Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good Intentions

I get excited when my coupons expire and I can throw them away. I went about a decade without clipping coupons at all, saving (and never using) just the occasional carwash one from the Val-U Pak mailer. I just didn’t want to be bothered with them. I know this doesn’t fit with my frugal personality, but I just can’t handle paper overload, particularly little itsy bitsy pieces of paper.

Within the last year I’ve started clipping again, but with the same results. I forget to use the darn things! If they make it out of the house at all, they end up jammed in the bottom of my purse. I get pissed when I’ve just purchased 6 Lean Cuisines and I realize I had a $2.00 off coupon in my purse, or my car, or on the counter at home. Ugh. I know I should get one of those coupon organizer things, but I just don’t have the heart.

I’m afraid that buying one for myself will invalidate the coupon organizer’s status as the absolute worst present every purchased for me by my beloved. If I admit I need a new one, he’ll do a little happy dance and try to convince me, for the umpteenth time, why it was such a great grad school graduation gift.

We were young and madly in love. We bugged people with our googly eyes and PDA, back when PDA meant something other than Personal Digital Assistant. We lived the carefree lives of students. Tom was excited when he gave me the infamous present because he felt it showed how much he knew me. First of all, he knew I liked to save a buck. He supposed the money I made working at Blockbuster and substitute teaching would go a bit farther if I had a dandy way to organize coupons.

Second, the coupon holder in question was covered with an ivy print. This was the early 90’s and I was crazy about ivy. You may wonder why I didn’t run for the hills at this point, but I found it endearing. He tried so hard. Had I known that the next 16 years would contain holidays such as: “The White Turtleneck Christmas,” and the “We Don’t Do Valentine’s Day I-pod,” I might have felt otherwise. Oh well.

Now the economy is tanking. I keep trying to use coupons and failing miserably. They are taking over my house, but I can’t get myself to throw them away before the expiration date, even if I’m pretty resigned to the fact that I won’t be using them. But, boy, when that date comes, I’m psyched! Of course as soon as I purge them from my paper piles, we get the Sunday paper—chock full of more coupons!

I wonder if I take part in this futile ritual of cutting out coupons for the same reason I buy vegetables and salad for my family knowing full well we won't actually eat them. Into the crisper (a.k.a. “the rotter”) they go, until I throw them out two weeks later. At the store I half-way convince myself I’ll cook and serve this fresh, healthy food at some point, but in the end, I go back to my old stand-by: cheese.

Too bad there isn’t some way to get cosmic credit for coupons clipped, vegetables purchased, and encouraging phone calls contemplated.


Kate Coveny Hood said...

I can never get my act together with the coupons - they either languish in my purse long past their expiration date of get lost in one of the many catch all piles in our house.

I wanted to let you know that I enjoy your writing and have bookmarked your block since I came across a post about your mother back in Februray. I thought it was beautiful and passed it on to a friend that lost her mother several years ago.

I put you on my "list" on my own blog (finally started one last week) and I hope that my friends like your posts as much as I do!

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Kate- Thanks for the encouragement! I just checked out your blog and loved it. I'm looking forward to reading more.


Kristen said...

I'm EXACTLY the same. In fact, it might be time for me to purge my expired coupons again... ;)

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