A Lesson in Extreme Couponing From the Checkout Lane
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I was rocking our weekly grocery shopping trip solo this past week. We have found out it is nearly impossible to get shopping done with our son in the cart. I have never seen so many things fly off the shelves or temper tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants.
My wife and I don’t even like grocery shopping much, but we do need to eat. Our latest strategy is to have one stay at home with our son and the other get their shop on. I have been the lucky one for the past two weeks. Yay!
I learned my lesson before shopping without a grocery list, so now I always have a list. This is especially true when I am buying our weekly meals. We plan out two large meals and then eat leftovers for the rest of the week. We have done it for years and it saves us a good amount of money and time.
In addition to the list, I like to get in and out relatively quickly. I have better things to do than sit around grabbing produce to see if it is ripe. “Does this feel firm to you?”
Stuck in line watching Extreme Couponing
This week’s shopping experience was on pace for one of my records. I was whipping through the the aisles putting in my items. I always make sure to compare prices with the items I need, but I don’t sit around comparing every little item. As I turn the corner to the checkout lanes, I see they are filled with people. Dang! I look through to see where people are and how much are in their carts. I found a lane that looked promising. Oh, was I wrong.
Right after I pulled in, I noticed the lady in front of my was of the extreme couponing type. She had a binder full of coupons and a cart full of food. She definitely had a system in place for sure. She was relatively quick with her system, but it took the checkout cashier forever to get through all of her coupons. I have voiced my displeasure with the extreme coupon practice before and now I was behind someone doing it.
Before you rip me for being inconsiderate, I didn’t bother the lady in front of me or tap my foot in disgust. I sat there and looked at the items in my cart to see if I had everything. I also took the time to observe the process. I don’t fault this woman or anyone who wants to save money on groceries. There is nothing wrong there. As I compared our two carts, I noticed something which keeps me from ever couponing to the extreme.
What Food Did You Buy?
This lady’s cart was full of food. First world problem, I know. As I look at her items on the checkout belt, I noticed a trend. They were either frozen dishes or sugar-laden crap. Maybe she likes this stuff. I don’t know.
She did have some milk and a few fresh produce items. All of the rest of her cart and her son’s was just junk food. It was all brand name, which tends to be the way with coupons. Brands provide coupons to get people to buy their products. That is a great way to do it. Unfortunately, I don’t care to purchase this type of food.
My wife and I love eating fresh produce. Most of our grocery bill every week is on fruits and vegetables. We also have to purchase lactose-free milk for our son. He is guzzling that stuff down like it is candy. We can’t keep up.
Needless to say, this milk is expensive. It also rarely ever comes with a coupon. During the summer months, we get most of our produce from our local farmer’s market. We then only go to the grocery store for the dry goods and some frozen items.
Can You Coupon with Healthy Food?
I really don’t care to save money on my groceries if I have to buy frozen dinners, soda, and junk food. There is no point. While I do love to save money, I don’t want to sacrifice what I eat. This isn’t my first extreme couponer spotting either. I have seen quite a few and each one had similar items in their cart. The lady in front of me only had to pay for the produce she wanted, so her total was like $20 for nearly $175 worth of groceries. Not bad, right?
Unfortunately, it just isn’t for me. I don’t have to patience for it and when I go through the coupon clipping section, I never find anything we actually eat. There is no point in saving so much money if you don’t eat the food in the first place.
The stores in my area don’t have coupons for produce. Most coupons come from big brands and they don’t supply most of the produce. Unless we change our eating habits, extreme couponing and buying junk food will not have a place in our household. I encourage anyone to use coupons and we typically do, but I won’t waste my time searching for coupons just to save an extreme amount on frozen dinners and processed junk.
What do you think of Extreme Couponing? What’s the most you’ve ever saved in one trip to the grocery store? What types of food do you usually find yourself putting into your cart?
Photo courtesy of: rose3694