A Light at the End of the Tunnel

I paid $18.66 for all of the items you see above. A great deal, right? I think so too, but that is not what this post is about. I’m not going to map out how I did it either, because a lot of the coupons I used I accumulated from random places: an Entertainment Weekly here, a Parents magazine there (yet another motivational reason to frequent the gym, as both of those coupons were discovered while sweating it out on the treadmill!). Instead, this post is about the perfect shopping trip, which this was.

I, like usual, planned it out in advance. I took advantage of the Kraft/General Mills promo at Albertsons, so I organized my shopping list in groups of $10 (although you do not have to separate the transactions at check out w/ this promo). Because I am still relatively new to couponing, I always try to have a back-up plan if they are out of stock, to keep me from having to recalculate everything while standing in the aisles. But my back-up plan was not necessary on this trip.

They had every item on my list in stock. There were no lines when I went to check out. The cashier was extremely friendly. All of the promotions worked flawlessly. And, although I had a coupon for almost every item purchased, not a single one beeped. When I had completed my transaction, I checked my receipt to see how closely the total reflected what it should have been (I always add up my shopping trip BEFORE I head to the store, so I have a ballpark figure of what the bill should look like). It was, to the penny, the exact total I had calculated! I walked out of the store almost giddy.

But, this is not the norm. If you are a beginning couponer (and the easiest way to tell is if you still believe fabuless is spelled fabulous, and you don’t argue with your computer when it tries to tell you couponer is not a verb), do NOT expect a shopping trip like this. Expect to get a grumpy cashier. Expect to have half the hot items on your list out of stock. Expect a few coupons to beep every time, requiring an override, tying up the line and making your embarrassment grow. Expect to be harassed, overcharged, glared at. It happens, and probably will continue to happen, all the time.

So celebrate an amazing shopping trip like this, but expect a few that will make you want to rip your hair out. I, for one, will not judge you if I see you in a crumpled heap in the back of the store, frazzled, frustrated, and crying alongside your wailing children. I’ve been there too. And I promise you this, although I have no cure for screaming children (FYI-I hear candy always helps), it does get easier. And, as the photo above shows, it is worth it!

ps. Yes, I accidentally dropped a few of those 2-liters, as the bubbles prove. And no, I will not be warning my husband (insert evil laugh here).

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