, you are essentially now a perpetual test market. As your bargain beauty gains greater proficiency, she often becomes the recipient of promotional and test market products. Pace yourself and be a support counselor for your children. While it is fun and exciting to sometimes get the latest product in their lunch, some “new” products are better than others. Pringle sticks are cool and some flavors are yummy, but when your son comes home and begs you to talk to mom about not packing the latest “all-natural” fruit bar, be understanding.
When you discover that instead of a Batman theme, your son is going to have a Juicy Juice themed birthday party complete with Juicy Juice gift bags and playing cards, it may be time for reverse psychology. Casually wonder aloud how much money a person could save if they handed out promotional freebies at Halloween to the little trick-or-treaters and let the money saving instincts kick in and do the rest. After all, you shouldn’t be selfish and keep all the wonderful items to yourself.
All in all, being a part of the coupon community is wonderful. You will grow to love and be amazed by the creativity and resourcefulness of your wife. So if you are the victim of a bargain shopping relationship, hang in there. You can survive. Sure you may forget what your children look like because the only pictures you ever get are of great shopping excursions, but you will never run out of toilet paper, and with all the money your frugal freedom-fighter saves, you can go out and buy yourself a nice pair of cuff links to remind you of the nostalgia of America…as long as they are on sale.
This was just to funny to pass up! Hope you enjoyed.