Last night, Bren and I watched Extreme Couponing. It seems like everyone was watching – and we were both compelled to tweet about it. I have a few friends who are big into coupons, but I never have really been outside of whatever comes in the mail from the stores where we shop. In fact, I found myself having a really strong reaction to the whole thing. I just kept thinking, if you have this stockpile, what are you saving it for? When the revolution comes? The apocalypse? If you’re going to buy six months worth of mustard, you’d better freaking like mustard.

I understand and appreciate the effort that goes into collecting a pile of coupons and saving a ton of money. I mean, who wouldn’t like to get out of the grocery store with a bunch of stuff that they didn’t pay a lot for? However, I could not agree with the women who were featured who were stay at home moms who said they spent six hours prepping for a shopping trip (and made three or four trips a week) who then went on to say that their groceries were free. Well, I don’t think that’s free.  That’s a job. 

The other thing that struck me was that so many of the couponers were talking about how they wanted their stockpiles/couponing to be their legacy. That’s just odd to me. I don’t think I want to be remembered as a giant pile of toilet paper or 60 cans of soup. 

After I thought about it, I realized that I’m just the exact opposite. Sure, we shop at BJ’s/Costco and purchase meat, diapers and paper goods in bulk; and I like having an extra gallon of milk or loaf of bread handy. Heck, we have an extra refrigerator in the garage. All handy. But I draw the line at buying a lot just because it’s a good deal, or simply because we have a coupon. I always find myself asking, “do we really need ____?” If we don’t, or we won’t soon then it stays on the shelf. 

I take pride in buying exactly what we need for a few weeks and waiting until we really need it before we get it. There’s only one (regular-sized) jar of peanut butter in our cabinet. We just don’t have the space. And my parents didn’t have  a whole lot of extra space, either. The couponers, I expect, would argue that that is short-sighted and I’m missing the window where item X is on sale by waiting. But I say when I only NEED one, that the difference between 1.50 and 2.00 and the time it takes to worry about such things isn’t a big one.

This attitude of mine extends beyond food and grocery shopping. I am not one to shop for clothes (too much) unless it is actually needed. And then, too, I do not buy something simply because it is on sale (unlike my husband who has a real weakness for that). And if I add something, I like to remove something from what I own. I’m still trying to teach Brendan that one.

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Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

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