Confessions of a coupon cutter
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“I’ll be in the happy, fun aisle,” Husband-Head hissed as I headed to the checkout stand in the grocery store. “It embarrasses me when you do this.”
He hurriedly ran off to look at the latest seasonal candy and toys while I stood there with my cart full of food.
I handed over a fistful of coupons to the checker, along with my discount card, and watched the person behind me in line roll their eyes.
Yes. My name is Heidi Rice, and I’m a coupon cutter.
I don’t know exactly when it started, but I’ve been doing it for many years. I get the Sunday paper and the first thing I do is rummage through it and grab the coupon sections.
“Why do we pay for the paper if you’re not even going to read the news?” Husband-Head asked one time.
“It doesn’t matter because the money I save from the coupons more than pays for the paper,” I pointed out. I’ve learned that the trick to cutting out coupons is to only use the ones for things that you actually need or buy regularly. Otherwise, instead of saving money, you’ll spend way more just to save 50 cents on an item.
Husband-Head came in the room as I sat at the kitchen table with my scissors, going through the flyers.
“Pretty soon you’re probably going to start collecting cats and wearing funny old lady hats,” he sighed.
Shut up. I like hats.
But he really can’t complain. On a recent shopping trip, I saved $92.56 between my coupons and the sale items at the store.
This is important because if you like to cook as much as I do, it can get quite expensive.
Granted, I didn’t know how to boil an egg until I was 30, but cooking has gradually become a hobby for me. Let’s just say I don’t go to the bar anymore – I go to the kitchen.
And cooking has become even more important in our lives since Husband-Head had a heart attack several years ago. So now we’re on a heart-healthy diet that includes restricting fat and sodium intake.
At first, I thought we would have to live on rice cakes and tofu, but that’s not the case at all. It’s been a learning process, but I’ve found that with some tweaking, we can still enjoy what we formerly thought were forbidden foods such as tacos, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken wings, bacon and eggs, steaks and french fries. In fact, at a recent visit to his cardiologist, Husband-Head’s doctor was extremely pleased with the number results from his blood test.
“He said that whatever it is I’m doing, to keep doing it,” Husband-Head reported.
This made me very happy, as did a recent phone conversation with a friend of mine who has now decided to embark on an effort to eat a healthy diet.
In fact, she is actually going to cook – the funny part being that I don’t think she’s ever turned on her oven. For years we have always laughed because she has refused to make anything that has more than three ingredients.
“Oh, it’s not hard at all!” I said enthusiastically. “You just turn the oven on to the correct temperature or turn the dial on in front to operate the burner.”
Then I launched into a whole spiel about the benefits of whole grain taco shells, whole wheat pasta, how turkey bacon and sausage tasted just fine, as does egg substitute in scrambled eggs or baked goods and how you could hardly tell the difference in chicken wings and corn dogs using soy products instead of meat. I also informed her that stuff like “fat free” cheese sucks and won’t melt and that I couldn’t tell a taste different from “reduced fat” from full fat.
“You just have to read the labels and look at the fat content and the sodium,” I summed up. “Most canned and boxed products – even if they profess to be healthy – are loaded with sodium.”
I could practically hear her eyes rolling back in her head.
OK, so maybe I go a little overboard. But eating healthy takes a little planning and sometimes can be a little more expensive than buying packages of Ramen noodles or boxes of mac ‘n cheese.
But that’s where the coupons come in.
I came home from the grocery store and reported my savings to Husband-Head.
“With the money I saved, is it OK if I get a new hat?” I asked.
Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Citizen Telegram and the Post Independent. Her column runs every Thursday in the CT and Friday in the PI. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com to see more columns or buy her book collection. Contact Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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