Passing the couponing torch for savings

Sunday mornings.


A time for church. A time for coffee.

A time for spending time with the newspaper.

And the time I cut coupons each week.

Yes, I admit it. I am a coupon cutter. That is me in the grocery store with the binder organized by types of products: canned, frozen, breakfast, health and beauty, paper and plastic, etc.

Methodically stopping multiple times in each aisle to check whether an item on the grocery list has a coupon – or whether I have a coupon for an item the store is having a sale on.

At least once a week, a fellow shopper will audibly admire the organized nature of the binder.

It isn’t my binder or system.

You see, my wife was a serious couponer. Not the type that you see on those extreme television shows. But the kind that went to a coupon club and traded tricks and coupons with fellow members.

She was the kind that shopped the sales. She would pour through the Sun­day circulars and look for the best deals to match up a coupon she had. She might drive to several stores buying a few items at each, as long as she could use a coupon and pair it with a sale.

She is not that active anymore, so the torch has been passed. And now the coupon cutting, filing and using is part of my Sunday routine.

It starts with a good sort of the Sunday paper. News sections in one pile. Sales circulars in a second pile. Coupons in a third.

As I cut and file the coupons, she reads the fliers. When a sale catches her eye for “a really good deal” or some product she knows we need, she will call out, “Do you have any coupons for Secret?” “Do you have a coupon for Tide?”

It is a little like a grown-up game of Go-Fish. Only the stakes are higher.

The stakes, of course, are saving money.

Which we do every week with the ads in the paper and the coupons that come each Sunday. (We actually buy two papers each Sunday to double up on coupons.)

Newspapers, a close friend once advised me, are the only product I would ever buy that would pay me to buy it.

But only if I used the coupons and shopped the ads. The right combination of coupons would pay for my subscription each week.

I bought many a paper over the years without heeding his advice. I was taking the paper for the news. And for the crossword. And the editorials and to be a better citizen.

It wasn’t until my wife showed me how much she was saving that I took the time to get interested in the coupons myself.

Now, when we go out of town, in addition to the news sections I bring back for others in the newsroom to read, there is always a stack of coupons from elsewhere stuffed in my briefcase.

Waiting to be cut.

Waiting to be filed.

Waiting to be called out.

Waiting to save me money.