When it comes to their grocery bills, many readers are serious about saving the most possible money. Those who pay close attention to coupons start to notice some very interesting things. Listen in.
Q: I've been using coupons more thanks to your column. I have noticed that anytime there is a holiday, even seemingly minor ones, we don't get any coupon inserts in the paper that week. What gives?
A: You're absolutely right and kudos for being so observant about when coupons arrive. Most weeks I run out to my driveway in bare feet and pajamas to collect my coupons when the newspaper arrives. However, during weeks in which we've just had a holiday, I know I can get the paper at a more leisurely pace.
Why don't we get any coupons around holidays? It's simple, really. We don't get coupons around holidays because of leftovers. Now, I know I have some gigglers and skeptics reading, but it's true. Let me explain.
Think about what happens before most holidays, whether it's a major holiday, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, or even seemingly minor holidays such as Labor Day and Memorial Day. What do we do in preparation for the holiday?
We buy food. We typically buy quite a bit of food. We may be entertaining for family or friends or perhaps just for our own household, but statistically, shoppers buy a great deal of groceries in the days leading up to a holiday. Then, after the holiday passes, we eat leftovers. Why waste food? If your family's like mine, you tend to eat what's left in the fridge after big holiday feasts.
No matter what part of the country you live in, sales take a big dip at the grocery store after a holiday. Manufacturers have concluded it's not worth their while to put coupon inserts in the newspaper during the week after a holiday because of the way most people use their coupons. Statistically, most people cut and use coupons the week they receive them and toss the rest of the insert in the recycle bin. It's just economics. Manufacturers don't want to pay for something that won't be used.
Of course, if you're a super couponer, you know we do things a little differently. We save all of the coupon inserts each week, because we know the coupons inside don't necessarily line up to the best sales in the stores the week we receive them. And, in saving all of our inserts, we will have coupons available to us every week, even the "non-coupon" weeks after holidays.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her Web site, www.super-couponing.com. E-mail your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.