I just realized as I was going through my aforementioned ginormous mommy purse, I still have crumpled coupons from last January (When I was going to be one of those earnest moms I saw on tv who gets $150 worth of groceries for like 35 cents, and puts that money aside for something special—sing with me, “Looks like we madeeee it!”)

I thought, if she can do it, why can’t I? I mean, if I don’t work right now and bring in any money, I figured maybe I could devise a way to keep more of our money.

Oh snap! A star is born!

Since we spend close to $800 bucks a month on groceries, (What? With three growing boys and a muffin top to support, it’ll cost you!), I figured it was worth giving it a whirl. As Household Manager and CFO of this joint, (If I’m gonna have a fictitious $120 grand salary as a mom, according to, I’m going all the way and giving myself a fancy title commensurate with my experience!), I decided this needed to be at the top of my New Year’s agenda.

Anyway, I figured it’d be a cinch….Snip, snip, show up with little pieces of paper, and buzz out with my free money! Right?

Yeah well, doesn’t really work if you forget said coupons when you actually go to the store, sit on the coupons in the car, lose the coupons in the abyss aka your monstrous mommy purse, your kids color on the coupons, you don’t have a bunker to put 500 extra cans of tuna that you need to buy to get one free, and, most importantly, don’t have three and a half hours to plot out your grocery store expedition with the precision of a five star general leading troops into battle…there’s no need to be a showoff, ladies!

I’m not defensive! It’s not as easy as it looks!

You know, the newspaper doesn’t exactly help. Every week my local Sunday paper boasts stuff like, “Save $98.27 today with coupons!” But that’s assuming you need to buy everything for which there’s a coupon. You’d seriously have to buy like $2000 bucks worth of stuff to save $98.27, so that’s a joke, newspaper man!

And, I don’t have a cat, don’t wear contact lenses, and just don’t think I really want or need, three bottles of Febreze (say what you want about my house, but it is NOT smelly! Although I shouldn’t be so smug…with three boys I know at some point my upstairs will inevitably smell like a gym locker. So far so good though, so bite me Febreze! You can keep your three bottles of Febreze and your 35 cents you cheapos!)

Seriously, Febreze isn’t the only cheapo coupon culprit. Why do I have to buy three of something to save 35 cents? Are you fricking kidding me coupon people? I want some big haul coupons!

Formula ones…now that’s a score. You’ll give me $5 or $10 bucks off a can of formula? Well, now you’re talking. But you should! Do these formula companies know how much I’ve dropped with them over the past four years? Thousands (literally)! So five bucks? It’s the least you can do! You should be comping a room for me at some Baby Casino Resort or something. $5 bucks!? Pa-lease.

Anyhoo…when I finally do get to the store and manage to remember a few rumpled coupons for stuff I actually need, my bill typically reads like this:  $195.27 (ouch)….coupons used $2.35. Amount saved: 1%.

Let’s get this party started! 1% savings.

But you know what, that’s like getting my cof free (My cof free? My coffree! I so just invented an awesome word!) at Dunks one morning. It really is something tangible, and realistic for me to keep track of a few usable coupons every week. Maybe I’m not wheeling out a cartload of groceries for pennies on the dollar and changing the trajectory of my family’s lives, but it’s something. And who knows. Maybe I’ll be motivated one of these days to figure out how to navigate the surprisingly complicated business of coupons and actually increase my usage.

If I could just figure out how to save enough to pay for a cleaning lady, I swear I’d never question the wisdom of the coupon mamas again!



Filed under Some things just don't fit into a neat little box. The uncategory!


  1. Sue Heimberg

    I am so glad to hear we are not the only ones to spend $800 per month on groceries (and that is for 2 kids). However – we do use Febreeze (mostly because of the dog). Another very funny one, Janet! Thanks for the laugh!

  2. jrfrong

    You ain’t kidding! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one, too! And… that’s with going to Ghetto Basket, and not including mommy’s cheap beer habit! I fear for what a grocery bill with three boys will look like in a few years….me thinks me needs to find an income source! Are you hiring? I could prance around and spray your Febreze for you????

  3. Molly McIntyre Brennan

    I’m the same way with coupons…such great intentions, but I never remember them! I was behind a woman at Target who’s total came to $100. After the cashier scanned coupon after coupon, her total came to 0$!! And I’m not joking…she walked away from Target without spending a dime!

  4. jrfrong

    No way!!! See, I wanna be that woman —I would have tackled her and demanded to know how she did it!!! That is craziness!

  5. Lisa Feeney

    I dont use coupons and always think that I should! I spend about !,000 a month in groceries. Thats with the 6 of us. Wait til Will starts getting older… It adds up so fast!!!
    I tried to go organic before. I do half and half now. One week i did all organic… No Joke my bill was over 350 for that week!!!

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