Your source for post apocalyptic toilet paper

A few months back, L came home with a whole bunch of information he had received from a couple of ladies who did a seminar about “How to Save a Shitload On Your Groceries” (the name may have been slightly different than that) at his workplace.  A workplace, I should mention, that has absolutely nothing to do with groceries. Or coupons. Or anything remotely domestic, really.  A full five minutes into his spiel to me about how the whole coupon revolution would totally work for us and save us lots of dough I was still like, “Wait. You went to a coupon seminar? At work? On purpose?” and he had to start all over again because it was clear I couldn’t hear him over the WTFs in my head.

Somehow a week or so later, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to try out this new system of grocery shopping. The whole premise behind it is that you buy things when they are on sale with coupons that you diligently save over weeks and months in meticulously organized binders with dates and indexes and Excel spreadsheets and then you access the super top secret Pentagon list of savings through the website that you pay to subscribe to.  Then you buy as many of each item as you can and store them in your pantry, attic, closets, outdoor shed, or nuclear fallout shelter. Then, in theory, your grocery bill shrinks and shrinks over time as you create your own grocery store in your house, with $0.19 toothbrushes and $2.00 jumbo boxes of Tampax.  And then you break off from society and create your own government where you are the supreme dictator of all you……oh wait, that’s something different.  I always get our family projects mixed up!

Anyhoodle, you can imagine that my level of domesticity does not really include things like Spend Two Hours on Grocery Spreadsheet, but desperate economic times leads people to try all kinds of kooky ass shit, and I am not immune to this phenomenon.  But let me tell you, a trip to the grocery with two kids and a very specific list (“Ban Girl Deoderant, ISLAND FRESH SCENT ONLY, Buy 4!!!”) that requires more than a modicum of concentration feels kind of like competing in a triathalon.  (I mean, you know, I’m guessing.)  Back when Rosie was small enough to fit in the baby carrier, I would have to lie down for an hour after a grocery store run. Inevitably I would have spent most of the trip with a 17 pound baby strapped to my chest pushing my semi-truck-sized car cart across the entire length of the store at least six times because I could not find the location of the (75% off so says The List) No-Nonsense No Show Athletic Socks. Because I had not previously been in the habit of shopping for my clothes at Kroger.

A few months in, I’m not sure how it’s worked out for us.  Sure we’ve gotten tubes of Colgate for $0.29, and we’ve been able to afford more name brand and/or organic things, but there have been weeks that I’ve spent 4 hours grocery shopping and realized that all we have for dinner is a giant bag of white rice and a gallon of mustard.  The main kink in the plan though, as far as I can tell, is the fact that by the time I get halfway through my list, my eyes are so glazed over and my nerves are so frazzled that I end up at the egg section trying to decipher which carton of free range organic eggs I’m supposed to be buying in bulk and I snap. And I think SCREW IT. I DON’T CARE IF THESE EGGS CAME FROM ACID DROPPING PROSTITUTE CHICKENS IN A BROTHEL. JUST PUT SOMETHING IN THE CART AND GET ME OUT OF HERE.  And then I beeline out of the store, but not before tossing five pints of Häagen Dazs, 12 bags of Doritos, and a case of Sam Adams in the cart.

So, I don’t know, that may not be saving us a whole lot of money.

I guess I’ll keep on plugging though, seeing as how I have approximately five biznillion coupons in my possession.  But I dream of a day when I go to the grocery store with enough money in the bank not to have to penny pinch every item that gets tossed in the cart.  And on that glorious day, I will choose my foodstuffs not by yellow tag, but by PURE DESIRE.  And I will hold NOT a bulging coupon envelope.  And in my bag upon checkout, there will be but ONE of each item.  And that item SHALT NOT BE IN JUMBO SIZE.

Amen and amen.

6 comments

1 Sam { 06.15.09 at 9:16 am }

You seriously crack me up! That was awesome, and you know what, good for you for trying it out! Hang in there!

2 Trenches of Mommyhood { 06.16.09 at 9:52 am }

Kudos to you for attempting it! Can you believe there are people out there who actually do this FOREVER AND EVER AMEN?? I’m sorry, but when I need Ben & Jerry’s, I NEED IT.

3 Laura { 06.16.09 at 10:51 am }

I’m still laughing at stocking the fall out shelter with TP! Hillarious! I’m amazed by the number of people who make frugal grocery shopping a full time job. Like those who come out of Walgreens and somehow MADE money on their cart load after double coupons and rebates. Guess I value my time more than a few bucks and the frustration that you so eloquently expressed in your post!

4 Darth { 06.16.09 at 1:40 pm }

Clipping coupons is usually not worth the time and trouble – half the time I go off to the store FORGETTING the coupons anyway. HOWEVER: Some stores (Publix near us) has weekly “two for one” deals – a different set of products each week. When this happens on a product THAT WE USE, I stock up! It’s not unusual for me to store 6-8 boxes of a particular cereal, or bar-soap, or soup, or fruit juice, or other things that KEEP and that WE USE. It defeats the purpose, of course, to try to shape your shopping around whatever is on sale or to buy whatever you have coupons for. My Dad used to do that, and wound up with lots of stuff that got discarded after the cans rusted . . .

5 Paige { 06.16.09 at 9:49 pm }

I am SO with you baby! Like I can juggle a babbling 15 month old, and a pulling the stuff off the shelves and reading ALL the labels all the while saying Mom LOOK they have this and this and this and this and this… etc you never take me to a store 14 Year old and a very talkative, over the other two of course, 5 year old. With all that going on, I am soooo lucky to get out of the store without screaming at the kids in public, much less with some kind of price/ coupon, shopping savings! You keep on couponing – while you have your sanity, that is.

6 Shayleen { 06.16.09 at 11:30 pm }

I too got sucked into the COUPON world. I have decided that i don’t want a full time job of coupon cutting and spreadsheets, but i am a sucker for a good deal. So far I have found a few of them, and maybe one days I will get the hang of all of it.

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