Be Willing to Be Weird

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Last weekend, I went to a grocery store in a rather upscale neighborhood where I don’t normally shop. It was on our route and so it was convenient. I was getting three items, two of which were going to be free with coupons. When I handed the two coupons to the checker, she was dumbfounded. She looked at them in a very confused way. In fact, it took her an extra couple minutes to ring up the order. As I walked away, I realized that the ritzy clientele of that store probably don’t dabble too much in couponing. Coupons, a major part of my frugal lifestyle gave her pause. Ha!

Whether it’s refusing to use a credit card, drinking just water when at a restaurant, or fumbling through a myriad of envelopes to pay cash at the checkout, certain aspects of my life do cause people to go, “Hmmm…” That is one of the things with living a frugal lifestyle. It’s a little unusual, a little different, a little weird.

If that’s what it takes to live in the black, then I’m okay with weird.

But, it used to be shameful to me. Swiping a credit card made me feel like I had status. Handing over my stack of coupons doesn’t exactly feel the same way. But, living within our means far exceeds any shopping spree high.

There’s safety in numbers! So, let’s be weird together.

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  1. You’re right! We live in an affluent area and our grocery stores don’t double coupons. I’ve had trouble using coupons at a few stores. Fortunately, I don’t mind being patient and pleasant while they figure it out, and I’ve more than once been asked how I do it. Others want to be weird if it means getting a basket full of stuff 75% off!

    And on the word weird – it is weird itself. It doesn’t follow the “i after e except after c” rule we all learned as kids. Shouldn’t it be wierd?

  2. It’s crazy how that works isn’t it? The way that can actually get you into debt makes you feel strong, and the way that helps you get out or stay out of debt makes you feel weak. That’s so backwards, but very true. I feel so empowered when I realize my stack of coupons will save me tons of money, but them I get to the store and I’d rather go to self-checkout so I don’t feel so weird!!!

  3. Yes, sometimes I too feel weird with my stack of coupons, cloth diapers and living in an apartment while others own homes. But the sacrifices are worth having savings and staying out of debt, which brings peace.

  4. Call me weird too but at least I’ll be in good company! I love getting deals. Walking out of a store knowing I saved big $$ gives me quite a rush!

  5. You can call me weird too.

    The only thing I don’t care for with coupons is once you hand over a nice size stack the cashier and everyone behind you gets this disgusted look on their face, like I am sub-human or something.

    The other thing I don’t care for is having to defend myself and my purchases, especially if its something free after coupons. Its sometimes feels like they are accusing me of stealing.

    But to be honest I love to see the looks on their faces go from that of disgust to that of amazement when my grocery total goes from pretty high to very low!! Once that happens the feelings of getting those disgusting looks I got at the begining of my transaction seems to fade and then I feel much better!!

  6. I’m a weirdo too! Nice to meet you πŸ™‚ I paid off all my debts before moving here from Canada. When my new bank asked if I’d like to apply for a credit card I said no – gasp! That was almost 5years ago and I’ve been weird ever since. It’s not always convenient but worth it as I’m still debt free!

  7. I have to tell you…. I had some cash from an order of cards I made …. so I was at the store and I used my cash instead of credit card. It felt kinda nice! It felt like I was actually paying for something! πŸ™‚

    I think I’d like to get totally back onto the cash thing again… but my main reason for using credit card was that I didn’t like carrying too much cash with me for fear of theft. My other reason was because no matter what, I always underestimated the costs of things. (mostly because of taxes.)

    Also because, when someone is standing there watching me, I get all flustered and I can’t count!! Seriously, I can’t tell you the number of times in my life where my bill would be 5.64 (for example and I’d give them a $20 bill because i kept losing track of how much I counted in coins to give them exactly 64 cents. lol

  8. That happens to me evertyime I shop in Orange Beach AL. I even had to call corporate and let them know my coupons were not honored at the store. Sometimes, these guys just need a little bit of coupon education. Great job keeping your chin up!

  9. I’m taking a new approach – if I need something, milk, diapers, veggies, etc., I will run and get that when I’m out and about. Once every 2 weeks or so, I do a big shopping where I get just stuff with coupons that are also on sale. This is saving me a lot of money because we mostly eat from the pantry, filling in gaps here and there with fresh things as needed. If I try to meal plan or buy just from the flyer to eat that week, it doesn’t work and take out here I come!

