I do the grocery shopping for our house. I plan the meals, I check the sales paper, and I make the list. I got this. I even use those eco bags, too. I have a system. It may not be very practical, but it works for me. I usually go Monday mornings and I start in produce. I usually have my list memorized (which is good because I forget it in the car half the time) so I only look at the list when I think I’m done. I get in, I shop quickly, and I get out.





Every once in a while, though, I need a break from it and I send my wife to the store. I have to say, it’s a nice change to have her call me stressed out wondering what to do if something on the list isn’t available. “They don’t have Gruyere cheese, what should I do?” Oh, how the tables have turned. I don’t know what she does but it takes her twice as long to shop as I do.

She has always prided herself on being a great shopper. She loves shopping and loves to get the deals. She remembers how much everything costs in her closet and how much she saved. “These shoes were regular $482 and I got them on clearance and had a coupon so I got them for SIX DOLLARS!”

I think it’s because of her shopper pride that she feels the need to stay in power. No matter how many times I ask, or how much I prove myself an excellent grocery shopper she will not give up control of the coupon book. It’s with her in her purse at all times. Maybe she trades them at work for tampons or candy bars? Either way, I feel I could put them to better use if I was given the chance.

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Coupons are new to me. I always buy things on sale but I’ve rarely used coupons before. For most of the items on my list you can’t use coupons anyway and a lot of the items are the same stuff every week so it doesn’t matter. Plus, most often the store brand is still cheaper than a name brand with a coupon. But even so, after I go grocery shopping my wife will say, “I see you bought kitchen cleaner, I had a coupon for that, ya know.” I tell her to give me the coupon book, but she suggests I let her see the list before I go. Yeah, I don’t think that is going to happen.

She finally gave in and granted me access to her coupon book for my most recent trip. “I’m trusting you with my coupon book,” she said very seriously. Everything is categorized and organized in compartments. She had set aside coupons for kitchen cleaner and a 50-cent bottle return slip for me. It seemed like a nice intro to coupons 101. But once I was at the store, I realized why it takes her twice as long as I do to grocery shop.

There were four coupons for different brand-name kitchen cleaners and I had to calculate what the better deal was. One was a dollar off two cleaners 32 ounces or more, another was 50 cents off of one 22 ounces or more. Then there was the store brand, which was on sale, too. I’m embarrassed to say, but I’m not very good at quick mental math. It’s too much anxiety so my brain shuts off and I blankly stare hoping an answer will magically come to me. Uhhhh, anybody have a calculator?

By this point, Ellie is getting bored because we’ve stopped moving. And since no one was going to help me out I started doing math in my head. “Times two, carry the one, minus a dollar…” According to my calculations, it seemed that the Lysol brand with the coupon offered the best price per ounce. Sweet, we saved a dollar.

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It felt like the shopping trip took twice as long, and I only had two coupons. But we saved a total of a $1.50. It didn’t feel like it was worth it until I realized that a buck fifty is one and a half items from a fast food dollar menu. So, not too bad for my first experience with control of the coupon book, eh? Even though my wife picked them out for me.

The real troubled started after we got home. After bringing in the groceries from the car I noticed that Ellie got control of the coupon book, and decided to “reorganize” it. “Ellie! What did you do!? You’re going to get me in trouble!” Coupons were scattered all over the floor. I started to panic. The categories were all over the place! Maybe she was right to not trust me with this big responsibility? It was like in that movie the Christmas Story when Ralphie shoots his eye out. I stood there frozen trying to think of what to do.

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I shoved everything back inside the coupon book and put it back in the drawer. I still haven’t told her about this, so if you could keep it quiet I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

I’ve conquered nap time, I’ve battled the reverse tooth fairy and won, I can juggle play dates, manage diaper blowouts, cook, clean and maintain the house with an active toddler around, but coupons remain my biggest obstacle yet.

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