My house was filled with estrogen this weekend as I hosted a girls’ weekend get-away for my closest friends.  As promised there was a lot of laughter, some booze and a stirrup pants sighting at the mall.  Bonus activities included an impromptu fashion show in my living room and laughing at old pictures that I didn’t realize were on my friend’s facebook account (thanks, Erin.).  God, it’s good to be a girl.

Once the party was over and everyone had packed up and started on their treks back home, I hunkered down with my laptop and told myself I was going to figure out this coupon clipping craze.  This can’t be hard.  I’ve never won at Monopoly, but I have kicked ass in Candy Land.  So, I’m golden, right?

I was in Walmart last week stocking up on essentials for the coming girls’ weekend frivolity when I passed this woman who was thumbing through a large zippered binder full of coupons.  They were organized in these plastic pockets, just like the ones my brother used to stash his basketball cards in, which, by the way, he would not let me touch.  This may have something to do with some G I Joes I buried in the front yard.  I stopped beside her and said, “I think you might be my hero.”  We talked for about 15 minutes.  She explained her strategies to me, most of which I have already forgotten probably due to some episodes of Housewives of NY.  Those women are killing my brain cells. 

I watched my hero flip through her binder showing me how to organize by store (she goes to at least two different grocery stores depending on the deals) and then by item.  She looked at my cart (Embarrassing!  I didn’t have a chance to explain to her that I don’t usually by four different kinds of bread or two tubs of sour cream at a time or drink that much beer by myself) and she noticed my two boxes of Suddenly Salad (Oh my gosh!  This salad is so sudden.) and instantly knew that she had a coupon for fifty cents off two boxes of Suddenly Salad and gave it to me.  Did I mention that she had a small child with her?  How did she remember that coupon existed?  Then, she wrote down two sites (here and here) for me to visit for more info on clipping coupons.  I think that if I had invited her to come to my house and show me how to put a coupon binder together, she would have come and brought snacks – free snacks that she bought by combining coupons and sales deals. 

But I did not invite her, so here I sit on my own visiting these sites she wrote down for me and trying not to get distracted by Bejeweled Blitz or online Scrabble.  It’s just that I was never good at math and I loathed word problems.  And these sites, while they do offer a great deal of information, do not offer step-by-step, outlined, color-coded instructions on how to get the most out of clipping.  I would even settle for old school clip-art hieroglyphics because let’s face it.  I’m a visual learner.  All these words.  Blah blah blah coupons blah blah manufacturer blah blah double blah blah stock piling (should I be worried?) blah blah it’s so simple.  Kiss my fanny.  It’s not simple.  It’s panic-inducing.  Do they make coupons for Zoloft?

The thing is, I’m sure there is a justifiable savings for all this work.  I just wish I could download a manual directly to my brain or hire someone to shop with me and show me the ropes. OOh, or hire a personal shopper AND a personal coupon clipper.  If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t have to use the coupons at all. 

I wonder if we have any booze left…

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