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Simpson: Couponing can be a serious game

One thing I like about Sundays around our house is reading two newspapers while we eat breakfast. Once the table is set and preparations made, I go down the driveway to the mailbox, secure the papers and bring them to the breakfast table.

What I look for right away are the front pages where headlines proclaim the most important news of the day. What attracts my spouse first off are those coupons which to her are like money in the bank. She carefully examines each page and cuts out the coupons that will save her money at the supermarket. I have watched her put these coupons in an envelope and bring them forth as she shops. I’ve also seen her shave $12 to $15 off her total grocery bill simply by purchasing items for which she has coupons. Is this a sign of being cheap? No, I think you could say it is thrifty shopping. Coupon clipping is, for my spouse, a serious game and she plays it to our advantage. How could anyone not be proud of her dedication and her efforts? I’m proud that my wife is thrifty and frugal and truly interested in running a sound economic household. A penny saved is a penny earned.

I have no skills in coupon savings or use, and certainly no experience with them at the grocery register. My wife has read a bunch of books, but as far as I know none dealing with coupons. She has on-the-job-training, and I see her collecting coupons from the newspaper, insert booklets, flyers, the computer and company web sites. I’m sure she has other sources as well.

I notice my spouse collects only coupons dealing with products we use. She keeps them in an organized fashion in an envelope or small accordion file carried in her purse. She checks their status regularly to ensure they do not expire before she uses them. She plans some of her shopping around dates when coupons provide bargains and she finds planning rewarding.

Watching from the sidelines, I see how a dedicated shopper using coupons can save money and make a big difference in the weekly grocery bill. Someone mentioned that by going online and looking at coupons.com you may find coupons for dog food, diet drinks, toilet paper, yogurt, noodles, pickles or who knows what else? Don’t quote me on this. I don’t know because, as I have told you, I’m not a coupon user. I’m proud to know one and glad to benefit from having one in the family.

It is nice to see a businesslike, orderly, methodical and efficient shopper in action. After taking the groceries from the store and unloading them at home, I enjoy hearing how much was saved on that particular shopping day simply by using coupons.

The grocery store is not my favorite place to go, but it is a place to replenish needed groceries from time to time. And, with each visit, prices seem to vary and are rising. A particular item may not have the same price on a subsequent visit to your favorite food market. Coupons offer a way to bring some kind of balance to the family budget and perhaps that is why they are popular with some of our lady shoppers.