Couponing has been a hobby of mine
Couponing has been a hobby of mine fir a very long time. Back when I was 5 or 6 I can remember sitting at the kitchen table with my mom licking the S & H Green Stamps. For those of you too young, they were actual green stamps you pasted into special books then when the books were full you took them to the redemption center to get things like toasters, fry pans, irons, etc.
You got the stamps at the checkout when you shopped, similar to how they give catalinas now. Businesses would advertise if they gave stamps to entice you to spend there. Even gas stations gave them.
They eventually ended and my mom started using coupons. She was busy though and often either didn’t cut them out or didn’t bring them.
To me, this was amazing. Basically you take Monopoly type money ( not legal tender) and they let you spend it?! My mom agreed if I did the coupons then I could spend all we saved on myself. This meant money for candy and extras at school lunch!
At the beginning coupons had no expiration date but were usually for less than 50 cents. Eventually they came in higher values and stores started doubling coupons on some days. Now I’m at 6-7 bucks a week and mom says she’s taking half.
That’s okay because I discovered something new, rebates! Often it was a small check, but many times you received coupons and/or products. This became my new passion.
My dad teased me that one day a shiny new Cadillac would be dropped off for me. That never did happen, but I did get my dad’s attention one time when I asked to go with him to the gardening store. We walked out of there with a brand new shovel, free, thanks to a rebate on some mulch!
Since then I never stopped couponing. I am not and never will be an extreme couponer – I have nowhere to store 50 bottles of shampoo anyway – nor will I dumpster dive or buy coupons.
On a normal food shopping trip I spend about 10% of the bill in coupons and try to get one thing for free. I would probably do better if we had a store that doubled or one with a loyalty card but in this small town I’m lucky to have two viable choices for shopping!
I will probably keep doing it until manufacturers see the green and just lower prices.