Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When Couponing Goes Wrong

Last night I made my first home-cooked meal in what seems like weeks. That was a very strange realization for me, as someone who loves to cook and bake, but sadly it's true.

I don't often bake or cook anything during the summer months because we don't have air conditioning, so three months out of the year we eat a lot of salads and sandwiches, which are mostly good for us. However, these last couple of weeks it has been frozen meals galore at the Greene residence, and I am not proud of that.

The addiction of couponing has sent me down a dangerous slope. I finally hit rock bottom when I noticed we had 15 boxes of frozen Stouffer's French Bread Pizzas in our freezer. That is embarrassing for me to even type, as most of you know how we love making homemade pizza. But here's the deal: you rarely (never) find coupons for organic foods, fresh fruits, or vegetables. Flip through your Sunday paper, and I guarantee you will find that 90% of your food coupons are for frozen and/or snack foods. This, I am quite certain; is why, when people from shows like The Biggest Loser get their refrigerators raided, everything gets thrown out; because middle America uses coupons and matches them with deals, and the best deals are on the most unhealthy foods!

Back to my addiction. It all began when Tops weekly circular came out with the sale price of their Stouffer's Pizzas and stating that purchasing a certain amount of boxes would earn you a $10 coupon off your entire purchase at the store. When I noticed I had coupons for the pizzas to add to the Tops sale, that was a no-brainer. I went, I bought, I returned with a free $10. I then used the $10 coupon to make non-food purchases, since those are typically more expensive. I used all the coupons I could, plus Tops offered their $1 coupon doublers that week, so I was able to get paper towels, shampoo and conditioner, dish soap, laundry detergent, and dryer sheets for somewhere around $5 after all the coupons were deducted and the $10 coupon was used. It was really quite amazing.

Then, as if to feed my addiction, Tops gave me even more coupons for more Stouffer's upon my checkout. The week being only half done, I laughed hysterically at all the goodies I could get with another $10, and MORE coupon doublers. AND, oh AND you can save on gas at Tops with every manufacturer's coupon you use. I've racked up more than $1 off a gallon before, and who doesn't need to save on gas? The saving was endless! Moooooahhahahaha!!

I did it. I bought more Stouffer's, and got more items practically free, in return. I had to stop once I realized there was no more room in my freezer, but, wouldn't you know it; Tops gave me MORE Stouffer's coupons! The more you buy at a time, the more coupons they give you, apparently. It's insane! I now have a $2 off 7 (yes, 7) boxes of Stouffer's French Bread Pizza coupon, and I am putting my foot down! No more. Of course it's easy to put my foot down now...now that they are no longer on sale, and now that I will not get $10 back for buying them. Now, with all temptation gone, I will take a stand.

With all but two boxes of that blasted pizza finally gone, I spent Sunday evening putting together a menu plan of meals for the week. Last night's meal wasn't even all from scratch. It was simply Apple Pie Pork Chops served with spinach sauteed in butter with garlic (don't knock it 'til you've tried it). And one serving of the the chops and spinach was only ever so slightly higher in calories than one little Stouffer's French Bread Pizza slice.

Despite the fact that half of the meal was still either from a box or a can, my family ate it up like it was their first (and last) meal ever. Chef Erin is back!


  1. I hear ya, Erin. I made an extra trip to Giant last week because if I bought 5 bags of pistachios, I could earn an extra 20 cents off a gallon of gas, and I really wanted to turn my 50 cents into 70 cents since our truck was on empty (and a 28 gallon tank is a bummer when it's on empty). Although we do love pistachios (and have already eaten 2 of the bags), the money that I put out to buy the nuts was just about equal to the money I saved in gas (19.81 was what I saved, 19.95 was what it cost to buy the nuts). I guess it still made sense...at least it didn't seem nuts at the time!

  2. good to hear Erin!! It is so true about only getting coupons for crappy food. What to do what to do......