I’ll tell you about the first time that it happened.
We were newlyweds. Knowing that I loathe trips to the grocery store, Kellan had offered to go with me. Our cart quickly filled, and we made our merry way to the checkout line where we innocently parked our loot behind a petite blonde. [Henceforth known as tinyblondething.] We watched with mild interest as her total crept to over $280.00—and then, it happened.
Do you have any coupons?
With great flourish, tinyblondething whipped a fat stack of coupons out of her purse, and handed them over. I watched with morbid fascination as cents and dollars began peeling off her total, until at long last, her final bill was well under $70.00. Tinyblondething smugly trotted away with her stolen goods, looking for all the world as though she’d just cured cholera instead of saving $1.29 on Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Then, it was our turn. As Kellan loaded our groceries onto the belt, he turned to me expectantly and let it fly:
Honey, where are our coupons?
Hi. Have we met?
I stared at my newly-minted husband blankly and stated the obvious: Um, WE don’t have any.
His baffled expression made it clear that I might as well have lit a hundred dollar bill on fire and smoked it right there in front of him.
Smalls, it’s FREE money. Why don’t we have any coupons?!
ON ACCOUNT OF THE FACT THAT EVERY SECOND OF MY FREE TIME THIS WEEK WAS DEVOTED TO GOOGLING ‘How to get Mint to file Nordstrom receipts under groceries.’
Now, this story would not be noteworthy but for the startling fact that it proceeded to repeat itself with numbing regularity. Like clockwork, Kellan and I would find ourselves standing in line behind an extreme couponer on Sunday afternoons, and I’d be all OH HI WHEN IS YOUR CULT COMMITTING SUICIDE? Meanwhile, Kellan could always be counted on to turn to me with the same expectant look on his face and ask where our coupons were, confirming my sneaking suspicion that I married a high-functioning sociopath.
Let me be clear: I work hard to save money. I shop sales and pinch pennies with the best of them—but I have yet to fall down the couponing rabbit hole. The blogosphere and TLC specials have created a devout following around the art of it all. Articles like “How to feed your family of ten on $18.00 a week” make me feel like a straight-up SLUGGARD for not stockpiling eleventy-billion rolls of cheap toilet paper next to enough bubble gum toothpaste to caulk the Taj Mahal. Somehow, hoarding boxes of Totino’s pizza rolls has become a mark of the steely fortitude that would have impressed our pioneer ancestors. Frankly, if there is a Zombie apocalypse, I can tell you exactly who will lead survivors into the new world order: THOSE HOARDING COUPONERS AND THEIR FREEZER-BURNED MINI PIZZAS.
Now, I have been forced to study the Proverbs 31 woman at just about every church women’s event I’ve ever attended [Jesus take the wheel], and somehow I missed the part where she spent her evenings clipping coupons for BOGO spicy Cheetos and jumbo tampons. I consider myself to be a reasonable person, and have made ABUNDANTLY clear to Kellan that I will happily use coupons the second he either starts clipping them or gets me a sister-wife and frankly, I COULD GO EITHER WAY. Until then, I’m standing my ground for the following reasons:
- I never see coupons for virtuous foods like cilantro or honeycrisp apples. Coupons arrive for things like nuggets in the shape of small woodland creatures, and CookieKrisp cereal. Now, these are foods that I love so much I could snuggle them, but I’m trying to quit. Because I can’t afford new pants. Because I don’t COUPON. FARE THEE WELL DINO-NUGGETS. FARE. THEE. WELL.
- I’m SORRY, but can I tell you what sounds better than spending my evening hours scouring newspapers and clipping coupons? Literally ANYTHING. I fear that I would become ENTIRELY emotionally unhinged and be driven to hard drugs.
- With few exceptions, coupons encourage me to purchase food that I wasn’t planning on buying in the first place. HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU canned radioactive cheese sludge! Y’all, my life is hard enough without a violently misfiring colon.
- Perhaps most important of all: Kellan knows where the scissors are.
Tell me the truth: am I just lazy? Do you coupon? If so, do you get anything GOOD, and what are your thoughts on sister-wives?