Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You Have to Have a Thick Skin to Be Frugal

Let me start this off by saying that a couple of years ago, using a coupon would have mortified me. This isn't because I thought I was above coupons, it's just that I thought saving $ .50 wasn't worth the critical eyes of those in line behind me or behind the cash register. It just wasn't worth it. The thought of using a coupon stressed me out. It seemed pointless. I felt like people behind would be thinking, "I'll give the girl $ .50, if she'll just go!" Maybe I thought people would think that because I felt that way sometimes...waiting behind the couponers.

That all changed a year or so ago when I discovered how much money I could save my family by planning and implementing a coupon system. If I were more organized with saving my receipts, I could tell you exactly how much I've saved since starting this, but I am not and have not been that organized. Just know that I have a saved a lot. My goal in any shopping trip is to save at least as much as I spend. In today's economy, at least for my family, it is super important.

So I take you to last Publix shopping trip. You see, I like to do my grocery shopping primarily at Publix because it's nice, clean, organized, they have a great variety, the workers are helpful (for the most part), and they have great deals. I prefer to shop on Tuesday nights because it's the night before the deals change, and I can often get the items I need and get rainchecks for those things they're out of. It just works for me.

Last night, I made a critical error. I shopped a couple of hours earlier than I normally would shop. I went before 6:00 because Channing needed me back to take care of the boys while he participated in a conference call. Let me tell you, shopping around 6:00 pm is not a good idea because that's when everyone shops. Everybody gets off work and heads to the grocery fun. Not only are the aisles clogged, but you also risk upsetting shoppers in line behind you if you're using coupons. That's what happened to me.

Once I had everything on my list, I searched for a pleasant-looking that didn't look like she would want to stab me for using coupons. I found one, but she already had someone in line. The lady beside her, who looked quite ticked off that she had to work at all, had a completely clear aisle. Because I was in a hurry and because I didn't want to tick her off, I went to her line. The lady didn't even acknowledge my existence. She simply started scanning my merchandise. As soon as she was through, I handed her my coupons...with my $5/$30 coupon right on top. First off, I noticed that she didn't scan my $5 off coupon. I didn't say anything, though, because I thought that maybe she was waiting to do that one last.

During this time, a man got in line behind me. I was thinking, "Oh no. He's not going to be happy about her scanning my 50 coupons." He wasn't. He looked right at me and said, "I am terrible at picking lines!" I mean, what do I say to that? I simply said, "I'm sorry." Thing is, the line next to us was almost finished with her customer. He could have gone over there. Did he? No, he stayed in my line so he could insult me further. Next thing he said, which seemed to be a pointed jab, was, "I wish my wife would clip coupons so I could save a few pennies." I italicized "pennies" because he seemed to be insinuating that I was taking up his time to save next to nothing. So I told him, "Well, I've saved $57 already," and the lady was still scanning. He didn't really say too much after that. My cashier, though, seemed to like him better than me and immediately struck up a smiley conversation with him.

Ok, so all this was going on, and she came to the end of my coupons. She then told me my total, and I had to humbly (it was SO hard...I was trying so hard not to be prideful or embarrassed) tell her that I noticed she never scanned my $5 off coupon. I was met with a huge *SIGH*, and she began to search through my coupons to find it. That lasted all of five seconds, and she simply entered in the $5 credit. This was followed by a "There." To add insult to injury, I used a gift card for part of the total. I know the man behind me must have been ready to punch me, the cashier too. It was brutal.

Eventually, I made it out of Publix. I can't say that my dignity was entirely in tact, but I did save my family a lot of money. I think that makes it worth it. I don't know. What I do know is that saving money and living a frugal lifestyle takes time, effort, and a thick skin. Oh, and may I suggest shopping at odd hours? That way, you can get lines to yourself without having to tick off others in line behind you. That's what I prefer, anyway.


The Greenfields said...

way to go annie with the savings! you're awesome!

tarheelmom said...

Yes, I blog hop from a friend in Mountain Brook, AL and then from someone on her list and I've seen your blog every once in awhile...I too have 2 kids and a third on the way! Saving money is a BIG deal! I wouldn't worry one bit about using coupons, much less the people behind you or helping you. You have as much right to be there as they do! Think of it this way...your sheer presence is what gives the cashier her job! And the man behind you...well, maybe this was his bad day and when he got in his car he was secretly impressed with how much money you saved! ha
Don't think twice again about it!

*Also, you crack me up with your Thursday's random thoughts!

becky said...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE clip my coupons and make my grocery list. i am just mean enough i may have said a little more than you (or maybe that's my hormones talkin) but i would kill (maybe a snooty checker) to save that much. i am killing my budget. you did your family a great service in what you saved and in the grace you had in your attitude. good job. now...if you live in the huntsville area, i need to follow you around one tuesday night.

Lucy said...

Don't you love getting the double coupons on top of the buy 1 get 1 free @ Publix? That's my favorite. The most I've ever saved on a trip was $43 and I've been proud of that - I need to know your secret!

Jeremy and Michelle said...