    But, when I do my “coupon-only” shopping, I get the dirtiest looks from the people behind me! I smile and thank them for their patience. And sometimes I tell them how much I saved which is usually about 50%. Sorry folks, I have to save where I can. The last time I went, they looked up every internet coupon (most of them) in their fraud book because they had never seen so many.

  10. I save money by buying everything possible at Wal-Mart. I also began meal-planning, which has saved me more than I dreamed possible. I used to love coming up with spur-of-the-minute dinner plans and it was costing me so much! Now, thanks to this site and others like it, I follow advice from fellow meal-planners and spend a brief amt of time making a list and preparing meals from that. I live in an area that has plenty of grocery stores to choose from, so I shopped WAY too much.

  11. I’m being “weird” this year by making beans and rice EVERY DAY this year. But, it’s worth it to me to save the money needed to get us out of this debt. And I’ve been really creative and no one in my family has complained at all!

  12. I’m happy to be considered weird. In fact, when I first started couponing my anxiety would flare up when I handed over my coupons to the clerk and the line started to back up behind me. I’d be sweating like a pig! But eventually I learned to laugh it off and encourage those in line behind me to check out websites for sales and coupon match ups. Now I have people waiting to see how much I saved and what I got for free.

  13. I tried something new recently and I think it’s been a help. I wrote down about 20 meals to serve over the next month and then took it a step further and counted out the main ingredients so I’d know what I needed. I even went a step further and took the time to figure out what I usually go through as far as staples and “regulars” (cheese, bread, cereal, snacks for packed lunches). That way when I saw a great deal on meat, or a sale on bread, etc, I really had a good idea on how many I should buy without feeling like I over bought just because things are on sale. I don’t know that I will do that every month, much as I would like to, but just doing the exercise once helped me to see about how many pounds of meat, bags of frozen veggies, loaves of bread, etc that we usually use in a month. By the way, I do recognize that there are usually 30 days in a month, but I knew I’d end up with waste if I planned every single day!

    My 15 year old complained that we must be “poor” now because of the coupons, but now that I’ve quit my job I feel like I have the time to make smarter decisions and she has even started watching for Rite Aid sales and coupons for her makeup! Good girl!

  14. sometimes I feel wierd as well but what is the worst is when they make you feel that way by making it hard to check out but then the people waiting are astonished when you pay for the amount

  15. So true! I actually had someone groan out loud when they saw me take out coupons in CVS! On the other hand though I’ve also had people cheer for me when I’ve saved a lot.

  16. I love being weird! Like Dave says, “live like no one else so later you can live like no one else!” We’re definitely living like no one else on a very tight budget! We rarely go out, don’t purchase lavish things, shop thrift stores (although I much prefer hand-me-downs), and on and on but we’re happy and know that this lifestyle is completely worth it! One of these days we’ll be living (& giving) like no one else! πŸ™‚

  17. Deal Finder E’s Tips!


    * Sign up for newsletters for your local mall and retailers that you frequent. There usually are coupons in their emails. They often give you a sign on bonus coupon, too.
    * Check out deal forums and cashback sites before you make online purchases.
    * The library is amazing. They have books, cds, and dvds. Plus, free classes.
    * Check out local kid friendly businesses for free storytimes and crafts.
    * Go to playgrounds! They are free and fun!
    * Have fun!

    Happy Deal Finding!

  18. I’ve been trying to do as much as possible in stretching our dollars and the one thing that has really helped us is this pantry challenge!!! I have really enjoyed coming up with good meals based on what we have at home! I have kept my grocery shopping down because of it! Thank you!

  19. All the dirty looks are worth it when I get to do things like buy the new-to-me SUV I got yesterday, super nice with heated seats and everything and we paid CASH! We bought a 2003 Yukon, the 2010 Yukon XL with the package we have is more than $42,000 but we paid $7,000 for ours. I love not having a car loan. I saved on interest and we saved a ton by buying one that’s a few years old.

