Thursday, September 11, 2008

The tough get going

I think I mentioned before that I am attempting to make up for no longer having an income by become an economizing queen. Right now, what I am is an economizing lady in waiting, perhaps, or untitled noblewoman. I have a ways to go, you see. But the desire is there, so today I moved on to a new phase in my quest to become frugal royalty: I searched through recycle bins.

So one of the keys to grocery savings is coupons. Duh. And one of our local grocery stores routinely doubles coupons and periodically triples coupons, sometimes on items that are already on sale. In other words, if you play your cards (or coupons) right, you can get items for free or for very, very cheap. Sign me up, right? The catch is, you need coupons to play. Now, there are coupons available online, but for some reason every second time I try to print them, my computer or the site or both decide that isn't happening, no way, no how, which is VERY frustrating. And there are coupons available in many grocery stores themselves, from little machines (which I now know are called Blinkies) near the products in question. However, you can only get so many here since they are on a time delay (smart people, no?) and you can only wander the store for so long before you start to look like a vagrant. (Having a child helps here, particularly one who likes to pull the coupons, but even an infant gets you lots of leeway in how long it should take you to do things). And I've done this a few times but it's a bit time commitment with limited pay-off.

Enter community recycle bins. Here conscientious folks bring their papers and included in them are the Sunday paper coupon inserts, the coupon gold mine. But you have to be willing to fish through the bins for them, and, today, after learning that a triple coupon weekend is fast approaching, I was. So I set out after seminary with J in the car to the closest bin to see what I could see.

My trip was hampered by a number of factors: there was an accident (involving a school bus!) on the main road between me and the supermarket (but I know many detours, never fear); it was get-to-school time so there was a lot more traffic than I'd bargained for to begin with; it had rained recently, so some bins were virtually impossible to use, unfortunately; and this was my first time, so I wasn't entirely sure what I was looking for at first (aren't the Sunday papers the ones with the comics?). However, I persevered. When I got to the bins, I left J in the car right next to them and started pulling stuff out and bringing it to him. No one was around except for several strange men lurking behind the Piggly Wiggly, just...standing there...watching me intently. Now, I ask you, what are you men DOING, lurking and staring at women and their children getting papers out of recycle bins at 7:30 in the morning? It's creepy! And it really cramps my style, what with being afraid you're going to come abduct my child when I turn my back! So, I was only able to work for a few minutes before I called it and left.

But I was successful! And I'll be back, after next weekend's papers show up. And I'll let you know how the whole process goes.

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