Day Six of the No Spending Challenge and I am doing something I never thought I would do...
I am throwing away coupons.
If you knew me, you might realize how shocking this is. I LOVE coupons. I am not a manic Sunday Newspaper coupon clipper, but that is only because 98% of the the things in there aren't things I need and I don't want to pay the price of a newspaper for the other 2%. But back in my "just out of college days" when I was living in my first apartment and still doing laundry at mom's, I always got her to save the Sunday inserts for me. While my towels were spinning in the dryer, I'd be clipping away. How's that for frugal? I didn't even pay for the use of my own scissors. (Thanks mom!!) Of course, back then I ate a lot more prepackaged foods.
Now I usually tend to buy my food fairly natural. Spring through Fall I buy most of my fruits and veggies at the farmer's market and my meat from local butchers. When I do buy things at the grocery store, I usually try to scour the internet for coupons beforehand. I can almost always find them on cleaning products, aluminum foil, butter and so forth. However, it isn't grocery coupons that I am talking about here. No, it was something much more near and dear to my heart...
I threw out home improvement coupons. I love home improvement coupons.
So, why am I throwing them out? Because they expire in March. I'm determined not to shop in March, and I have to be honest, home improvement stores are my downfall. They suck me in for impulse buys worse than shoes or makeup ever could. One of my local hardware stores emailed me a notice that they were having a special next weekend - and with a deep sigh, I clicked and into my email trash folder it went. (Yes, it hurt a little.)
Then last night I opened my mailbox to find a sales mailer for a local fabric store. On the back is a really good coupon. And here's the thing, I have a dining room chair that needs a little repair work. It is nothing major, but I could certainly pick up what I needed at this store. Unfortunately the coupon expired before the end of the month so in the recycling bin it went.
Just now I got yet another coupon for $5 of a $25 purchase at my local pharmacy. That's 20% off - not bad if I needed something. But I don't. Once again I clicked the magic "delete" button and away it went.
What is interesting to me about this whole challenge is the the little things I am learning about myself. Like how good it feels to stick to my principles and how my shopping habits influence my impulse purchasing. Now I see another trend - coupons, while wonderful, also have their dark, slimy underbelly. How often have I gone shopping just because I had a great coupon? How often have I bought more than I needed just to get those extra few dollar off? Or to make it worse - how often have I had one of those $5 off a $25 purchase coupons and went home with $40 worth of merchandise - or more?
I will always love my coupons. After this challenge, I plan on using them again - I just need to be wary though that they aren't the ones using me!
Photo by: ztil301