    One thing I always do to save money on my 4 and 5 yr old girls clothes is to shop the clearance racks every time we go shopping and I buy clothes 1 and 2 sizes too big when they are super cheap. Today I picked up a stretch pants and long shirt set for only $3 for both, pajamas for $5 and long sleeve tee shirts for $2. I always buy jackets and snow boots in late spring when they are about 75%off, again at least 1 size too big. I keep in mind what we have and need, and my younger daughter gets a lot of hand me downs.

  20. I live in one of those neighborhoods. I have to tell you I do not hesitate to pull out my coupons nor do I cringe when I have to get the manager to manually put through a special coupon the register won’t take. I leave the store feeling quite proud I paid a lot less! Go coupons!

  21. I used to coupon/rebate alot, but I haven’t done as much for the past few years because I just didn’t see that many good coupons in the Sunday papers anymore. So I clipped what I could, but our grocery costs were skyrocketing. I have stumbled onto good websites (like this one) in the last 6 months and have really dug back into saving more. (I remember when we didn’t even HAVE computers; there’s so much more available now online, and I wasn’t utilizing it!) Anyway, I have managed to shave $100/WEEK off our groceries (6 kids), and that’s a real accomplishment.

    The other thing that has helped alot is trying not to waste/throw away food. I try really hard to use up all leftovers, find a soup to throw leftover veggies in, etc. EVERYTHING gets eaten now, and looking back, I’m sure I was wasting food before without much thought.

  22. Oh, thank goodness! Fellow Weirds! We have $100 a week budgeted for food/home supply/personal care. Right now we’re hovering at about $75 a week. That’s for two adults and two little boys (9 and 5). Costco every other week with two friends who share the shopping with me. Week one, meats. Week three either staples or personal care items. I have about $20 a week for produce/spices/can’t-find-it-at-Costco stuff. I usually (sometimes I Just Can’t Do It) cook once a week and go ahead and make small family portions of entrees and fill in with salads/veggies/fresh bread/fruit. If that’s not enough, drink some water! If you don’t like it, try our famous pb&j! When I cook in advance it’s a lot less insulting when the little guy says, ‘I hate pot pie!’ Just like every dollar has a job, everything I buy at the store has a job. We throw very little away. If it’s more than three days in the fridge, it’s time to work it into an entree and freeze it. I think the key for us is working out a regular rotation of meals that we know produce a minimum of leftovers–just enough for lunches. It’s hard, but it’s not a hardship. And it’s really really nice to be able to sock away that $100 a month towards…the beach.

  23. When people give me dirty looks, suck their teeth ( i hate THAT) , or make some other rude gesture as I’m handing over my stack of coupons I politely offer to let them pay 90% of my bill ( usually around $80) and I’ll happily forego my couponing for the day . Usually shuts them RIGHT up !

  24. I have never liked shopping of any kind – clothes, shoes, food – none of it. That is until I discovered couponing about 6 months ago, the same time I became a single mom!

    I personally find it invigorating. It has allowed me to meet my monthly food budget. It has also become my therapy! I spend each Sunday night, after my little one has gone to bed, clipping, organizing and planning my week.

    I got 8 bottles of body wash for $8 this week – the same amount I used to not hesitate spending on one!
    I also got my dad excited about couponing, when he learned I could get his metimucil (sp) this week for less than $2 a container – usually $10.

    It has made me be able to be more giving to folks in different ways. Thanks for all the frugal/weird ideas – I love showing my middle school students what a dork I am with my coupons and now coupon binder – we are all learning together.

  25. I save money on laundry softener . I bought 4 cheap sponges and cut them in 4ths . put them in a cool whip bowl with a nice tight lid and pour downey over them. when I do have to dry something in the dryer, i squeeze out one of them and toss them in the dryer. saves a ton of money on softener since I use a lot less. Am still using the bottle I bought in feb and its july!

  26. The really weird thing probably is, that same clerk subsists on not more than minimum wage, even in that area. How weird is that? Can you really afford not to be informed or snobby when you make less than the person presenting the coupons. Hah! Same thing with snobby receptionists in Doctor’s offices. I have seen many of those. Why? Perhaps that particular culture fosters it or puts up with it. Don’t know. I know it makes those who are affable and helpful really shine even more.