Monday, September 20, 2010

It's Nothing...Just A Little Coupon Quandary...

It’s not all that easy being bff’s with Nashville’s Coupon Gal. Especially when you haven’t been to the grocery store in three weeks because you haven’t kept up with your couponing! You see, since Kelly and I met over a year ago, I don’t go to the store without coupons. So if I don’t have a list and a plan, I don’t go. I won’t go. I refuse.

Kelly (R) and me (L)
The woman has ruined me. LOL.

So my family eats out of the stockpile until I get my game on again. This has worked pretty well, as I usually stay a week ahead on meal-planning—until last spring when I was out of town several times with speaking engagements, and David’s baseball schedule was consuming most of our weeknights, and we were trying to finish up school, graduate our senior, and help our community recover from all things flood-related!

Although I had kept up with my couponing for months and I was reaching my one-year anniversary, I totally fell off the wagon. I felt stuck. I had to go to the store…
but I really needed to get my coupons together…
but I really didn’t have any because I was so far behind…
but because it had been so long since I had gone shopping, we were out of everything!

Did I mention that I am easily overwhelmed? If I don’t stay on top of something, be it piles of coupons, piles of laundry, or piles of papers to grade, it is very hard for me to deal. And since I am a procrastinator, this happens more than it should. Thankfully, I am learning to ask for help when I need it, so I took a deep breath and
called Kelly.

“Help!” I said, explaining my coupon quandary.

“Oh, Rebecca, it happens,” Kelly said. “I think it happens to everybody.”

What? There is no coupon failure hall of shame?

“You’ve got to anticipate that couponing will be cyclical,” she continued. “You can’t go full steam 100% of the time.”

See, that’s where I tend to give up. I battle procrastination and perfectionism—so if something starts to overload me and become burdensome (because I have procrastinated), I tend to give up on it (The truth is not pretty.), thinking, If I can’t be perfect at this (whatever ‘this’ may be) all of the time, then I’m done. (Anyone else out there?)

“You’ve got to make a list and go to the store,” she said, “or next, your boys will be calling me! Just go. Don’t even think about coupons this week.”

Uhhmmm...hello? you taught me to think about coupons! I never used to think about coupons. Coupons were your idea, and you’re the one who turned me on to them. And that’s why I’m saving $200 a month. So….

“Start with what you have on hand, because you know you have more than you think,” she said. “By the way, you’ve never done an inventory sheet of your freezer like I told you to. This is when it’s good to have that. But take a look and see what you’ve got, and then start from there.

“Look at what meat is on sale first,” she continued in her most compassionate Coupon Gal voice. “That will be your most expensive item, and it’s what you build your meals around. Then look at produce—I know you don’t have any produce because you haven’t been to the grocery!”

“Okay,” I said, breathing normally once again. “So, let’s look at my new game plan:

  • Don’t think about coupons this week.
  • See what you have on hand. Start from there.
  • Look at the sale ads. Do meats and veggies that are on sale.
  • Do more inexpensive meals this week.
  • Do what it takes to get by until you get motivated again to do your coupons.

When you’ve fallen off the coupon wagon, Kelly recommends that you use your total minimum budget and get what you need. “It might not mean you’re getting the most for your money,” she explains, “but it means you are getting what you need, while staying within your food allowance.”

Admittedly, it’s hard to go to the store without coupons when you have really seen the difference they can make. “It is,” Kelly agrees, “but the point is not how much you can save, but how well you are staying within your budget. When life gets busy, we naturally tend to let other things go. You’ll get motivated again, it just might take a while. I go in cycles, too.”

Want to learn more about couponing? Visit Kelly’s website, To see my couponing journey, click on the links in this post!

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Amy said...

Oh Rebecca,
Once again you "read my mail"! I thought for sure you were writing about me in this post. I face the same troubles with couponing and many other things in life...if I can't do "it" perfectly, I don't want to do it at all! (Like cleaning, laundry, etc.)What a struggle we have with this flesh! A dear friend and I were talking recently about housekeeping. She reminded me that if we won't do anything in that realm until we can do it perfectly, we're teaching our children not do things unless they can do it perfectly. That stung! I think it all comes down to PRIDE...what a struggle.

Thanks for being transparent and sharing your struggles, as well as practical ways to overcome!!

Amy P.

Rebecca Ingram Powell said...


Thanks for your encouraging words! Pride is a battle--someone once told me that every sin is based in pride. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!

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