• Coupons: Bonding activity or holy war?

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    Since the focus of our blog is on finances and our relationship, I’ll start with how coupons have impacted our relationship. The road to becoming coupon royalty has not been an easy one. We have actually had multiple fights over coupons. But we’re all good now, and that’s why I feel that we are in the unique position of being able to dispense good couple’s coupon advice!

    To REALLY do coupons right, it takes a lot of time. There’s the obtaining coupons, cutting them out, sorting them, deciding if we really want to try the latest frozen-breaded-jalepeno-flavored-fish-that’s-practictically-free! and then there’s the standing in the frozen fish aisle at the grocery store while one of us digs through 300 coupons looking for the fish one, only to remember at the end of the pile that we decided against the fish and threw the coupon away.

    In the beginning our arguments were simple. Me: Look how much money we saved! Him: Look how much time we spent at the grocery store! It took us a while, but now we work together as a team. We decided that the money saved with coupons is significant enough to justify the time we spend on them, and we agreed to get organized and share tasks to streamline the process. Now instead of arguing, we stage weekly grocery coups and then spend the savings on fun stuff we do together.

    Every Saturday, I walk down the street and buy the Sunday paper. I clip the coupons on Saturday while we’re hanging out on the couch, so we can talk about which coupons to keep and which to toss out. Next I go online and buy coupons in bulk. Then we pay our bills for the week and determine what we want to spend on groceries for the week. We usually spend about $50 on a typical week, and spend up to $200 on weeks when we stock up on rock-bottom sales. After we determine a budget, I go through the week’s grocery store ads and make a grocery list, itemized by store. I pull all the coupons for each item on the list and stick the coupons in an envelope, which I can just pull out at the checkout line later. On Sunday night, we drive to all the stores, buying the best deals at each. If we see a sale item that wasn’t advertised, we split up the coupon piles and hunt for the matching coupon together. You should SEE the looks on some of the cashiers’ faces. I swear, you can actually get high when you read the receipt in the parking lot and see “Your total savings today: 62%”.

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