Both sides of my mouth.

March 5, 2011


The strong emotions behind this rant are kind of gone, so I saved it for a Sunday when I know people are much busier with church and naps and not my rambling.

It’s about the crazy coupon people. This is delicate, because I have a cousin who has a thriving coupon-saving website and I don’t want to say that I think she’s crazy, because I believe she’s actually quite sane.

The trouble started early in the week when I read this article about a woman who gives workshops on how to use coupons to their best advantage and how she went to a CVS to get some stuff and all the toilet paper was gone – purchased by her newly-informed students. Apparently toilet paper is a big ticket item – you can use coupons and then in-store credit and manage to get it for free. I liked how the article described new super-coupon-users as ‘baby vampires’ because they suck the savings up willy-nilly with no self-control.

Then, in my own life, I ran out of milk and started to use up as much of our personal food hoard as possible, noticing all the while that we had all this food that was years past the expiration dates. That has been mortifying because it’s so very, very wasteful.

Coffee creamer for emergency times when I run out of milk. Ironic, eh?

Powdered milk.  Sure, I'll use that!

Instant tea from making Tang Tea.  I never drink that anymore.

I never used ANY of these.  I thought they were sugar cones and they weren't so I just hid them in the cupboard.

Then one evening I watched Extreme Couponing – a show that was much like Hoarders, only in a very organized fashion. These people have rooms and rooms and rooms of laundry detergent, toilet paper, bath items, boxes and cans and bottles of food that would make a church’s food pantry pale in comparison. It was insane! The last man they showed was going on his Best Shopping Trip Ever and bought over $5,000 worth of items for around $250. I was glad that a large portion of that – a couple of dozen crates of free cereal – he purchased for his own church’s food pantry, but not the cart of toothbrushes and the other cart of deodorants.

I am hyperventilating with the memory. It made me angry. They were buying gobs of stuff that they couldn’t possibly use up in 10 years!

Huh. I guess my strong emotions aren’t gone. So, to sum up, I think that reckless couponing to buy items just to have a bunch of stuff for free – without a definite vision of if or when it will get used – is crazy gluttony.

I also understand that I’m incredibly hypocritical about this. I totally love getting stuff at a deep discount and I understand the adrenaline rush those people must feel. I also have an ungodly amount of food in the basement that we all know has gone unused. (I’ve had potatoes rot into a putrid puddle of awfulness.) So I think this is one of those galvanizing moments in life. I think that I won’t be buying so much in bulk unless I am sure that it’s going to get used up. Fortunately I’m pretty set in my cooking habits now, so I know that nobody in this house is ever going to eat canned clam chowder or cup-o-noodles, and I never, ever finish a container of powdered beverage items, so hopefully some of these mistakes can be avoided.

Whew. I bet nobody read this to the end. I know I didn’t. 🙂

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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6 Responses to “Both sides of my mouth.”

  1. Brad Said on:

    I was just noticing how many warm drink materials were in one of my cupboards… hot cocoa mix, coffee, and tons of tea. My problem is that I find out I like something, then decide to buy a lot of it, then lose interest immediately. It’s like my taste buds have ADD. And I’m left with a 144 pack of tea bags. Dang.


  2. Gretchen Said on:

    Here’s my extreme couponing story: At my usual grocery store, if the coupon is for more than the cost of the item, the remaining credit can be used to buy other things. A common product for this is K-Y Jelly. I’ve seen it first hand -- people will buy CASES and CASES of K-Y Jelly and basically use it to finance the rest of their groceries. (if it is $1 and the coupon is for $2 off, if you buy 200 then you get $200 for the rest of your groceries!) I would venture to say that it goes unused.


  3. Peggy Said on:

    I gotta say that I love to save money & I LOVE when I get a good deal on something….but I’m not a coupon user (very rarely). I don’t know why, they just get on my nerves. I buy stuff that’s on sale alot though. Whatever cereal or cookies are on sale that week, meat etc…. that’s what I get.

    I’m with you all the way on the over zealous people having rooms & rooms of stuff that’s unneeded. Stocking up on things while they’re on sale is one thing….but what you’re describing is like a sickness. Whew…that’s one that I don’t have!


  4. Kitt Said on:

    I don’t have the patience for couponing, though if I see one for something I am going to buy anyway, I might snag it. And maybe remember to take it with me.

    I used to get really excited about Groupon, but now it has kind of jumped the shark and all they’re promoting is tanning sessions and oddball restaurants I have no interest in visiting.


  5. Kitt Said on:

    Oh, also? I have a freezer full of expired food.

    And this just came across my reader.


    • Lauren Said on:

      That was a good read! Lloyd and I are kind of like that couple. My problem is that when something is expired in the fridge, I don’t throw it out, I just develop a blindness to it to avoid having to deal with the container. There’s a jar of turkey stock in there from Thanksgiving but I sure don’t see it.


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