Coupon Tip: Bad Trips Happen to Good People (Even Us!)

When I was just getting started couponing, I remember going out to Walgreens for an amazing diaper deal.  We were on a very tight budget – so much so that I was nervous to spend $20 all at once on diapers, even if it was making for an awesome deal.  Well – things went from nervous to terrible when I got to the register and things went wrong.  I don’t remember the details – except that when I walked out my door I was giddy with excitement, telling my husband about thes Huggies diapers that would be $2.50 a pack – and when I came home, I’d spent much more than that.  I was in tears and very discouraged.  I felt like I’d been tricked, and that failure alone made me want to pack it up and quit.

Beginners aren’t the only ones who have a tough trip now and again though.  Let me tell you about my day….

I had my trip to Bi-Lo pretty much planned out – I’d printed my list and coupons, I tossed my inserts into my carry-all, and I headed out the door to run errands with my five-year old in tow.  We’re down to one car now, and I had a lot to fit in today – the bank, some returns at various stores, school pickups and of course Bi-Lo.  I took a few minutes in the Kohl’s parking lot to clip everything out and when I pulled into Bi-Lo parking lot I hopped out of the van and made a bee-line for all my items.

  1. The first snag I hit was that some of my best deals were sold out – and I’d have to get rainchecks.  I was going to be cutting it close to pick up my middle-schooler – so this was going to be time I might not have at the end of my trip.
  2. As I got to the register, I pulled out my $.55/1 coupons for Pepsi 2-Liters (when doubled, it should’ve made them free!).  They didn’t double.  I’d failed to notice that the barcode started with a 9 (meaning the cash register would automatically not double them).  Sigh…..  I got them anyway at $.45 each.
  3. Then when I went to pull out my stack of coupons for the rest of the items, I couldn’t find it.  I stood there apologizing to the folks behind me – asking my 5 year old and my cashier to please be patient with me – and proceeded to dump my purse into the shopping cart searching frantically.  They just weren’t there!

Long story short – I was embarrased and upset, because I paid more than I’d hoped and I’d sweat bullets while searching high and low for a stack of coupons that had just up and disappeared.  On top of that, I was out of time and so I couldn’t get my rainchecks either.  UGH!

Life happens – and when it does, you have to pick yourself up out of that occasional bad trip and learn a little lesson from it.  I learned something I should know well by know – being prepared is really important when you plan a coupon trip.  Also – giving yourself the time you really need to shop will cut down on lots of the stress.

Despite all that – I’m here to tell you that it’s worth sticking with it. Even in this bad trip – I still saved around 50% by getting mostly BOGO deals. I’ve saved my family so much money in the past 3 years – and my time spent couponing each week is the equivalent to if I were working part time to help make ends meet.  Although couponing can be tough, it’s extremely worthwhile when you look at the big picture.

Have you had a “Bad Trip” lately?  Please share it with us!  Misery loves company :)




  1. Amanda N says

    I went to Woodmans one day when it was pooring down rain with my 9 month old. I get there and realized that I had left ALL of my coupons sitting on the table at home. I had stuff I had to get so I got those items. Then, when I went to leave I couldn’t find my car! I walked around in the rain for 5 minutes and then when I finally broke down and cried – I found my car. My little guy slept through the entire thing and stayed completely dry! I tend to be an on/off couponer because I just don’t always have the time – but I still save quite a bit more than I used to even though I don’t do it All the time. Thanks for sharing your story :)

  2. Amanda Cook says

    Last week I ran into Aldi for a few things we desperately needed (milk, tp, and cat food if I remember right). I realized when we pulled into the parking lot that I didn’t have a quarter. No problem, I had to go to the bank anyway to make a deposit and it is in the same shopping center. I just pulled out $20.25 from the deposit so that I had the all-important quarter. Went back to Aldi with precious minutes ticking away as I had a 3:00 carpool looming. As I got out of the car I had my bags and my quarter in my hand. My 3 yo son chose that moment to knock the top off his travel cup, spilling milk into the back seat. I stopped, sighed heavily, and cleaned up the mess. When I got done with the mess – the quarter was GONE. I started looking everywhere, ie tearing up the car, trying to find it. 3:00 carpool is now only about 25 minutes away and I’m 10 minutes from the school. A VERY kind lady noticed my hunting and offered me a quarter. She deserves an extra-shiny halo in heaven! She was still shopping when I checked out and I was able to add $.25 to my bill to repay her. I was able to get the necessities and still make it to carpool by abut 3:08. I totally feel your pain! It’s not easy being a home-economist!

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