July 19, 2009

The Cost of Couponing

My husband, though he is going to be gone through most of this experiment, has really embraced what I'm attempting to learn here and plays very closely by the rules when he is home, even helping me to muddle through my own strange sense of "coupon experiment morality" as it were, when I get a little lost. He understands that I would be hard on myself if I were removed from the situation, so he does his best to help me out.

That said, there are definitely parts to this experiment that are more difficult for him to deal with and I think that we should both thank our lucky stars that I didn't set out to do this for more than 30 days. He'd fall into a pit of despair and I might end up getting divorced!

The main part of the experiment that is causing problems is that it is severely cutting into our weekend traditions. Saturday mornings, our family typically gets up and goes to the downtown market, where we get breakfast and then purchase some meats, veggies and pastas for our weekly meals. Since we can get a coupon for none of these businesses, we basically can go and walk around, but we can't buy anything. We ended up skipping it altogether on week one, but I thought it would be fun to go talk to our favorite farmers Chad and Amy and just see what was going on.
The baby loves Amy. Amy always has on pretty earrings that the baby likes to pull on. I try to explain to her that one day she might have earrings and would not care to have the same treatment, but Amy - who has an almost 2-year-old herself - is so good, she takes all the abuse and more. But I just love chatting with them and hearing about all the great things they are planning to do at the farm! We are really looking forward to some on-site burger dinners, brick oven pizza parties and the pumpkin patch this fall!

While we were out, we stopped at the booth for EarthFare, the healthy grocery store where I was able to get some veggies last week, and talked to their community liason, Elizabeth, with whom I had previously discussed the experiment via email. We discussed a little bit about how difficult it is to find coupons for healthy food, and then she took pity on me and slipped me an extra coupon for $5.00 off $25.00 purchase at the store. That is going to come in handy next week because I need diapers for the baby and they sell them for a dollar less per package than Babies R Us, which surprised the heck out of me! So I'll be able to get the diapers plus some fresh veg or a meat when I go in, so that will be awesome. I also hope that I'll have the opportunity while I'm there to talk to Elizabeth about how the store decided to start passing out total purchase coupons, and what kind of response they are receiving from them. It is interesting; it's like it's not enough to be a store with a mission to bring only good, healthy food to the customer, you have to beg them to go out of their way and pass the Publix or the Wal-Mart to come to you. It says a lot about people's priorities, that's for sure.

We ended up using a Hardee's coupon for breakfast on the way home from the market, and it was definitely not the same. My poor husband said that going to the market that day was like inviting everyone over for Christmas and then not opening any presents. I feel bad; with his demanding travel schedule, he only gets Saturdays, and what he loves to do on Saturdays is go with his wife and daughter to have breakfast and buy some local products at the market. And so, even though our breakfast at Hardee's cost $2.00 and our normal Saturday Market breakfast costs somewhere near $15.00, the cost of missing out on that experience is far higher than the savings in our pocket.

I figured on all the costs money-wise, but I really hadn't thought about the emotional ones.

1 comment:

KuryKidsMommy said...

I think you may also be experiencing a sort of food-related depression due to the inadequate amount of fresh veggies and fruit in the coupon-only diet. (Another great part of the experiment would have been to have your blood checked- cholesterol, etc- before you began and see how it was afterward. Then this experiment could translate to overall health and well being and its the cost.) On a positive note, we'd love to meet you one Saturday and go to the farmer's market. And it's never too early to begin looking for a great pumpkin patch!!!