Ok Annie - here's what you need to do - get to know your managers and it will make it so much nicer and here's the best way to do it - go to the Publix website and leave a super complimentary letter about your Publix- You will get a call from your store manager within 48 hours max and then the next time you go in you can meet him and then people when start to know who you are and you can always throw out the managers name if you need to :) Since I have moved recently my new Publix isn't as pleasant as my old one and I knew more people at the other one so I need to take my own advice because I get pretty fired up when they get irritated with me - but, it makes me want to get my deals all the more because if I'm going to feel ridiculed I better be walking out with big savings!!

Brandi said...

I'm guessing that I could probably pinpoint your cashier last night. For the most part they are all super nice and understanding but I've had one or two there. As for the man, well let's just say God put you there and not me. You were very nice. Much nicer than I would have been. I know, I have some growing to do in this area. I probably would have pointed out how much I spent and then how much I saved and told him I would be happy to help his wife save PENNIES!

annieck said...

Thanks, Rachel!

Thanks, tarheelmom! I need the encouragement! I love your positive spin:)

Becky and Brandi, y'all crack me up! After I left, I was so upset that I didn't know if I should cry or give that guy a piece of my mind. Of course, it was after he was long gone. I felt like George on Seinfeld after his co-worker made that shrimp joke about him. All he could do was think of a come-back. Yep, that was me. That poor guy got all kinds of come-backs in my head! :)

Becky, if I lived anywhere close to Huntsville, I would certainly take you shopping. I LOVE to save money! And if I can do it, anyone can. :)

Lucy, I LOVE the double coupons and B1G1 free. One trick, which you probably already know, is to use two coupons when you get B1G1 deals. That makes your savings skyrocket. LOVE it! AND I love that Publix takes competitors coupons. Publix really is THE best!

Great idea, Michelle! I'll have to do that! I did have a girl that was a former patient of ours, and she would always check me out. She was AWESOME, but I haven't seen her there lately. :( She was always so patient with my mountain of coupons. I would apologize profusely every time I shopped, but she always acted like it was totally fine that I was using my coupons. I miss her!!!

amy kennedy said...

Annie good for you for saving so much money!! I am super impressed and really do need to take a shopping trip w/you. I love the tuesday night idea too. Question-where do you get all your coupons? I know there are lots of websites you can subscribe to but have never done that. I get them from the Sunday paper sometimes but only end up having 1 or 2 from things on my grocery list. I need some help! Hope you are feeling good!!

annieck said...

Amy, you can totally do it! There was a lady at our church who used to teach people how to shop and save money, but I was never able to take her small group. I prayed about it, and God led me to some really great sites that taught me all I know. I have them on my blog list:
Becentsable is a great one.
For my Publix lists, I get a lot of great info from Sarah at Fiddledeedee. She's on my blog list and figures out most of the deals and corresponding coupons for you. It saves a lot of time. Of course, sometimes there are things that are missed, and sometimes I need something that isn't on her list. She's really great, though. I also double check with Homeschooling Four for Publix and Winn Dixie deals.

I mainly get my coupons from the Sunday papers. I have one delivered, and I try to buy three from Dollar Tree each week. I have a great notebook system that helps me keep everything organized AND keeps me from having to clip hundreds of coupons each week. It really works for me and is pretty hassle free. :) If you want to know more about it, let me know. :)

Online coupons are good too. :)

As for a starting place, I would start with getting a newspaper each week and checking out Sarah's deals. Or you can start with a tutuorial from becentsable. If you ever want to come over, I can show you all my stuff and how I do it. It wouldn't take me long. :) AND I would love to see you!

holly said...

what $5/$30 coupon did you use and do tell where you got it?!

The Hoppers said...

Just remember when those people are huffing and puffing and being nasty...they aren't putting the food on your table. They aren't the ones who are providing for your family. They aren't footing your grocery bill. If they want to spend their money and not shop wisely, that's o.k. for them. You are being a good steward of your money and that's all that matters. And I shut down my line at Publix one Wednesday, but I saved $102 and spent $28. Not too shabby. Thankfully, the woman behind me was impressed.:)

annieck said...

Thanks, Taryn!!! WOWZA on your great savings!!! :)

Holly, I got that particular coupon from the Winn Dixie baby club. Make sure you're signed up for the baby clubs (including Publix) for all the grocery stores near you. Publix will take any of their coupons. PLUS make sure you sign up for all of Publix magazines they mail out (you can also pick them up in store). If you're on the mailing list, sometimes you'll get random $5 off coupons, and the magazines often have those coupons and more in them. :)

~w said...

first, i want a publix! i miss it so much! next, i feel your pain. there needs to be a "coupon only" mommy lane! nearly the same thing has happened to me before, it was awful! and on top of the fact that my heart was pounding out of my chest, my buggy was SO full that things were falling off as i tried to run away!

Jennifer said...

Hey Annie!

I found your blog by blog-hopping and I enjoy reading it! I don't know if you remember me but I pledged AGD in 2001!

Anyway, I just started deal seeking and coupon clipping at the beginning of this year and I'm blown away at the savings. It's like a whole new world of shopping out there. I've had a few irritating experiences too, but it is so worth it if I can be a better steward of our $.

Keep up the good work and try not to be discouraged!