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Elizabeth Jayne Liu

A Penny Saved Is A Dollar Spent. …Wait, what?

I like to save money. I also like to spend money. So I guess those two things cancel each other out. Probably not evenly since I spend a lot more money than I manage to save, but what is it those wise people say about progress? The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

I’ve also heard people say, Everything happens for a reason. But sometimes things happen because you’re stupid and make bad choices.

When I try to save money by clipping coupons, both adages run through my head simultaneously. It gets confusing at times because the words tend to mesh together, and I’m left with a single quote that makes no sense.

A while back, I decided to start saving money by clipping coupons. It seemed like a smart move. Who doesn’t want to take home TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF GROCERIES FOR A MERE THIRTY SEVEN CENTS?

Because I’m all about committing fully to a new endeavor, I decided to do this coupon clipping The Right Way. Stuff all my coupons in a miniature accordion folder from the Dollar Store? Oh, no ma’am, that’s not the way sanity works in this house. I invested $24.99 for a deluxe coupon binder with a velcro closure. And another $18.58 for see-through storage pages with special coupon-sized vertical compartments. Then another $18.58 for pages with HORIZONTAL compartments. I mean, really, can I be bothered to tilt my head forty-five degrees to read the wording on a coupon when I can BAM have everything in a quick and easy-to-read layout?

I spent a whole afternoon carefully perusing the Sunday newspaper for deals and steals. It was fun at first, deciding which categories I should place each coupon, cut to perfection with a heavy-duty paper trimmer (another $26.00). After fifteen minutes, I got tired and started stuffing everything in the “Non-Perishable Boxed Groceries” section.

By the time I actually made my way to the store, my eyes hurt from the strain of reading so much fine print, and my coupons were a mess because everything was in one section.

I saved a grand total of seven dollars. Well, actually, it was more like $6.75, but I’m rounding because I think I deserve that much.

Clearly, I’m doing this all wrong. But I’m willing to give it another go because my initial investment of $88.15 for the supplies still haunts me at night.

Do you clip coupons? Any tips, tricks, or secrets of the trade? Or…coupon horror stories? I suspect there are some out there.

 

[Find Elizabeth on Facebook here.]

THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Jayne Liu blogs at Flourish in Progress, which she started on her 30th birthday to chronicle a yearlong shopping ban. Surprisingly, she survived her project, and now chronicles a series of small weekly challenges called "Monday Dares." She fails a lot. Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles with her husband, who she married after dating for eighteen days, ...

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