I’m confessing to you now- I quit using coupons. Just for a bit. Now I’m back.
And if you quit in the past you can come back too.
Do you know where the expression “fell off the wagon” came from? I just learned this a few weeks ago for a show I was doing.
While definitions vary a bit on line the underlying story seems to be the same. The saying is American and associated with wagons. The original form, which dates from the early years of the twentieth century, was to be on the water-wagon, implying that the speaker was drinking water rather than alcohol and so was an abstainer. The image of the horse-drawn water-wagon would have been an obvious one at the time — it was used to spray unpaved American streets in the dry summer months to dampen down dust thrown up by the traffic.
During the months of July and August I was really concentrating on trying to lose weight. I started running instead of just doing weights and began some very different habits with my food. For most people watching what you eat means keeping lots of good, healthy food in the house and the junk out. For me, I used a different approach.
Since I work at home and was in rehearsals for a show having food in the house was dangerous. Normally if I get stuck on something stressful on the website, food is my coping mechanism. Having too many snacks in the house means eating without thinking. Late night rehearsals mean getting home at 11 p.m. and eating large quantities of something RIGHT before going to bed. Even if the something is healthy it’s still not the greatest idea. 2 bananas before bed is alot of sugar just sitting in your stomach. If I didn’t have food in the house I just went to bed and ate a good breakfast.
So I ate a lot of Subway, small quanities of fast food and things like salads from the grocery stores. I kept very little in the house. And I lost the weight.
But it also meant I got out of the habit of using coupons. I didn’t have any immediate needs that required me to grab stuff at the drug stores (I have a nice stockpile) and my grocery shopping was mainly things like eggs, milk and butter for recipes. I used what food I already had in the house. My cupboards got very bare and I watched my budget like a hawk.
Now the show is over and I have settled into my new routine. I am full after eating much smaller portions and feel comfortable having more food in the house again. It means it’s time to get back on the coupons.
Maybe you have fallen out of the practice of using coupons. Life got busy. Someone got sick. Summer vacation threw off your schedule. Whatever it was you have seen the difference in your budget, your stockpile or your lifestyle and are ready to start again.
Here are the steps I am taking to get myself back on the wagon:
1. Forgive yourself and move on– You know that when you used coupons you were spending less money on food. You know that you had more family dinners because you cooked meals instead of stopping for fast food. Whatever your reason for using coupons previously it’s the same reason now. It’s time to start over- regret won’t do you any good. To quote the most overplayed movie of the last 12 months “Let It Go.”
2. Clean out your binder or box– Odds are somewhere in your house or car there is a binder or box that has a ton of expired coupons. Mine was in the back seat of my car. It’s time to pull it out and dust it off. Throw away the old outdated coupons and inserts and get excited about the new ones. Want to look at a new method? Check out my post on Ways To Organize Your Coupons.
3. Pick a store, refresh yourself and make a shopping trip– If it’s been a while there is a chance your favorite store has changed their coupon policy or has new tools available. Take a few minutes to check out their website and make sure there have been no changes. Once you are sure check out the best deals for your store and make a trip. The endorphins from shopping for deals will remind you why you liked coupons in the first place. I made a quick trip to Target this morning and it was nice!
4. Tell A Friend– Nothing is more helpful when making or breaking a habit than having someone hold you accountable. Find a strong coupon user and let them know you are starting back up. Make dates to shop or plan a trip together. I’m telling all of you so that you can hold me accountable!
So if you have stopped it’s okay. Welcome back. We are all here to help you save money.