Sometimes Free Isn't Such A Great Deal After All

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I am slowly beginning to remember why I stopped using coupons all the time. While nowhere near being classified as an "extreme" couponer, I was saving around 50-60% each shopping trip. I was working hard to save that much. A lot of time and effort was involved. Then, about 8 months ago, I guess I got burnt out and just quit coupons altogether.

But, then I kept seeing all the great deals I was missing out on. All the "freebies" out there to be had were enticing me. It lured me back in. Therein lies my problem and my source of current frustration.

Last week I went to Walmart expecting to return home with a fairly decent haul. Wrong. Almost nothing that had been reported to be free or almost free was carried at my local store. I wasted my time and my printer toner printing out the coupons for the items. I searched in vain for the Cutter citronella scented candles that their own website stated was "available in limited stock". Nobody knew where to find them.  I am still keeping my fingers crossed that I will inadvertently run across them before my coupons expire and hope that I won't have any trouble using them when and if I do. I DID find the trial size Aquafresh Extreme for $.97 that ended up being free with my $1.00 off any size coupon so I purchased 4 along with another needed item. I was in a rush so I didn't even realize that the cashier only scanned 3 of my 4 coupons (but stuck all 4 in the register). 

Next comes the Kotex Naturals panty liners that are near impossible to find. I searched about 6 stores before I was able to find the 2 packs required to use the $2/2 coupon. Blogging is a wonderful thing! That's how I found out about the deal to start with but there are so many other people out to get this great deal as well and it also seems like stores just don't keep as much stock as they used to. It's very frustrating to search and search for the item only to find that they are sold out. I spent about 15 minutes trying to complete a transaction at my local Dollar General for some of these tonight. The first set of coupons I handed the cashier would not scan because they had the GS1 Databar rather than both that and the UPC bar code so they would not accept them. Luckily, I had some coupons with the bar code as well and those worked fine but I still had trouble with the transaction. The manager was great and I appreciated her help (especially since she should have been on her lunch break), but it was a bit embarrassing being so much trouble. 

Then there's Kroger. My $.50 off any Carefree product would have been a great deal as well since the product was $.99 and Kroger doubles coupons up to $1. Only, the coupon wouldn't scan (again because of the GS1 Databar) so the cashier wouldn't accept it. I understand that their policy is if it does not scan, it cannot be used but the cashier was treating me as if it were a fraudulent coupon and she actually started to rip it in half. Maybe it was my imagination, but I swear the people behind me in line were looking at me like I was part of a circus freak show when I told the cashier I wanted it back. I verified the coupon (that I printed out from on and before contacting Kroger's Customer Support about the issue but I am still awaiting a response. 

I have yet to use the awesome $2/2 U by Kotex coupons, but it would not surprise me one bit if I have trouble finding them as well. 

The one Family Dollar in my area that actually carries the Scrubbing Bubbles One Step Toilet Bowl Cleaner for $4 is out of stock. The rest of my local stores carry the Fresh Brush for $4, but the coupon is only good for the One Step. 

Maybe I'm wrong and just need to get in my couponing groove again, but I think if I have to spend hours of my time trying to locate a store that carries the items I have coupons for, FREE doesn't end up being such a great deal after all. My time is worth something, you know? 

I really want this to work this time around. I know things won't always go my way and I really want to save as much money as possible so I'm going to stick with it but sometimes I just feel like screaming!

What about you? I'd love to hear how you deal with the frustrations of couponing. Feel free to share the joys of your  successful free hauls as well! 


Noteable Scraps said...

I hate to discourage you in your venture, but these reasons were why I quit couponing as well. I felt like I wasted so much time and gasoline, and sometimes a brand-name with a coupon was still more expensive than a generic brand, or I bought things I did not need because I had a coupon.