I am by nature a very thrifty person. I know how to spin out a budget so I have always used vouchers and coupons when they are available to me. I feel like an utter amateur here though.
Twice now I have been in the checkout line at the supermarket behind someone who has saved a King’s ransom by using coupons. I have to admit that last time was a bit tedious. The woman in front of me handed over a fistful of coupons, a bundle of small papers the thickness of a decent novel, and each coupon was then laboriously scanned or, worse, typed into the till. A few would not process so a supervisor had to be called to override the system and permit the discounts. It took an age. However frustrating it was, I was still massively impressed that the woman was walking out of the shop with her trolley bulging having handed over relatively little cash for it all. She was a couponing pro. When it came to my turn, I was almost sneered at for handing over just one measly coupon. Amateur.
I have good intentions. I have a little coupon wallet where I can file all my clipped coupons until it is time to use them. I’m a control freak who loves nothing more than making lists and organising things so this is right up my street. The trouble is, every time I go through the coupon books, I find that probably 5% of coupons are for things I would buy. The rest are either not relevant or are too expensive even with the discount or are simply things I would not choose to buy. I have, however, been clipping those coupons anyway and have been leaving them on the relevant shelves at the supermarket so that someone else can benefit from them. It adds to the time it takes me to go around the supermarket but helping the Coupon Fairy makes me feel a bit warmer and fuzzier inside so I will keep clipping. Suffice to say, I am never going to be a coupon pro.
What is great, however, is that discounts on groceries in the UK are proper discounts. In the UK, discounts and deals often smacked of tokenism or required the purchase of three weeks’ worth of seedless grapes in one transaction. Lame. And loyalty cards meant racking up points that were worth a sliver of a pence each. Here’s a measly few quid to thank you for shopping with us all year. Oh and by the way you need to spend that few quid in our shop like a throwback to the truck system. Thanks again. Here I have a loyalty card for my local supermarket, a national chain, that saves me money with regular everyday purchases, sometimes knocking things down as far as half price, while also still racking up points for special coupons and vouchers. That’s a much better way to reward customers. I can easily save a quarter of my bill each time I shop there with money off for this, that and the other.
I still aspire to get better at couponing though.