Coupons, Acceptance and Letting Go

Acceptance is always the answer. Not an original discovery on my part but something I do know to be true. It’s not always easy though. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that something is not as you wish it to be.

Couponing, for example. The coupon queens, they make it look so easy. So, I decided to give it a go.

I did my research. You use manufacturer’s coupons combined with store coupons to purchase an item that’s on sale. This triple combo makes the item ridiculously cheap or maybe even free. You accumulate the coupons from the Sunday paper, store circulars and websites. Then you wait. Patience is key. Don’t waste your precious coupons on regularly priced items.

To be clear, I wouldn’t take home some of that crap even if they threw in a free kitten. Well, especially if they threw in a free kitten.

Still, visions of stockpiles danced in my head.

Soon enough, I was saving small bundles. I took pleasure in organizing my loot on the pantry shelves. I hit the mother load of sunscreen and I’ve got enough Osteo-Bi-Flex to last through the pending societal collapse.

There’s always a downside. Couponing is no exception.

First of all, organizing those darn things is not easy. Oh sure, the experts say that all you need is a good system. Some use accordion files. Some use those baseball card, photo album thingies. Some go high tech and use their smart phones. My phone is dumb.

The coupons pile up fast. They hang around my house haunting me like the unfinished business they are.

Additionally, we’re talking about changing decades of shopping habits. No more dropping by the grocery store spontaneously. Why, because my coupons are not with me. They’re in the newspapers on the kitchen counter. They’re scattered on the table waiting to be organized. They’re all over the place but they’re not in the car. They’re at home screwing up the feng shui.

I stop anyway, because I really need a few things. I spend thirty-two dollars. This leaves me feeling inadequate because I know I could have taken the whole load (coupon lingo) for around eight bucks. That is, if I could just get my crap together. I grab a last minute chocolate bar and add it to the total order. Hell with the whole foods lifestyle. Because let’s face it, who am I kidding? I can’t do that right either.

For the past few months I’ve spent Sunday afternoons battling with the new coupons collected from the weekly paper.. Clipping and filing the new ones. Dumping and mourning the expired ones.

This past Sunday, my friend Susan invited me over for a get together. I accepted the invite. The hell with the coupons for a change.
Turns out Susan’s other friends are quite talented. They brought their instruments and performed decades of favorites. I brought a bag of chips.

It was a well spent afternoon. Very cool. I left feeling so refreshed and inspired that I dusted off an old guitar and purchased a ‘how to play’ app for my I- Pad.

Later, it occurred to me. In the absence of couponing I had also experienced the absence of stress and anxiety. I have been driving myself crazy for months. For what? To save a few bucks. Is it worth it? I think not.

And so comes acceptance. As I dump my treasured collection of unfinished business into the recycle bin, I accept that I will not master the coupon thing. There’s freedom in acceptance. Freedom in letting go of that which simply does not work for me. I feel lighter. I can breathe. It’s nice.

Except, now I’ve got the damn guitar thing hanging over my head.


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