That Couponing Craze

We are generic shoppers. We do not buy brand name soups (except Cambell's tomato), we do not buy Kraft mac & cheese, we do not buy cereal in a box. And for the most part, we do not buy anything simple and easy to fix (like mac & cheese) because buying ingredients and making from scratch is almost always cheaper. It's all in the interest of saving money, because feeding a herd of teenagers will break the bank.

But recently, I have become a coupon addict. I have not reached Coupon Queen status yet, but maybe someday I will crowned such. For now, I dabble in matching coupons with sales, and nearly dance a jig when I can drop my bill by 40% of what it would have been.

Couponing has taught me a few things, like brand names, with a good coupon that's doubled, can be cheaper than generic brands. And that once you start buying brand name things en masse, the cash register will print out more coupons for you to use for more of those brand name things. It's like a savings cycle, and I'm just learning how to ride it.

So now we have brand name things in the house, and cereal that comes in boxes. And because we're feeding a herd of teens (and a few others for good measure) we buy cereal like there's no tomorrow. We look like an episode of Extreme Couponing as we're checking out, but TRUST ME, we're not hoarding that stuff. If you've got kids, you know that an entire box of cereal can (and most likely will) be consumed in one sitting, because Kid A has the biggest bowl ever (just before dinner, and another just after), so Kid B has to have a bowl as well because, "hey! New cereal!" This means that Kid C needs to have some, because everyone else is. And then Kid D figures if they don't get a bowl now, they won't get a bowl at all. Kid E (and any others that are currently at the house) have a bowl shoved at them because one can't eat in front of friends and not share. At this point it's pretty much CEREAL DOWN! CEREAL DOWN! and you just watched $2 disappear before your eyes.

We now also know that Box Tops come on brand name cereals, and this makes Luke very happy. He is the Box Top collector, hitting up grandparents to collect since we did not purchase items that sported Box Tops in the past. We do now, though. And not only do we get Box Tops on boxes (and bags) of things that we buy, but sometimes we get bonus Box Tops printed out at the cash register, up to 150 at a clip. On the first day of school, Luke went in with just over 250 Box Tops. He was so sure he'd be the only kid that collected all summer. He was wrong.

That Girl collected, too. That Girl that's been in his class every year since kindergarten. That Girl that's been in his reading group since they started dividing up in 1st grade. That Girl that's been his rival in academics, and a thorn in his flesh. (Side note: That Girl is the cutest thing you'll ever see, and just as kind and sweet as you'd imagine her to be.) And the kicker is, That Girl brough Box Tops to school on the first day and had the nerve to try to undermine Luke's top spot of Box Top Earner. She had 20 less than he did.

Luke has clawed and scratched his way to the top, and he's determined to keep it. My couponing habit is earning him top honors, but it's not without criticism and conjecture. Luke's classmates have started questioning where we get so many labels, but he has an answer. "My mom just keeps buying stuff!"


morvy said...

I'm right there with you! I watch Extreme Couponing with envy. I wonder though, where do they GET all those coupons anyway?

CanadianMama said...

Yeah, I'm not crazy with coupons but I do use them lots and have saved us tons of money with them! And that is wicked for Luke - NICE WORK!!!!!