Monday, October 15, 2012

The Downside of Couponing -or- Puke-burger Helper

As ya'll know (yes, I said ya'll, I'm newly southern so I'm trying it out....) I'm a couponer. Not an extreme couponer, I don't have 43 toothbrushes and 50 bags of Cat Litter and no cat. I just strategically use coupons to get items for dirt cheap in what I thought was reasonable quantities. I have recently discovered the down -side of couponing and even more surprising was the realization that there even WAS a down side. The down side is this: I have a large quantity of disgusting food that I don't want to eat.

This week my 4-year-old went to the optometrist. He wears glasses because he has low vision, astigmatism and a "wandering eye." While there we got excellent news. His vision is improving significantly. He may not even need glasses when he gets older. YES! The bad news.... he needs a new prescription, our insurance won't cover any of it. Shit. So reluctantly I handed over my debit card.... goodbye grocery money for the next two weeks. But it's hard to feel bad about spending money on your child's health, this is his vision, his ability to see - I'd fork over the mortgage payment if I had to so that my baby could see better.

I call my husband and tell him the good news, he is ecstatic. Then I tell him the bad news, his response is the same as mine. "Shit." But then he says, "It's ok, we have a ton of food from your couponing, we'll just make ourselves eat that for the next two weeks." Well that makes perfect sense, this is amazing, this is what couponing is for, situations exactly like this. Driving home I take a mental inventory of what we have in our food stockpile, we should be fine, I should only need to buy milk and yogurt.... maybe some beef, we're good. We should be fine.

We are not fine. When I get home I look at what we actually have: 8 boxes of Hamburger Helper, 4 bags of Bird's Eye "Voila!" frozen meals, 10 (f@*#ing 10!!) boxes of frozen fish sticks (I don't even like fish), a bunch of cans of soup, and two packages of Polish Sausage. What the @*$# did I do? Why did I buy this crap? Oh yeah, because I had coupons for them, they were on sale and I got them for pennies. But in my inner monologue I'm asking myself, why would I even buy these things that I don't like and I don't feel "good" about feeding to my family? I actually really like to cook, I love to find interesting new recipes on Pinterest and dazzle my family with my amazing cooking "skillz". I feel a little depressed as I realize that I don't get to cook for two weeks. I have to "prepare" these processed "food items". I guess maybe somewhere I rationalized it by saying, "Well, yes Hamburger Helper is terrible for you but when the Zombie Apocolypse comes, I'll have a bunch of shelf stable food that will last forever and we won't starve while we are running for our lives from our undead neighbors."

Well, today is day four of this two week excursion into food poverty and I already feel sick. I am having stomach "problems", I gagged while making our Hamburger Helper tonight because one box into the stash and I'm already sick of it. I don't think I'll be able to eat the fish. We eat it once a week as it is, and the thought of eating any more if it makes my stomach churn. I'm even attempting to be creative by making pancakes one night, soup and sandwiches another night..... but I still feel like failure as a homemaker for not cooking an actual meal for my family. The funny thing is, though, when I spend hours making good, wholesome, organic and healthy meals for my kids, they won't touch it. But guess how fast they inhaled the Puke-burger helper.... I didn't have the threaten their lives ONCE to get them to eat it, ... not once. Why is that??

But even in this bleakest of hours, I don't denounce couponing. I will, however, be changing my tactics. I will no longer stockpile food that I don't want in the off-chance of needing it during a food crisis. I will no longer get food that is not healthy just because it was cheap. From now on, I will only use coupons on items that I want and need, and that I will not feel bad about serving to my family. I solemnly swear.....


  1. This is so funny that you wrote about this because I have done the same thing! I think we have 8 or so boxes of that puke-burger helper and I don't know why! I did recently decide also to stop buying stuff if its not going to get eaten anytime soon or we don't really like it all that much. I got really bad about picking up pasta noodles when I could get them for under a dollar a box and we have a ridiculous amount of that. It will get used eventually but we have been wanting to get in better shape and eat less of that carb-filled stuff. ugh. There needs to be more coupons available for healthy foods!

  2. I feel the same way! There are hardly ever any coupons for healthy things and forget about fruit and vegetable coupons.....