By: Lucy Oyer
If you want to lose friends fast, take them couponing for five hours the week before finals. That’s what I did, and they still haven’t forgiven me. Adverse effects on friendships aside, the new trend of couponing is taking our country by storm.
As a fan of reality television, I found it was impossible to ignore the phenomenon as TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” gained popularity. Once Kourtney Kardashian “couponed” on “Kourtney and Kim Take New York,” I knew I had to try it. After all, who wouldn’t want to clip coupons for copious amounts of semi-useful household items?
The first step was figuring out how to do it. On “Extreme Couponing” people get thousands of dollars worth of merchandise for pocket change, and couponing is a full-time occupation for them. Though I was going to start smaller, I was still going to do it properly, so I settled on the “Krazy Coupon Lady” blog as my official go-to website. This informative webpage provides a straightforward couponing tutorial, and it posts coupon match-ups for a variety of stores each week.
This being very exciting, I wanted to get started immediately. Over the course of the next week, my friend and I amassed a stack of great coupons and were super excited to go to Target and Walgreens. Before our departure we planned every detail of each transaction. I had folders for the different coupons and lists of the items they went with.
Finally, it was time. We pulled into Target and set forth to find the deals of our dreams. Though some items were difficult to find, after a thorough search of the entire store, we emerged with a majority of the items we had planned on getting. Next we had to pick a checkout lane—according to the “Krazy Coupon Lady,” young, male employees are typically the friendliest. Thus, we picked a lane where our gracious, acne-ridden checker Adam stood waiting.
After the items were scanned, it was time for the coupons. Unfortunately, Target’s coupon policy only allowed you to use one similar coupon per transaction, but we had planned on using three of the same coupons in one transaction. Poor Adam had to void over half the items as we buried our faces in shame. Finally, after what seemed like hours, we left.
Although we were ready to call it quits and go home, we still had to visit Walgreens. The experience was even more excruciating there as we had to go through the line six times, each more painful then the next. (In order to most effectively use your coupons, it often makes sense to split up your items into separate purchases.) By the end, the checkout lady told us to go to a different aisle. We took that as a cue to leave, which we did very happily.
In total, we bought over $60 of merchandise for about $27. Our haul included three boxes of macaroni and cheese, three bottles of toothpaste, three meal replacement bars and three packages of floss—completely free. Additionally, we procured six packs of Milanos and three boxes of pain relief creams and patches for just pennies each.
Despite all this, when you factor in the hours of work and the cost of the printer ink, couponing wasn’t worth it. Admittedly, it was satisfying to get free stuff, but I would never do it again. As Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband and sub-par basketball player Kris Humphries once said in a shocking display of intelligence: “If you don’t want something, it’s not a good deal.”