When I am not snarking about ridiculous people on Freecycle, I often snark about the “Everyday Cheapskate” column by Mary Hunt. Some of the stuff she publishes is ridiculous and can sometimes be dangerous. She often publishes compilations of tips from readers. One of these “tips” was from some woman who saved empty prescription pill containers and filled them up with M&Ms candy to give to the children of people she is invited to visit. While it is nice to bring a hostess gift and even gifts for the children, I’m sure you can see why this particular “tip” is a bad idea. You do NOT want children to associate a prescription pill container with candy, kids might think that ANY such container contains candy, and if they eat somebody’s meds, it could be fatal. Why Mary even published this is beyond me, and she did get a lot of flack for it in the comments.
But that’s not the subject of this post. It’s about her latest column, which can be found here. More specifically, #3:
3. Hoard the coupon savings. Starting today, here’s the plan: When you grocery shop, ask the clerk to total your order, and then pay for it. Then hand her the coupons and watch your total plummet. Since you’ve already paid, the clerk should hand back the cash equal to your coupon savings. If available, open a savings account at the bank branch located in the supermarket. It’s easy to stop on your way out to make a savings deposit — even if it’s small. It all adds up.
I can’t imagine any supermarket cashier being able to do this for anybody, without having to call over a manager, who probably wouldn’t allow it anyway. All this does is annoy the cashier, the manager, and everybody in the line behind the customer who is trying to do this. Such as it is, I already try to avoid getting in any line behind people who appear to have a shit-ton of coupons. I wish stores would have a few ‘coupon-free’ lines, for those of us who don’t use them. I seldom use coupons because most of them are for overpriced shit that I would never buy anyway, overpackaged, overprocessed CRAP. And when there is a coupon for something I do use, more often than not, there is a store brand equivalent that is cheaper, even when you use the coupon for the name brand one. So why bother?
Another thing wrong with this idea is shopping at a supermarket with a bank branch inside of it. Not only are these the more expensive stores, but the banks that locate inside supermarkets are also expensive, with shit-tons of fees. Between buying name brand instead of store brand, or stuff that you would not normally buy, but are buying because there is a coupon for it, shopping in a more expensive store, and using a bank with hefty fees, what are you REALLY “saving”? Not much, if anything.
If you DO use coupons, there is something on the receipt that says how much you “saved” using them. Why not just put that amount of money into a savings jar? This is FREE and takes little to no time. Standing in line at a supermarket bank to deposit your $4.72 in coupon “savings” just seems like a huge waste of time to me.
Or how about this? Open an online savings account. Keep track of what you “saved” with coupons during each pay period, and every payday, transfer that amount to the savings account, online. No waiting in lines. Online banks are usually much less expensive, even free. I am considering doing this with the money we will be saving every month by switching our cell phone service from Virgin Mobile to Ting.
But best of all, this method will not make everybody at the grocery store hate your guts and wish you were dead.