Up for grabs: our Sunday paper inserts. Seriously, if I wasn’t already fed up with the time and effort I’ve put into clipping coupons, I’d put some time and effort into handing them off to someone else who wants them.
Two things happened yesterday to solidify my coupon hatred, but I’ll tell you about them in reverse order:
I was doing my semi-annual coupon organizer clean out, getting rid of the expired ones, when it dawned on me that each little square of paper was like a message from my past yelling at me: “Rachael! Quit clipping us! Seriously, dude, you’re wasting precious minutes of your life.”
The thing is, I had just spent about 15 minutes cutting out new coupons, many of which were–except for the dates–exact duplicates of the ones I now had to remove because they were expired.
Did I ever use that $1.00 off any Cover Girl product offer? Or the 40 cents off a tube of crescent rolls? Or the $1.00 off three boxes of General Mills cereals? No, nope, and no. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve redeemed any of those coupons in the past year, and yet I keep clipping new ones to replace the old ones. And, all the while, there are WAY better things I could be doing with my time.
Now, you may be thinking that the problem is I’m doing it wrong. And, you’re probably right.
But, I know–at least, I have a general idea of–the “right” way to coupon. Which leads to the first of yesterday’s coupon-centric occurrences: I watched an episode of “Extreme Couponing” on TLC.
I see the methods, and I understand them. I get how it works. But I can’t shake the feeling that getting whole flats of energy drink or Hamburger Helper for free is wrong, somehow.
In the first place, I hate being the person excited to shop with my one puny little coupon for something I really want, only to find that someone got there at the crack of dawn to clear the shelves of that product. In the interest of good karma, I don’t want to be the person who does that to others.
Also, the fair trade educator in me can’t help but wonder who really pays the price for all of this free stuff. Because someone, somewhere, does. I guarantee it.
I’m also quickly becoming a major paper phobe, as each of my children brings home like 20 pages we don’t really need every day, and it’s beginning to feel like we’re drowning in the stuff. I’m sure that’s a contributing factor to my coupon hatred.
Some feel that love and hate are closely linked emotions, perhaps even two sides of the same coin. I don’t know if I believe that, but in the case of couponing, I guess it makes sense. I know the thrill of a great deal, and I’m sure there’s an avid couponer in me somewhere, but I feel that the paper-hating, life-simplifying Rachael has finally wrestled her to the ground.
Where do you stand on the couponing trend? Do you love it, hate it, or land somewhere in the middle?
Rachael McMillan teaches sixth and seventh grade history at Campus Middle School for Girls. She also tutors at The Reading Group and serves as the education coordinator for Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade retailer in downtown Champaign. She is totally in love with her Chambana life, which she shares with husband Scott, second grader Jack, first grader Kate, and sweet, cooing baby William.