I am not an “extreme couponer” and I hate the whole concept of “extreme couponing.” Life experience has taught me to be frugal, but *living* life has taught me that reading 5 newspapers to get a few extra bottles of Tide raises the question of how much is my time and my happiness worth?
When stores first starting using loyalty cards, I hated the concept. I still hate cards. But customer loyalty apps are different. I already have my phone. These apps also allow me to shop and plan my shopping trips. Target Circle, like many others, combines their coupons, payment options (even when in the store), circulars, and stock all in one place. I can scan items to see if there’s a deal while in the store and, of course, they customize offers to cater to my shopping habits.
The Lidl app allows me to make a shopping list (as does Target but I like Lidl’s list organization system better) and rewards me based on how much money I spend. Last month I earned a 30% off sliced cheese coupon! So I bought extra cheese. We might be living on toasted cheese sandwiches with my upcoming job loss.
I sign up for the emails and while a lot of them get annoying, some of them alert me to major deals on my household staples.
And that is what happened with CVS. They sent me a coupon for the gallon bottle of Arizona iced tea for $1.66 cents. The teenager has a weakness for Arizona iced tea so I let her buy some as an occasional treat.
I texted her the offer, and asked her if she wanted to walk to CVS to redeem it. She declined.
CVS sent a 40% off one item coupon. I loaded it to my card because you never know when you’ll end up in CVS for a health emergency.
The teenager also loves Cinnamon Toast Crunch and had a craving for Honey Nut Cheerios. Now I view cereal as an occasional emergency snack, not as breakfast. But the teen is a convert to the cereal-to-start-the-day camp.
Now I know CVS regularly has regular cereal sales.
Yesterday they sent me a coupon. “One day only! General Mills Cereal! $1.99!”
And the photo featured Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios.
I texted the teenager.
She came downstairs. When I told her that I would buy both cereals, she volunteered to walk to CVS. I handed her my debit card. She refused it. “Mom, it’s $4.”
I asked her if there was anything else she needed. She said no, but she might buy iced tea. I thought, “drats. We missed that iced tea offer.” I told her she could use the 40% off coupon if the iced tea was full price.
She came home with the gallon of iced tea, the two boxes of cereal, and a bag of Doritos. I asked her how much she spent.
“$7,” she said, “but that doesn’t make sense. This is $14 worth of stuff. At least.”
Apparently I also had a snacks/drink coupon I forgot about that also saved us 85 cents.
So we talked about it, and I asked her if she was starting to get my system. She said no. Not at all.
As far as she understood, she merely said she wanted to go to CVS, I looked at the app and put coupons on, she randomly grabbed what she wanted, and told the clerk at the register to use all the coupons.